There are few foods I enjoy so much as a really good salad, whether it is just a simple heap of greens or a more filling bowl of dressed grains or pasta. So I have been looking forward to Salad Week on The Kitchn, five whole days for us to indulge our love of great salads, and to find some fresh inspiration for summer vegetables. Let's kick it off with 10 favorite hearty salads. These are the cool bowlfuls that can carry us through a week of lunches, and stand nearly on their own at the summer picnic table. Fresh pasta salads (from tortellini to couscous), and deliciously nourishing grain salads (brown rice, farro, quinoa) — here are ten of our all-time favorites!
• 1 Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous with Cherries and Arugula - A nutty whole wheat salad with spicy arugula and sweet dried cherries (or substitute fresh cherries for a juicier twist).
• 2 Zesty Tortellini Salad - The quintessential pasta salad, with salami, red onions, parsley, and lemon.
• 3 Bún Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Noodle Salad) - A Vietnamese take on noodle salad, with shredded lettuce and handfuls of herbs.
• 4 Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad - A very simple, very delicious favorite.
• 5 Italian Macaroni Salad - Another very simple recipe, almost a template for fresh summer pasta salad. Try substituting goat cheese for the feta, or roasted peppers for the tomatoes.
• 6 Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Goat Cheese - Perhaps my all-time favorite grain salad, with lots of contrasting tastes and textures.
• 7 Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries - A vegan recipe with loads of extra flavor from miso and sesame.
• 8 Quinoa Salad with Spring Radishes and Greens - Radishes are a terrific grain salad addition, for color, taste, and crunch.
• 9 Chicken (or Tofu) and Wild Rice Salad - This salad offers two paths: stir in chicken for the classic Southern rice and chicken salad, or lighten it up with tofu instead.
• 10 Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina - A warm salad that can stand alone as dinner; just use any vegetables in season.
What are your favorite grain and pasta salads for summer? Do share!
(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)