Basic Grain Salad 5 Ways


Basic Salad

  • 2 cups cooked whole grain (brown rice, millet, quinoa, barley, bulgur) or legumes (black-eyed peas, lentils, cannellini, kidney, or black beans)
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped vegetables (beets,carrots, green onion, red onion, Brussels sprouts, radishes)
  • ¼ cup dried fruit, nuts, seeds or olives (1⁄2 cup if fresh fruit)


  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive, flax, or walnut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoons vinegar (apple cider, red wine, white wine, champagne, balsamic, etc.)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dry herbs/spices, such as parsley, dill, basil, oregano, cilantro, etc. (1-2 Tablespoons if fresh)



  1. Cook grain: the rule-of-thumb is 2 parts water to 1 part grain. Bring grain and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and without stirring, simmer until the water is absorbed. (Time varies among grains: 15-60 minutes.) If you’d like a cold grain salad, cook the grain a day ahead and store in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Choose the combination of vegetables you’d like. Shred, dice and chop into small pieces, and add to grain in a medium salad or mixing bowl. Do the same for any nuts, olives or dried fruit you’d like.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar and herbs. Pour over salad and toss.
  4. Taste! Adjust ingredients as needed. Add lemon juice, lemon zest or more herbs/spices for a little more zing or 1 teaspoon honey for a little sweetness. Salt and pepper are optional.


Seasoned Cook

Using the same quantities from the basic salad and dressing recipes, try different recipe combinations.


Serves 4. Per serving using barley salad: 172 calories, 3g protein, 26g carbohydrate (4g fiber), 7g fat (1g sat, 6g mono/poly), 9mg sodium