Six Great Grain Salads

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You go through food phases, right? Periods of time when you want to eat only one thing, or one type of thing, almost all the time? Sometimes to the chagrin of those around you?

The phase I have been in as of late is The Great Grain Salad Phase. I’m mixing and matching different cooked grains with all kinds of different vegetables and greens, sometimes with chicken or shrimp or the like thrown in, and then tossing it all together with simple dressings.

I’ve been playing around with freekeh, farro, spelt, millet, rice, quinoa, wheat berries, couscous (not actually a grain, I know, but still), and other grains; bringing them to potlucks; packing them for lunch; making them in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions for a crowd. Here are a few of my recent concoctions:

Millet and Greens Salad: In this recipe, the vegetables (arugula and asparagus) are the star players and the millet is more of an accessory, along with dried cherries and fresh basil.

Mediterranean Couscous, Swiss Chard, and Peppers: Swiss chard, it’s time to move into the spotlight and share the love with that media-hog, kale.

Red Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Artichoke Hearts, and Olives: This is so pretty, brightened up by mint and basil. Sometimes a side dish will steal the show—and in this case, maybe it should be a main dish.

Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing: This is the vegetarian side dish you’re looking for when you’re hosting a crowd or need to bring something to a potluck. It’s easy, healthy, flexible, and PRETTY (use whatever vegetables, seasonings, and herbs you like).

Tomato, Zucchini, and Bulgur Salad: This one is kind of tabbouleh-ish. Keep it in mind when tomatoes and zucchini flood the markets.

Sesame-Honey Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Sliced Avocado: It’s full of great textures, and tossed with a slightly Asian dressing. And topped with avocados, which is always an added bonus.

It’s highly probable that my next food phase will not be as healthy, so I guess I should let this one roll as long as I can. If you have a great grain salad in your repertoire, do share.

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