I like making grain salads because they are easy, usually healthy, and I can whip them together quickly with ingredients I have on hand. I made an impromptu grain salad Friday for a block party. And, what’s funny, is I took a great cooking class last night from Fuel for the Soul, and one of the dishes followed the same basic 4 steps. SO…I feel especially justified sharing my approach with you. Explore and enjoy!
Step 1: Pick your veggies, fruits (fresh or dried) and/or herbs. Chop the ingredients. Typically the smaller the grain, the smaller the chop. But, it’s totally a personal preference.
Step 2: Pick your protein: meat, nuts and/or cheeses. Chop these to about the same size as the vegetables.
Step 3: Choose, or preferably make, your favorite dressing. Oil and vinegar, lemon juice and herbs, shallot vinaigrette. Although I am not a huge fan of store-bought dressings, if you have a favorite, go ahead and use it.
Step 4: Pick your grain: rice (wild, brown, red, white, combo), pasta, couscous, wheat berry, quinoa. Cook the grain. When it has finished cooking, combine all ingredients. You’ll want to add the dressing while the grain is still warm, so that it absorbs the flavors of the dressing. Eat warm, room temperature, or cold.
For my block party, this is what my salad consisted of
Step 1: Peppers, grapes, green onions, mint
Step 2: Garbanzo beans, pecans
Step 3: Olive oil, vinegar, pink salt, and my favorite seasoning (Molly’s Mills Salad Blend: pepper, onion, tomato, lemon, celery)
Step 4: Brown and Wild Rice
Here are a few other favorite combinations to try:
- Italian Pasta: Pasta, tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese, salami, basil, O&V
- Summer Couscous: Couscous, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, citrus dressing (or try a morocan-spiced vinaigrette)
- Wheat Berry: Wheat berries, dried cherries, celery, nuts, chicken, and vinaigrette
- Jenn’s Favorite: quinoa, any veggies you have in the kitchen, salt, pepper, O&V
- Asian Noodle: Soba noodles, peppers, green onions, oranges, chicken, peanuts, asian soy-lime dressing
- Lastly, the salad we made in cooking class: orzo, lots of fresh roasted vegetables, feta cheese, lemon vinaigrette
If you have a favorite combination, definitely let us know. We’ll give it a try!