To make a light, fluffy grain salad, you need cooled cooked grains. But letting them chill out in the pot or strainer will leave you with a clumpy, gummy mess. The solution is as close as your cupboard. Grab a baking sheet and save your salad this way:
1. Transfer drained, just-cooked grains to a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Using a spatula, spread the grains in an even layer. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes for 4 cups of grains. (For even quicker cooling, stick the pan in the refrigerator; it’ll take half the time.)
3. Use the cooled grains in all sorts of salads and side dishes, like our brand new Spinach Salad with Beets, Quinoa & Goat Cheese.
More quinoa recipes…
I’ve often considered whole grains to be bor-ing and have definitely been guilty of relegating them to side dish status. Recently, however, I started noticing whole grains popping up in more and more restaurant–as stellar appetizers, salads and vegetarian main dishes–and have experienced a change of heart.
This Meatless Monday, I challenge you to get on this trending train and put these old, ancient grains in the spotlight as your main dish star. With the recipes below and numerous options including farro, millet, barley, brown rice, quinoa and more, there are multiple ways to make a satisfying meatless dish.
Since I’m a true believer in knowledge being power (nerd alert!), let’s go over a few quick “health hits” first. Did you know that whole grains…
- contain more antioxidants than fruit and vegetables including vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium and iron?
- can slash the risk of heart disease and diabetes by more than 25 percent when consumed regularly?
- cost half the price of meat and are full of fiber which keeps you full and helps you burn more calories? (Yup, that’s right. You can save money and lose weight? Hell yes!)
Now let’s get cookin’!
“Farro is one of my favorite types of wheat,” says Rachael. “And now you can find it in pasta!” Farro pasta has a nutty and complex flavor without the heaviness of whole grain pasta. Look for it in your local stores or online. Click here for more casual 30-Minute Meals from Rachael.
When you’re looking for flexibility, quinoa is the grain to use. I love this ingredient because it can be creamy or crunchy, shaped and molded into other dishes like patties and works as the main attraction or a just a garnish. In addition, it’s gluten-free and super fast to make. Zucchini and corn are tossed with light and fluffy quinoa in this colorful main dish. However, feel free to experiment with whatever veggies you like the most or whatever is in season. Serve this salad hot or cold and save time by making it up to 2 days in advance and storing in the refrigerator.
Farro is a healthy whole-grain that Italians have been eating for years in everything from salad to soups. As a complex carbohydrate, it breaks down slowly in your system which helps to keep your energy levels stable. Make this recipe for approximately $2.50 per person and add in mushrooms for an extra buck. Click here to get this recipe and more $3 Italian soups.
Usually you’ll find barley playing second fiddle in a soup recipe, but this meatless meal from our Italian-inspired Express Lane Suppers showcases barley’s subtly buttery flavor by pairing it with butternut squash and peas. Save time by using pre-cut squash from your grocery store and our Express Lane Supper recipes and customized 10-ingredient shopping list.
Wanna learn more? Get the scoop on how to cook 6 of our favorite whole grains, 7 easy ways to incorporate them into your every day recipes and the must-know do’s and don’ts of grains with our How to Cook with Whole Grains Guide.