Grain salads are a wonderful way to incorporate healthy fiber and nutrients into your diet, while providing texture and a vehicle for flavor. The downfall of many a grain salad, such as quinoa, farro, wild rice, or barley, is soggy grains that dilute the dressing, and therefore the seasoning.
My trick to get dry, fluffy grains that are ready to soak up the dressing and compliment the other ingredients, is simple and effective. I like to pre-soak my grains (as early as the night before, or as late as the afternoon if I forget), which cuts down on cooking time and makes the grains more digestible. It’s not required though, so don’t sweat it if it’s not a step that fits into your world.
Cook the grains in plenty of water until they are just about finished (this varies from grain to grain, so check your package or my recipes for specifics). Drain them using a fine mesh colander, shaking out as much water as you can, then return them to the same pot. Put the lid on, and place back over low heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it rest another 5-10 minutes, then stir and leave the lid off. Let cool until you are ready to use it in your salad.