Basic Grain Salad Five Ways

Basic Salad

  • 2 cups cooked whole grain (brown rice, millet, quinoa, barley, bulgur) or legumes (lentils, black-eyed peas, cannellini, kidney, or black beans)
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped vegetables (beets, carrots, scallions, red onion, Brussels sprouts, radishes)
  • ¼  cup dried or ½ cup fresh fruit, nuts, seeds or olives

Cook grain. The rule-of-thumb is 2 parts water to 1 part grain; bring grain and water to boil, reduce to simmer and without stirring, simmer until water is absorbed. (Time varies between grains; 15-60 minutes.)  If you’d like a cold grain salad, try cooking the grain a day ahead and storing in the refrigerator overnight. Choose the combination of vegetables you’d like. Shred, dice and chop into small pieces and add to grain in a medium sized salad or mixing bowl. Do the same for any dried fruit, nut or olive you’d like.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and herbs. Pour over salad and stir/toss. Taste! Adjust ingredients as needed.  Add lemon juice, lemon zest or more herbs/spices for a little more *zing* or 1 tsp honey to add a little sweetness. Salt and pepper are optional.


  • 2-3   tablespoon olive, flax or walnut oil
  • 2   tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1   tablespoon vinegar (apple cider, red or white wine, champagne, balsamic, etc)
  • 1-2   teaspoon dry (1-2 tablespoon fresh) favorite herbs/spices (parsley, dill, basil, oregano, coriander, cilantro, etc)


  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans/almonds
  • 1/5 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T vinegar (apple cider)
  • 1-2 T citrus juice (lime or lemon)
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • Grain: barley
  • Vegetables: cherry tomatoes, grilled squash
  • Fruit/Nuts: omit
  • Oil: olive
  • Lemon juice: yes
  • Vinegar: red wine
  • Herbs/Spices: parsley, basil
  • Grain/Bean: edamame, quinoa
  • Vegetables: spinach, red onion
  • Nuts: slivered almonds, dried cranberries
  • Oil: olive
  • Lemon Juice: yes
  • Vinegar: omit
  • Herbs/Spices: fresh mint
  • Grain: bulgur
  • Vegetables: ribbon-cut mixed greens (spinach, kale, basil)
  • Nuts: substitute red pepper
  • Oil: olive
  • Lemon Juice: yes
  • Vinegar: substitute dijon mustard
  • Herbs/Spices: garlic, pepper,anchovy
  • Grain/Bean: green lentils
  • Vegetables: green onions, red cabbage
  • Fruit: mandarin oranges
  • Oil: 4 drops sesame oil
  • Lemon Juice: substitute aji-mirin (sweet rice vinegar)
  • Vinegar: rice or white wine (2 Tbsp)
  • Herbs/Spices: ginger, mint