With their nutty taste, mild flavour, and irresistible chewy texture, high-fibre whole grains are a fantastic source of salad inspiration. They complement the bright, fresh flavours your patrons enjoy most and work beautifully with fresh herbs and vegetables in individual summer variations on the Middle Eastern tabbouleh (and as accompaniments to mezze spreads).
Grains like millet can be pan-roasted to bring out even more nutty flavour and whole grains are also great for make-ahead salads as they absorb flavour while they sit.
Nowadays there are more readily-available grains than ever before to experiment with - from traditional kitchen staples like rye, rice and bulgur wheat to ‘rediscovered’ ancient grains like Tuscan farro and spelt. Whole grains also work well in salads featuring roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, nuts, cucumber, roasted tomatoes, feta, lemons and spinach.
Bulk it up – top trending grains
Couscous –This North African staple takes its name from the traditional Berber keskes pot used to prepare the steamed semolina balls. Delicious with spicy harissa, roasted vegetables, beef chicken or lamb, couscous adds an exciting dimension to any salad – especially with the whole wheat versions that are now becoming increasingly available.
Quinoa – known as the ‘wonder grain’ because it is cooks quicker than rice and is virtually foolproof, quinoa was a staple of the Aztec and Inca cultures. It is gluten-free and contains more protein than any other grain, as well as being rich in iron and Vitamin E with a deliciously nutty flavour and a texture that combines beautifully with Mediterranean-style salads.
Wild rice – ideal as a ‘main course’ salad or a side dish, wild rice is a traditional Native American seed-grain with a chewy external sheath and a nutrient-dense grain inside. It has a higher protein and fibre content than brown or white rice and contains all the essential amino acids, making it a great option for vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as power bowls.