Healthy and Delicious Grain Salads for Summer

Bulgur Watercress and Ricotta

Bulgur Watercress with Fresh Goat Cheese Ricotta

I love summer, especially in the Pacific Northwest.  If the first time you visit our area is in the summer, you’d think the weather was perfect.  And it is, most of the time.  Unfortunately, things start going downhill weather-wise from late September on.  Unless, of course, you have visitors from out of state that arrive the first week of September because you told them the weather was perfect, and then it proceeds to rain for one week and never gets above 60 degrees.

I digress.  This is the time of year where the days are long and no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen.  Perfect salad days!

Here are a few ideas for healthy and filling grain-based salads that are infinitely customizable to your and your family’s tastes.  Virtually all of them can be made ahead of time and assembled before serving so the flavors remain fresh and vibrant.

The salad pictured above is composed of bulgur, roasted fresh tomatoes, toasted walnuts,and green onions tossed with a lemony olive oil dressing with watercress and goat cheese ricotta.

ASIAN INSPIRED

Red Cargo Rice with Kale and Almonds

Red Cargo Rice with Kale and Almonds

Red cargo rice, green onions, pre-packaged kale-cabbage mix, toasted almonds tossed with sesame vinaigrette.

 

SPICY SPANISH INSPIRED

Smoky-Spicy Brown Rice with grilled Andouille Sausage

Smoky-Spicy Brown Rice with grilled Andouille Sausage

Brown rice, red kidney beans, spicy grilled sausage, toasted pumpkin seeds, sliced red onion tossed with smoked paprika-olive oil dressing with chopped parsley.

MEDITERRANEAN INSPIRED

Couscous Chickpea Tomato with Mint

Couscous Chickpea Tomato with Mint

Whole wheat couscous, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped fresh mint and Feta cheese.