Hearty salads made with whole grains, beans, vegetables and a variety of other ingredients should star on your menus, especially in the warm months. If you're not familiar with whole grains, visit the Nutrition section of my web site (see the link below); I explain all about how to cook them, where to find them, and why they are so important for healthful eating. Try these favorite recipes and then experiment with your own variations.
Summer Barley-Bean Salad
2 cups cooked barley
1 15-oz. can pink or kidney beans, drained
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing
Combine all ingredients and chill.
1 cup bulgur
Water to cover
1 onion, chopped
6 green onions, sliced
2 cups chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup no-fat mayonnaise
Place the bulgur in a bowl and cover with cold water; allow it to soak for 2-3 hours or until the bulghar is soft. Line a colander with cheesecloth or a dish towel and pour in the bulghar; squeeze out all the excess moisture. Return the bulghar to the bowl and mix in remaining ingredients except the mayonnaise. Chill for at least 2 hours. Stir in mayonnaise just before serving. Serve on lettuce leaves.
Tex-Mex variation: Add 1 red bell pepper, chopped; 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced; and 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped.
Southwestern Bean Salad
2 cups cooked brown rice or barley
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup vinegar or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 minced jalapeno pepper, or cayenne to taste
1 t. chili powder
Combine all ingredients. Tastes even better if you let it stand, refrigerated or at room temperature, for one hour before serving.
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Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports - and the FREE Good Food Book - at http://www.DrMirkin.com