Summer is in full swing and salad is more fun with a plethora of fresh ingredients like greens and berries. Perhaps it is time to mix it up a bit. Do you always have salad topped with chicken? Try salmon, steak, canned tuna, hard-boiled egg or beans. Add seasonal fruit such as beets, avocados or berries. Spruce up your salad with different nuts/seeds or roasted beans. How about crunchy roasted chickpeas instead of croutons? Try flavorful cheeses such as feta, goat, parmesan or gorgonzola.
What about the whole grains? Some examples to pair with salad are whole grain bread or pasta, quinoa, farro, or freekah, to name a few. My favorite salad consists of a bed of greens with berries and cooked farro topped with goat cheese and slivered almonds and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. (Inspired from here)
Whole grains tend to include more nutrients and beneficial compounds such as providing more fiber when chosen over a refined grain product. Look for “whole” in the ingredients.
Cooking most grains is very similar to cooking rice. You put the dry grain in a pan with water or broth, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Grains can vary in cooking time, and some can be found as a ‘quick’ cook option as well. Use time instructions as a guide but cook the grain until it’s your desired consistency. You can always drain any excess water if you feel the grain is already to your liking.
There are so many ways to enjoy whole grains. Cook a batch of grains to enjoy for 3-4 days added to salad, as a side with fish and roasted vegetables or stirred into soup (ex: mushroom and barley soup). I hope you are inspired to try a new grain or different toppings on your salad this summer.