Make one big batch of a grain salad on Sunday and you're already off to better eating for the week. They're a wholesome side dish next to meat or fish and can also hold their own for dinner with the right mix of add-ins. When you're in search of a light vegetarian main, grain salads are the answer. They're also one of the smartest, easiest ways to make lunch for the week.
You'll need a few recipes to put into regular rotation, so we created a list of our favorites. From a meaty chicken and rice combination inspired by Ottolenghi to a mix containing brown rice, nuts, and apples, you can go as fancy or fuss-free as you need.
Caramelized onions add sweetness to this Mediterranean-inspired grain salad that's made extra fragrant, thanks to lots of chopped fresh mint.
This colorful rice salad calls for shiso, a unique herb that's part of the mint family but tastes mildly like cumin and cilantro. However, if you can't get ahold of it, the salad will be just as tasty if you swap in arugula.
While this recipe calls for a mix of farro and Israeli couscous, you can use just about any grain you'd like to make this tangy, crunchy salad.
This salad is wonderful made in the peak of summer when there's an abundance of fresh corn and juicy tomatoes, but it's also quite tasty made with frozen corn and grocery store tomatoes, so don't hesitate to make it whenever the craving hits.
Go ahead and make a double batch of the bulgur and lentil salad, as it makes for a hearty, protein- and fiber-filled lunch, even when served without the roasted shrimp.
The avocado dressing in this recipe is made extra creamy with the help of Greek yogurt, giving it a jolt of protein at the same time. Use any leftover dressing as a sandwich spread or thin it out to toss with salad greens.
This simple grain salad comes together in a matter of minutes, especially if you start with pre-cooked quinoa. Keep some in your freezer to make it extra easy on yourself.
Green beans and chopped chives add a pop of color and boost the savory factor of this fruit- and nut-packed grain salad.
While this salad is incredibly comforting when served warm, it's not any less satisfying when served at room temperature or cold, so pack up those leftovers for lunch!
This salad is light enough that it pairs well with a piece of fish or chicken served alongside of it. It's also quite nice finished off with some crumbled goat cheese or feta.
If you like your salads to have some crunch to them, this recipe takes well to the addition of diced fennel, radishes, or celery in the mix.
Chickpeas, along with a creamy tahini dressing, make this one surprisingly filling grain salad. Feel free to use kale or arugula in place of the collard greens, if you prefer.