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ISO your best "grains" salads - scorching hot

It is scorching hot here in the midwest (finally). We will be doing a lot of outdoor grilling for suppper (meat or fish and veg). What I am searching for is your tried and true recipes for "grains" salads that I can make ahead and leave in the fridge for a few days as a light lunch or side.
Thinking of: couscous, farro, wheat berries and other grains.
Love mediterranean flavours and don't even mind adding grilled tuna steaks or shrimp to make a meal out of them.

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  1. Okay, I know that orzo is not a grain, but my go to salad is Orzo with Everything. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1 Reply
    1. re: susan1353

      I agree that this is an absolutely fantastic salad. It's easy to sub quinoa or another grain for the orzo, if you're so inclined.

    2. I make a brown and wild rice salad with rice, almonds, cranberries, red pepper and green onion. The dressing is mango chutney zapped in the food processor and thinned with a little rice wine vinegar, water, and oil.
      It's based on a salad I used to get at my favorite bakery.

      1. Latest concoctions (mostly out of being completely lazy):
        * grilled zucchini (or European squash - the light green kind), grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, kasha, parsley-lemon dressing
        * wheat berries w/ steamed baby beets, beet greens, walnuts, feta, lemon peel, lemony dressing
        * wheat berries w/ lettuce, grilled peaches, balsamic & farmer's cheese

        1. Cooked wheat berries, feta cheese, cucumber chunks, red onion or scallions, Kalamata olives, red bell peppers ........ whatever catches your fancy or is in easy reach in the fridge. Lemon vinaigrette, some herbs and you have lunches for the week.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sherri

            I love to make a greek quinoa salad that is very similar:
            Cook the quinoa per the box instructions, let cool.
            Add to cooled quinoa cut up cukes, tomatoes, bell peppers, (and any other veggie you have around-even if not traditional), pitted kalamata olives, sliced pepperocinis, and lots of delicious feta cheese.
            Make a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano, salt(very little since the feta is pretty salty) and pepper.
            The flavors get better over time.
            You could add chicken, fish, gyro meat…really anything!

            1. re: Sherri

              Hi Sherri. Can you help me with your version of the lemon vinaigrette? I'm not good at tossing together dressings without measurements - I'd appreciate it if you can even approximate the quantities. Thanks! Stay cool!

              1. re: andersonnyc11

                Happy to help. My basic vinaigrette ratio is +/- 3:1, about 3 oil to 1 acid. For this lemon vinaigrette I use extra virgin olive oil and both fresh lemon juice and a bit of white wine vinegar. Squeeze enough lemons to make 1/3 C lemon juice, add enough white wine vinegar to bring the measurement up to 1/2 C total acids. Stir this into 1 - 1 1/2 C oil, add SPTT + herbs of choice. I find (dried) tarragon to be a great all-around herb choice. Add the oil in batches and taste as you go until you get something you like. Different lemons & vinegars have differing levels of acidity; olive oils have differing flavor profiles as well. Sorry that I cannot give you a cut & dried absolute. but tasting as you go is a great way to learn to trust yourself.

                This will keep, refrigerated, for a while - after a couple of weeks it will lose the fresh flavor that makes it special. Make it in smaller batches if you're not using it all. Store this in a jar so that a good shake is all you'll need to reconstitute it.

            2. Google Trader Joes Harvest Grain Blend and there are a bunch of recipes using this great product.

              I cook it in chicken stock until liquid is absorbed. I then add frozen petite peas and sliced (browned) smoked sausage. I dress it with red wine vinaigrette at serving time and serve at room temp. Wonderful.

              1. I posted a recipe a while back for the green lentil salad from Rosemary Barron's Flavors of Greece. Here's the link:


                It's an excellent salad -- extremely flavorful and would keep nicely for a couple of days.

                1. Thanks so far - hoping more will come.
                  Laliz- Does cooking it in chicken stock reduce the "shelf life" of the product?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: itryalot

                    not to my knowledge. I've kept it for several days and it is fine.

                  2. Here’s another one, but just with plain wild rice:

                    Wild Rice and Pea Salad
                    Cook wild rice accordingly.
                    Cool rice.
                    Add to cooled rice: one diced red bell pepper, a few sliced scallions, a package of defrosted, frozen (or fresh, if you are lucky enough to have them) sweet green peas.
                    Mix this with bottled or homemade creamy Italian dressing to taste.
                    Salt and pepper.

                    I have also added walnuts and shredded chicken to this recipe with success.

                    1. Quinoa and black bean salad from Epicurious is delicious. The black beans make it a full meal, and the lime dressing is so light and refreshing.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Missyme

                        I've made this one; it's just great. There's something about the small amount of butter that really brings great flavor to the quinoa...I usually up the amount of lime zest and lime juice, and leave out the oil....

                        1. re: Missyme

                          Tried this last night and loved it. First time making Quinoa. Though I thought it needed lots of extra lime juice and cayenne pepper. Didn't have a metal sieve so couldn't dry and fluff the quinoa, still tasted great.

                        2. I just made a new one this week. 1 part Lentils and 1 part couscous, with pistachios, dried apricots, goji berries, and cashews (that's a mix I get a whole foods). The dressing was balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and lots of curry powder. Delicious!

                          1. Take your favorite tabouleh recipe and substitute farro. I like to cook it al dente (if the grains burst, that's over done). My favorite recipe is pretty basic: toss with your best olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, parsley, a small amount of chopped shallots (or onions), salt and pepper. And maybe some chopped bell pepper.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Zeldog

                              Quinoa is also really good tobouleh-ed.

                            2. Our grain salads tend to be clean out the fridge ventures. Last night I cooked off some barley and then tossed with what I found: corn(grilled this first), tomatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, green onions, fresh mozzarella, and some fresh basil. Served with some romaine lettuce tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

                              1. I made a barley roasted apricot salad that turned out to be a hit during 4th of July. I used hulled barley (which you need to soak overnight), b/c it has more of a texture than regular barley.

                                The recipe (which I got from one of the local papers) calls for roasting apricots, but given how hot it is, you could probably just grill them, though I used the juice of the apricots to make the dressing. . . I took apricots, sprinkled a bit of brown sugar, cumin and olive oil, and roasted for 10 min.

                                After I cooked the barley ( I think the water ratio is 4:1 for hulled barley), I let it cool, then added chopped apricots, sunflower seeds, some cherry tomatoes and corn kernels.

                                The dressing is olive oil and champagne (I used balsamic) vinegar, but I added the cumin/apricot juice, which gave it a nice taste. Mix, then serve w/ toasted slivered almonds (I added rosemary cashews to this mix as well).

                                It's slightly sweet, but you cold also roast the apricots sans sugar and make it less sweet. I actually liked the combo of cumin and brown sugar.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: anzu

                                  This sounds delicious! I'm going to have to try this...

                                  1. re: ziggylu

                                    I will also try Anzu's salad..but I recently found the hulled barley (hulled barley can actually be called a whole grain...pearled or pearl barley is not a whole grain)...and I baked it according to an Alton Brown recipe for baked barley...it did not need soaking overnight and it has a great texture! Now, that said...it baked for about 45 minutes...maybe soaking it would make the baking time shorter and with a hot summer upon us, that might be good. Just telling you my experience with the hulled barley.

                                    1. re: Val

                                      That's useful info! Thanks.

                                      Oh, here's the recipe. Oops. Looking at it, I realized I did quite a few substitutions. . .


                                      For example, I think I cut the oil significantly. I ended up using the juices from the apricot (which added 1-2 TBSP of liquid), and then adding equal parts oil and vinegar. I didn't bother coating the barley in the extra oil. (I forgot to.


                                      I didn't have goat cheese lying around, so I omitted that and added corn, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds. . .

                                      Ok, so I guess it's not quite the same thing as the original. :)

                                      1. re: anzu

                                        Made this one yesterday and it was great. I grilled the peaches on an aluminum disposable small cookie sheet on the BBQ to keep the juices. Added goat cheese and other ingredients. Was a big hit. Will have to try your substitutions one.

                                        1. re: itryalot

                                          Actually, I think the cheese should be kept in. The only reason I didn't add it was b/c it was 4th of July and I didn't have time to run to a store, but I kept thinking how the grilled (roasted) fruit would've gone splendidly w/ a strongish cheese. The corn was ok, but not quite a consolation for the missing cheese. :)

                                2. my friend made this salad and it killed! it's the "Barley, Wild Rice, and Asparagus Salad with Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette" from the Once Upon a Tart Cookbook: wild rice, barley, ginger, asparagus and avocado, dressed with a soy-ginger vinaigrette (lemon, cider vinegar, honey, ginger, soy, canola). really really tops.

                                  1. The Rice Vegetable Salad from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Since it doesn't have any high-spoilage ingredients, it will keep for a while in the fridge, although the currents start to turn it grey after a day or so. Note that when it says "serves 8-10" it means as an entree -- a large entree. I mean, it *starts* with 8 cups of cooked rice, and then you add about the same volume of vegetables. I usually make a half recipe and it's still enough for a buffet/potluck for 20. I've also made it a day in advance, up through adding the dressing to the hot rice and prepping the veggies, and then tossed the veggies in at the last minute. Recipe here:


                                    1. This a great dish that always gets rave reviews at potlucks. It is a curried lentil/wild rice/orzo salad with currants and almonds.


                                      Even better served the next day.

                                      1. For a fast and yummy lunch or dinner, I take lentils (I usually use the pre-cooked vacuum packed ones from Trader Joes) and heat them in the microwave with a handful of fresh baby spinach (so it wilts), topped with dollops of goat cheese, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. It's become a staple in my household. I use white vinegar and it gives the lentils and the cheese the perfect kick. The goat cheese melts and makes the whole dish creamy. It's easy to make for one or for a crowd.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            my favorite quinoa "salad" currently has tons of zucchini and summer squash grated into it while it's cooking down and then stirred around so that the veggies seem to melt into it and give the quinoa a different texture. cook the quinoa in broth for even more flavor. then i pull it off the heat and generally throw a bunch of cherry tomatoes and when it's fairly cool, i throw in whatever herbs are around- basil, mint, and a huge squeeze of lemon. sometimes i'll put feta, mozzarella, or avocado in as well. note that i don't even think it's necessary to use any oil.

                                            it's so good. great for leftovers too. can serve on a mound of more salad greens to make it that much more healthy!

                                          2. I did a very funky quinoa salad: cooked quinoa, radicchio, endive, blue cheese, lemon, parsley; very strong flavors but very good

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                              I made a quinoa salad with fresh gourganes (broad beans/favas), fresh basil, rocket (arugula/roquette), one jarred Turkish flamed sweet red pepper (obviously doing that yourself would be even better, but perhaps not so adviseable in a heatwave), a bit of finely-chopped new onion ... and ... a small amount of cooked and drained bacon. Of course if you keep vegetarian, kosher or halal omit the latter, but it wasn't enough to make the salad greasy or fatty. I think there are other things that could contribute a similar smoky taste.

                                              I love quinoa; eat it a lot. Trick is not to add too much water - some boxes give poor cooking directions and once it is mushy, there isn't much to be done. Remember that a lot of your veg ingredients will add moisture.

                                              I also love farro, but it is SO much more expensive here than in Italy! I find the regular spelt berries too hard, unless you cook them till they burst.

                                            2. Quinoa is quick in a pressure cooker (up to pressure then one minute and natural pressure release). Add things like scallions, red bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, zucchini for a salad. Some Vogue veggie base while cooking or tamari or salsa after for added flavor.

                                              1. Hello,

                                                I made this recipe:


                                                Which is Weight Watchers Barley with Butternut Squash, Apples and Onions as a hot side dish, but had some leftovers and actually preferred this recipe served cold, as a salad. It was delicious!

                                                1. Bumping this thread, since it already has some great links & recipes. Does anyone have a favourite "grains" salad they've been making lately?

                                                  1. I came across this salad at a local Armenian store and tired making it myself. I searched a lot of sites and came up with this recipe. It's really quite easy and very yummy.

                                                    EECH (ARMENIAN SIDE DISH)

                                                    1 onion, chopped
                                                    1/2 c. oil
                                                    1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
                                                    1 can water
                                                    2-3 lemons
                                                    Salt, pepper, paprika
                                                    1 c. (#1) fine "bulgur" (cracked wheat)
                                                    1 red pepper, chopped
                                                    1 green pepper, chopped

                                                    Saute chopped peppers, chopped onion in 1/2 cup oil. Cook 1/2 hour. Add 1 can tomato sauce and 1 can water and juice of 2-3 lemons. Bring to a boil and add lots of paprika and black pepper. Add salt to taste (not necessary). Add 1 cup fine bulgur.

                                                    Turn off heat. Let set, covered, until all liquid is absorbed. Add chopped parsley and scallions and mix together when serving. Can eat warm or cold refrigerated.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. This is a really fabulous taboule salad (made with bulgur).

                                                      I also like these:
                                                      Toasted Barley Salad With Red Pepper and Corn (from Bon Appétit) http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Toas...

                                                      Anna Olson's Wheat Berry Vegetable Salad

                                                      I also love salads with Israeli couscous!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. Wheat Berry Salad is a long running staple for me in the summer, and it works nicely not only as a side dish, but as a vegetarian entree for ones who shun my chicken ;-) I got it from Gourmet, but it was so long ago, i don't think it's on EPI.

                                                        While the wheat berries are cooking, mash some garlic w/ salt til it forms a paste. Put it in the bottom of your serving bowl along w/ balsamic vinegar and drizzle/whisk in olive oil to get a vinaigrette. Drain the cooked wb's, add to bowl (it's important to do this while the wb's are still warm to soak in the flavor.

                                                        Add to this, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh corn cut off the cob (better if you let large slabs of kernals stick together), red onions or scallions or both, mint and cilantro and cubed mozzerella.

                                                        Even "traditional eaters" tend to like this salad and it keeps well.

                                                        1. White and Wild Rice Pilaf Salad: Cook 1/2 cup wild rice. Set aside. In a large saucepan, sauté 4 sliced green onions and 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms in 2 TBS canola oil with 1/4 tsp salt until tender and slightly browned, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup white long-grain rice and 1 cup water to the same sauce pan and simmer until rice is tender. Remove from heat.

                                                          Dressing: 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tsp prepared mustard, 1-1/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp thyme leaves, 1/4 tsp black pepper. Toss wild and white rice, 1/2 cup pecans (or unsalted peanuts or toasted almonds -- I like peanuts best), 1/2 pound seedless green grapes in dressing. Serve over thinly sliced avocado wedges if you got ‘em. Garnish with additional (uncooked) sliced green onions.

                                                          Throw in some ham and/or cooked chicken for a complete meal.

                                                          My next door neighbors are getting married next month and she goes in for knee surgery a week later. (Hey, we're all old here -- our idea of heart-pounding romance is having someone to pick up our prescriptions for us when we're sick.) Since they already own two of everything, my gift is going to be three dinners to be delivered to their door during the recovery period. This is going to be one of them; thanks for the idea!!

                                                          1. One of my favorite dishes to eat in the summer is a farro salad. I cook the farro (500g) in broth, drain, and mix with 1 minced red pepper, a minced shallot or two, a large handful of chopped parsley, 1/4 - 1/2 cup of good olive oil, salt, and pepper. It's simple, but very tasty.