Delicious Protein Grain Salad: swap in & out with quinoa, barley, couscous…

This is one of those delicious vegetarian recipes where you don’t even miss the meat! The ingredients that mix into the healthy grain are incredibly high-impact on your taste buds – making each bite a savory delight! You can choose your own personal grain preference for this salad – but my personal choices are barley, bulgar wheat or quinoa for the added dietary fiber & protein (combined with the beans, making it a winning combo!). But if your kids aren’t quite convinced of those hearty grains yet, swapping in couscous or brown rice works just fine, too!

The beauty of this dish, in addition to the speed at which it comes together, is that it’s one of those that really lends itself to whatever you may happen to find in your refrigerator. Instead of the recipe’s greek flavors, swap in bell peppers, asparagus and goat cheese for a fresh summer twist or red onion, black beans and frozen corn for a southwestern flair – as long as the base is kept, the possibilities are endless.

Feta and Pepperoncini Grain Salad

Ingredients

  • Water (as called for on grain box directions)
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley, quinoa, bulgar wheat, couscous, brown rice
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese with basil and sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoncini peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 (16-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained

Preparation

  1. Cook grain of choice according to package directions, and then drain well.
  2. While the barley cooks, combine feta cheese, tomatoes, peppers, basil, capers, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and navy beans in a large bowl; toss well. Add the cooked barley; toss gently until combined. Serve immediately. (Note that leftovers reheat well – or taste delicious cold!)

To see the original recipe, go here!
By Nancy Hughes, Cooking Light 
MAY 2006

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 317
  • Calories from fat: 31%
  • Fat: 10.8g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g
  • Protein: 14.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 42.6g
  • Fiber: 10.5g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
  • Iron: 4.2mg
  • Sodium: 973mg
  • Calcium: 250mg
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