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Naked Grains Recipe Challenge

(article, Kim Carlson)

At Culinate we're big fans of grains — everything from quinoa to oat groats to farro. Grains are  healthful, easy to prepare, and satisfying.

While we like grains every which way — in pilafs and porridges, cooked into chili or stuffed into squash — grain salads are among our favorites. A tasty grain-based salad makes a terrific stick-with-you lunch or dinner (and probably breakfast, too), whether tucked into a pita or simply served with lettuce. 

[%image reference-image float=right width=400 caption="Start with a bowl of cooked grain and from there, go wild."]In fact, on occasion at least one of us finds herself at the open fridge, spoon in hand, eating the grain-based salad du jour  — right from the leftover container. (We know; that needs to stop. At least close the door.)

Grain salads are terrific vegetarian or vegan. They can feed a crowd inexpensively — but deliciously. In a down-to-earth way, they look nice, too — especially if the add-ins are many different colors. 

Here's the thing: To a salad maker, a pot of cooked grains is like a clean slate, an unpainted canvas, a lump of clay. Sorry,  none of those sounds very tasty. But the point is, a pot of grains is just waiting for creative energy to embellish it — with flavor. 

h3. The Naked Grains Recipe Challenge

For our next blogging contest, we're going to try something different. It starts with a pot of cooked grains. Naked grains, in fact.

We've got great grain salads on the site — including 

 Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing
 Farro Salad with Tomato, Red Onion, and Green Olives
 Bulgur Salad with Red Pepper and Walnuts 
 Wheat Berries and Garbanzos with Lemon-Tahini Dressing. 

Now though, it's your turn to make a great grain salad. 

Start with a bowl of cooked grains — barley, farro, quinoa, bulgar, wheat berries, whatever. Then get busy! We want your best recipe for a grain salad — one so good that others will want to make it immediately.

Here's how to participate in the contest:

# Create a grain-salad recipe and add it to your recipe file (instructions are [/culinate/faqmemberpages here]). 
# Optional: Take a photo of your salad. Add it to the recipe.
# Optional: Write a blog post about the process. Why did you start with that particular grain? How did you decide to add what you added? 
# Once your recipe is saved, head to the bottom of the recipe page and tag it: "grain salad." This is important; that's how we'll know you've entered the contest.
# Finally (and this also is optional), come back here and leave a comment with a link to your grain-salad recipe on Culinate. 

We're looking for salads that can be easily reproduced. 

Bonus points if we get to see your salad. Don't forget the photo.  

And yes, you may submit more than one recipe. 

On October 13, we'll pick our top five from among all the submitted recipes. Then we'll invite our members to vote on their favorite. 

One person will receive the grand prize: a $100 shopping trip at a local farmers' market.* With fall produce at its peak, the next month is going to be terrific shopping.

Now go to the kitchen and start experimenting!

reference-image, l