Grain salads are a great combination of both savory and sweet. They are an easy way to include multiple food groups in one dish. The key to creating a wholesome meal is including at least 3 different food groups.
Choose grains as simple as whole grain brown rice or others like bulger, quinoa, couscous, farro, and wheat berries. Each whole grain option will be full of fiber and protein which will help you feel satisfied. Cook in fat free broth or stock for added flavor.
When choosing vegetables, variety is key! Mix cooked, fresh, steamed, and leafy veggies not only to add different flavors, but also textures. Repurpose leftover roasted veggies for their sweetened tastes. Choose greens with bold flavors like kale, beet greens, swiss chard, arugula, or bok choy. Cut down on food waste by using “scraps” like broccoli stems, leafy tops of carrots, or celery leaves.
Blend a fresh, crisp fruit into your salad for a sweet bite. Top with creamy soft cheese and crunchy nuts or seeds. Finish off with a light dressing that will blend it all together.
Storage and Food Prep:
Grain salads can be made in advance and stored in the freezer. Avoid tossing out leftover grains and veggies by throwing together a wholesome salad. Keep your foods safe by following these tips:
1. Use leftovers immediately. Most foods last only 5-7 days in the fridge.
2. If you are cooking in bulk and freezing right away, this grain salad will freeze for up to 6 months. If you have included salad greens, 3 months.
3. If you’ve added an animal protein (chicken, beef, fish), this salad will freeze for 3 months and will be fresh in the fridge for 5 days.
4. Half- prepare the salad if you are cooking in bulk and freezing. Add salad greens and/or fresh herbs when you are ready to serve.
Grain Salad recipe
- 1 Cup quinoa, uncooked. Or other grain
- 4 Cup vegetables, raw, cooked, roasted. leafy
- 1 apple, chopped
- ½ Cup nuts or seeds
- Optional: top with 2 oz. cheese (bleu, goat, feta, cheddar)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- 2 TBSP cider vinegar or other
- 1 TSP Dijon mustard
- ¼ Cup olive oil or less
1. Rinse quinoa (2 minutes) and cook per packaged instructions
2. Toss vegetables and fruit with grain
3. Top with nuts and/or seeds and cheese
1. Whisk garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard until well blended and dissolved.
2. Add oil and blend.
Spring/ Summer: Try in-season veggies like summer squash and zucchini, fresh sweet corn, and ripe tomatoes. Top with light citrus dressings and fresh berries or tropical fruits.
Autumn/ Winter: Choose heartier flavors like roasted garlic, root vegetables (carrots, beets, parsnips) and winter squash. Top with fruits like pomegranates and apples.