Cold grain salads really hit the spot during the summer. We live on them all summer long!
On Saturday evening, I took cold cooked millet and mixed it together with shredded roast beef, goat feta cheese, diced onions, olives, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The dinner was great and cooling on a day that reached 100 degrees.
In this post, I'll share a general formula for creating your own cold grain salads, based on the foods your family enjoys and what your pantry contains.
In a cold grain salad, the grains should be soaked, cooked, then chilled ahead of time. It is good to do your cooking in the morning when it is still cool – or better yet, if you have a roaster oven, you can set it up outside to cook your grains, which won't heat up your house at all. These are some of the (already soaked and cooked, then chilled) grains we've used in cold main dish salads:
- Soaked Brown Rice
- Wild rice
You'll also want to have some type of meat, already cooked and chilled. The meat can be plain, as it will get seasoned in the salad. Or, if you cook it already marinated, it will add flavor to the salad. Either way, it is delicious! These are great meats to include in a cold grain salad:
- Pastured chicken chunks
- Grass-fed shredded roast beef
- Grass-fed ground beef (when cooking, keep it chunky, but small chunks)
- Wild-caught salmon chunks
- Pastured pork bacon bits
- Chunks of pastured pork ham
- Chunks of pastured pork or lamb sausage
There are so many add-ins. This won't be exhaustive:
- Diced veggies, such as onions, peppers, zucchini, squash, cucumbers
- Veggies, such as peas or snap peas
- Sliced olives
- Chunks of raw cheese – feta, cheddar, etc.
- Cold, cooked beans – pintos, black beans, garbanzos/chickpeas
The dressing is really up to you. Our favorite is a viniagrette made from extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar (sulfite-free), salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs. Also good would be a honey-mustard, a natural ranch-type dressing (I'm working on a super good one right now), or a yogurt/kefir based herb dressing.
You mix up all the ingredients. Taste, taste, taste (of course to adjust seasonings). It is best to let it chill for an hour or so, to let the flavors mingle together. Another tasting might be necessary to make seasoning adjustments. 😉
Try one! Let me know what you mix together and how your family likes it! Feel free to share what else you do for cooling eating during the summer.
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