Whole grains are a trend that’s here to stay—packing a nutritional punch with big flavor on salad bars, on dinner plates and in bowls.
Southwest quinoa salad
Elon University, Elon, N.C.
For salad bar enthusiasts dining at Elon University, it’s easy to create a hearty, complex salad with very little effort, thanks to composed grain salads like this Southwestern stunner (pictured above). Superstar grain quinoa is paired with white corn, plum tomatoes, poblano pepper and black beans flavored up with lime juice, cilantro, cumin, red wine vinegar and dried chilies. When paired with fresh spinach from the salad bar, it’s a salad-within-a-salad.
This roasted squash is stuffed with quinoa pilaf and rests on a pillow of cashew remoulade. The striking winter dish made its debut at Cal Dining’s recent Winter Fest celebration. Giving quinoa a treatment usually reserved for rice is a good way to get more whole grains onto the menu, especially when paired with something as seasonal as this squash. Kabocha squash is a Japanese variety that chefs love for its sweet flavor and fluffy texture. It’s known as being similar to acorn squash, but better.
Mediterranean wheat berry bowl
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro, Vt.
Wheat berries have an appealing, hearty texture, perfect to support the bright, bold flavors of this bowl, one of the grain bowl specials at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s Maple View Café, where the focus is on fresh food, local cheese and healthy options. This bowl gets its zippy flavor from Vermont feta cheese, local veggies and cilantro. Even the wheat berries are grown in Vermont, and breaking a perfectly sunny egg yolk on top makes a silky sauce for this bowl.