Packing your salad full of whole grains like farro, quinoa, and brown rice is an easy way to bulk it up and make it extra satisfying. But what’s not satisfying is a salad full of mushy grains, which can happen if you forget one important step when prepping them for lunch.

By Sheela Prakash
Updated June 29, 2016
Cooking Quinoa For Salad
Credit: nata_vkusidey/Getty Images

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Cool Grains Right Away in a Single Layer

Instead of letting the finished grains cool in the pot you cooked them in or dumping them into a bowl, spread them out evenly onto a baking sheet and stick the sheet in the refrigerator. This helps the grains cool faster and allows each individual grain to keep its toothy texture. That way, when you add some to your salad, it will have a nice chew to it—even after tossing it with dressing.

Take this tip one step further, thanks to reader, mdorothy, who suggested actually chilling the baking sheet in the fridge while you cook your grains. That way the sheet is already nice and cold when you pour your cooked grains out onto it, helping them cool down even faster.