What takes up the most space in your refrigerator? My husband thinks for us it’s probably salad greens. If you peek into our fridge, however, you’ll also notice mounds of cooked whole grains packed and stacked high. There’s always a big container of hot cereal we make ahead each week for quick breakfasts. And those hefty batches of cooked brown rice, barley, or farro are hard to miss.
Make Ahead Grains
Just like we fill the salt shaker when it’s running low, when Jake and I see a dwindling supply of cooked grains in our fridge, we start the water boiling. Having a ready-to-go supply of whole grains is one of the keys to our healthy eating plan. We often don’t have a recipe in mind when cooking our grains. But it’s easy to build a meal if you already have a hearty cooked grain as your starting point.
Quinoa & Nutrition
Quinoa is a major player in our whole grains rotation. Our family loves the earthy, nutty quinoa taste, and appreciate its nutritional benefits. Quinoa is one of the few whole grains that’s a complete protein. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a particular favorite among vegetarians. Quinoa also has the highest level of folate among the whole grains. And because folate doesn’t store up in our bodies, we need to get it in our diets each day. (Dark, leafy greens are another good source of folate.)
Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite side dishes. It goes well with any dinner protein, such as shrimp skewers, baked salmon, or baked chicken. Sometimes I’ll mix salmon, chicken, or tofu into the quinoa salad and send it in June’s thermos for her lunch. (“Love this, more please, Mom!”)
Artichokes, capers, and feta cheese transform the quinoa salad into a “crave it” food, and it disappears fast. I recommend making a big batch!