We love loading our summertime tables up with all sorts of different salads -- and there's no need to restrict yourselves to simple raw veggies! Salads can take on all forms, and the addition of grains makes them even more hearty and filling.
That's why we love grain salad recipes for Meatless Monday -- the combination of different grains and a host of flavorful fruits and veggies, topped with a tasty vinaigrette is pretty much what summer's all about. Be it rice, bulgur, spelt or quinoa, we've got the perfect summer salad to make your al fresco table sing. And what's more, since many of these salads can be served cold, the leftovers are perfect for Tuesday lunches, too.
Start things off with a traditional grain salad from the Mediterranean: bulgur wheat tabbouleh. Tabbouleh combines lots of fresh summer veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers with the freshness of lemon, parsley and mint. How much herb you use depends on you and your summer garden; some prefer the bulgur to do most of the talking, while others turn it into an herb salad with just a touch of wheat to add a bit of bulk. However you decide to make it, this salad is excellent on its own or served with a minted yogurt sauce for some added calcium.
Image by Emily Monaco
Spelt may not be the most common grain to find in salads, but the rich nuttiness of spelt berries is the perfect counterpart to quick pickled red onions. Served atop a bed of baby greens, this spelt salad is ideal for your summer barbecues. A bit of feta or goat cheese will add a touch more flavor and richness to this salad as well.
Rice salad image via Shutterstock: margouillat photo
From the Organic Authority Files
Rice salad is a summertime classic in France, where leftover rice is often tossed with vegetables, cheese, and ham or tuna. This zesty vegetarian rice salad, however, focuses entirely on fruits and vegetables -- with no lack of flavor! Red pepper, onion, raisins, almonds, apricots... this salad is bursting with all sorts of different bits and pieces, making every bite a new adventure. Make it with nutty brown rice for even more nutrients and added flavor.
It seems only appropriate that a South American-inspired salad have a South American pseudo-grain in it. The result of this key combo is our quinoa salad with avocado, flavored with a cumin and chili-spiked dressing and some fresh red onion. The lemon juice and vinegar in this salad will help keep the avocado green, at least for a little while, so this salad is just as perfect for a Meatless Monday dinner as for a picnic lunch!
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Top tabbouleh image via Shutterstock