39 Whole-Grain Salads
Healthy, Hearty Whole-Grain Salads
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.
Kale Caesar Quinoa Salad with Roasted Chicken
We skip the croutons and add toasted walnuts for a bit of heart-healthy crunch.
Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Steak
We love the chipotle-rubbed sirloin, but this salad is a wonderful use for any leftover steak.
Roasted Carrot, Chicken, and Grape Quinoa Bowl
Caramelized carrots and fresh, juicy grapes lend a welcome sweetness to this quinoa.
Black Bean-Quinoa Salad with Basil-Lemon Dressing
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.
Colorful Quick Quinoa Grecian Salad
This quinoa salad recipe makes a hefty 10 cups and holds up beautifully for a day or two—making it the perfect dish for a block party, picnic, or family reunion. You’ll love the fresh flavor from lemon and mint, plus the addictive crunch of bell pepper and cucumber. We call for cooking the quinoa in chicken broth to add more flavor and depth, but you can use vegetable stock to make the dish vegetarian.
Cracked Wheat Salad with Nectarines, Parsley, and Pistachios
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.
Sesame Brown Rice Salad with Shredded Chicken and Peanuts
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.
Beet, Blood Orange, Kumquat, and Quinoa Salad
This salad is simply stunning—a beautiful combination of colors, textures, and flavors. Avocado adds richness and creaminess, blood orange and kumquats offer up their bright citrusy goodness, and beets bring earthy sweetness to the mix. To ensure the beets don’t discolor the whole salad, opt for golden beets or Chioggia (candy cane) beets. To cook them quickly, wrap unpeeled beets in microwave-safe parchment paper, and microwave on HIGH for 5 to 8 minutes; when cool enough to handle, rub off peels. When kumquats aren’t in season, just toss in more orange sections.
Tart & Tangy Bulgur 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.
Toasted Barley, Green Bean, and Shiitake Salad with Tofu
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.
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.
Wheat Berry Salad with Raisins and Pistachios
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.
Cashew Chicken Wheat Berry Salad with Peas
The thigh meat lends an especially moist, rich flavor, but you can use any leftover chicken.
Millet Salad with Sweet Corn and Avocado
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.
Southwestern Confetti Salad
A plethora of summer vegetables gives this healthy brown rice salad fresh flavor.
Spelt Salad with Fava Beans
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.
Rye Berry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
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.
Summer Barley Salad
Serve this colorful, budget-friendly summer salad with buttery lemon green beans. A sprinkle of feta cheese at the end adds salty, tangy flavor.
Overnight Bulgur Bowls
Combine 1 cup uncooked bulgur and 1½ cups 1% low-fat milk in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Fluff grains; then top and toss with one of our two tasty combos, ready in a snap.
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.
Asian Stir-Fry Quinoa Bowl
Sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and sliced napa cabbage give this stir-fry vibrant Asian flavor.
Bulgur, Mint, and Parsley Salad
Light, herby, and vibrantly flavored, this salad makes a fine addition to a meze spread. Make up to two hours ahead so tastes can meld.
Curried Quinoa Salad with Cucumber-Mint Raita
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.
Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Farro
Whole-grain farro bulks up this hearty Mediterranean salad. If you like the crunch of fresh red onion but not the full pungency, give the slices a 30-second dip in ice water to tame the flavor; drain and toss in the salad.
Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Watercress, and Poppy Seed Dressing
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.
Mediterranean Barley Salad
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.
Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley
This whole-grain dish is filling and loaded with fresh herbs and savory artichoke.
Spicy Southwestern Tabbouleh
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.
Summer Pea, Watermelon, and Farro Salad
This unusual yet delicious combination of flavors makes a good substitute for traditional pasta salad at your next cookout.
Wheat Berry Salad with Goat Cheese
Taking a cue from traditional tabbouleh, this dish uses lots of peak-season vegetables, tart lemon juice, hearty whole grains and pungent fresh herbs. Serve with toasted pita wedges, this is a healthy weeknight side dish that serves beautifully with a protein of choice.
Greek Chicken and Barley Salad
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 and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto
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.
Smoked Salmon-Wheat Berry Salad with Caper-Yogurt Dressing
Thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon pairs perfectly with our refreshing, tangy dressing.
Tuna, Olive, and Wheat Berry Salad
Be sure to seek out a sustainable type of tuna. We like Wild Planet's wild albacore tuna in extra-virgin olive oil; a 5-ounce can, once drained, gives you the correct amount here.
Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Dates, and Orange
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.
Farro Salad with Creamy Feta
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.