29 Whole-Grain Salads
Make whole-grain salads in advance, chill, and enjoy for easy, quick-to-serve lunches and dinners.
With their nutty taste, mild flavor, and irresistible chewy texture, whole grains are a fitting canvas for salads because they harmonize with the bright, fresh flavors we enjoy most.
Start with recipes with lots of herbs and vegetables, like this bulgur salad, as a basis for customizing your own grain salad. Stir in leftover chicken or shrimp to vary the flavor if you prefer.
Great with grilled chicken, lamb, or salmon, this side-dish salad also packs well for a picnic. Almost any fruit would work well in place of nectarines–try apricots, peaches, or figs.
Dark sesame oil and chopped fresh cilantro lends Asian flair to this delicious rice salad. Cook the brown rice in plenty of water so it won't be sticky.
Blood orange and kumquats work in perfect harmony with quinoa. Beets, avocado, and fresh cilantro add an extra dosage of flavors and textures to this citrusy salad.
Reader Mary Beth Howard created this top-rated recipe in the midst of updating her cooking style to include healthier ingredients. Sliced olives and fresh lime juice provide this grain salad its namesake flavors.
Quick-cooking couscous is now even better since it's available in a whole wheat version. Fresh sage gives this side dish an earthy taste and aroma. You can use other fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, or mint instead. To make this an entrée, add a little feta cheese, water-packed tuna, or shredded cooked chicken.
Whole-grain wheat berries are chewy, mild, and packed with healthy fiber. Dressing the hot wheat berries in a homemade spicy-sweet vinaigrette and letting stand for 20 minutes infuses them with intense flavor.
Millet is a popular grain in Asia and Africa in which pan roasting brings out its nutty character. This is a great make-ahead recipe since the millet will continue to absorb flavor as it sits. However if you make this salad a day ahead, stir in the avocado just before serving.
Toasting the barley before it boils brings out nutty flavor. Be sure to also press and drain the tofu in order to help it take on flavors more readily and improve its cooked texture.
Fresh favas are an early-summer treat that disappear pretty quickly. Take advantage with this hearty salad that packs in all sorts of nutritious elements―from the whole-grain power of spelt to vitamin-rich dried currants and tomatoes.
Make this salad with any whole grain, including wheat berries or barley. Vary the chopped vegetables too, if you like. But don't change one iota of the simply luscious vinaigrette made with orange juice and champagne vinegar; it makes this salad burst with flavor.
Dried fruit and chickpeas turn a traditional summer tabbouleh into a salad meal. Additionally, a generous serving has about 15 grams of fiber—more than half of your daily requirement.
Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. Edamame makes a tasty substitute for lima beans in this recipe. For an attractive presentation, serve the salad on a bed of baby greens or spinach.
This Indian-inspired dish features quinoa, a high-protein grain that cooks relatively quickly. We like the heat that Madras curry powder brings, but use regular curry powder if you prefer.
Farro is an ancient grain from Tuscany available at Mediterranean and specialty foods stores. Substitute wheat berries or spelt, but cook them a little longer than the farro.
This is a nice side dish with roast chicken or pork. Save leftovers for lunch; with pearl barley and beans, it’s hearty and filling, perfect for a take-along meal.
Inspired by friends who adore Mexican flavors, Christine Datian decided to reinvent traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh with Southwestern spices. After substituting cilantro for parsley and adding peppers, cumin, and chili powder, she knew she had a unique dish that was quick and easy to throw together. "If you're working, you can do a lot of prep before, when you do have time," she says. Datian recommends buying prechopped vegetables from the grocery store for a fast weeknight meal. If necessary, you can even soak the bulgur overnight.
Taking a cue from traditional tabbouleh, this dish uses lots of peak-season vegetables, tart lemon juice, and pungent fresh herbs. Serve with toasted pita wedges.
Dress up a Greek salad by adding barley to the cucumber, tomato, feta, and kalamata olives. The addition of chicken makes this a one-dish meal that’s high in fiber and also a source of vitamins A and C.
Quinoa [KEEN-wah] is a quick-cooking whole grain, supplying protein, iron, and vitamin E. Pair this side dish with simple grilled chicken or fish. For a vegetarian entrée option, use organic vegetable broth and add one (15 1/2-ounce) can of rinsed, drained chickpeas to ramp up the protein.
This side-dish salad combines several influences: The dates and orange are an Israeli touch; the pecans pay homage to the American South; and the quinoa is a high-protein grain from South America.
Good news, whole-grain shoppers! Precooked farro is popping up in both the grain aisle and the frozen-foods section of many supermarkets. Alternatively, you can cook up a batch of unpearled farro in about 45 minutes— it keeps, refrigerated, for up to 1 week and freezes beautifully.
This salad is all about crunch, with toasted walnuts, crisp apple, and celery. Look for wheat berries in the grain or bulk section of your supermarket. Save your celery leaves for a beautiful and delicious garnish.