10 Easy Whole Grain Salad Recipes

Quick Tips and Types of Grain to Use in Grain Salads Ever wonder what else you can do with your newly bought or leftover grains? As they are mostly bland in taste, they can easily …

whole grain salad recipes

Quick Tips and Types of Grain to Use in Grain Salads

Ever wonder what else you can do with your newly bought or leftover grains? As they are mostly bland in taste, they can easily be mixed up altogether to create a whole new dish, which you and your food buddy will surely love! 

In this article, I have listed easy grain salad recipes that you can try at home.

This collection of refined and whole grain salad recipes are easy to make with options of adding herbs and vegetables, plus their nutty and earthy flavor will also give an extra layer of texture. You can also add personal touches to blend some flavor that can fully satiate your palate. 

This recipe also covers 10 different types of grains you can use.

healthy salad

1. Kale Quinoa Salad (By the Mom 100)

With the tiny bead shapes and nutty flavor of Quinoa, it gives a better taste when paired with the soft texture of kale. Kale, being a nutrient-dense vegetable, is best to pair up with quinoa, when cooked. See recipe details below.

Key Details of the Recipe:

Yield:6 People
Prep & Cooking Time:Around 45 minutes
Flavor & Texture:Soft, with grainy and sweet & sour flavor
Ease:Beginner to Intermediate
What you Need:Quinoa, Kale, Dressing, Herbs, Other Fruits / Veggies, Seasoning

Ingredients and Instructions:

Cooking the Grain (Quinoa)

Cooking the Grain (Quinoa)

  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups baby kale roughly chopped
  1. Heat 1 cup of water into a medium-sized pot.
  2. When it boils, put ½ teaspoon salt and stir in the quinoa.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes, covered until all water is absorbed.
  4. Add in the Kale which will wilt together with the quinoa.
  5. Cool them down into a separate bowl.

Making the Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Just simply mix these wet and dry ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust as needed.

Making the Grains Salad

  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots or dried pears
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  1. Ensure that the cooked quinoa and kale have cooled down. In your salad bowl, put in your quinoa and kale, and add the dried apricots (or you can opt for another fruit or veggie).
  2. Add the scallions, fresh oregano and cheese.
  3. Pour in the dressing all over the salad with grains and mix well.

2. Toasted Farro Salad with Mixed Fruits (By myrecipes.com)

Farro is unique for its nutty and chewy texture. More so, you’ll greatly love it when toasted as it gives another flavor you’ll surely enjoy. This grain salad will let you experience the other side of Farro.

Key Details of the Recipe:

Yield:4 Servings
Prep & Cooking Time:25 minutes
Flavor & Texture:Nutty and fruity flavor
What you Need:Farro, Fruits, Dressing, Herbs, Seasoning

Ingredients and Instructions:

  • 1 cup uncooked Farro Optional: Crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups cubed fresh seedless watermelon
  • 2 medium diced peaches
  • ½ cup chopped mint
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Cooking the Grain (Farro)

  1. Spread the Farro in your baking pan and put it in a 375° preheated oven.
  2. Leave for 10-12 minutes until you smell it being toasted and slightly cooked.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil and add the toasted farro.
  4. Leave for about 10-12 minutes until completely cooked, and then drain immediately.

Making the Farro Salad

  1. Cool down the boiled farro and transfer it to your salad bowl together with the other ingredients.
  2. Add in the fruits, (you can use other fruits but this recipe used watermelon and peaches)
  3. Add the finely chopped herbs.
  4. Wet everything with a mixture of lime juice, olive oil and vinegar.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste then adjust accordingly. Add feta cheese (optional).
  6. Mix and serve.

3. Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad (By The Mom 100)

With barley as its main ingredient, you will be having a super meal packed with fiber, protein and B Vitamins plus other nutrients from the vegetables you will be mixing with. This grain salad has an estimated nutritional content of 2g of protein and 12 mg of Vitamin C. Check out this recipe below.

Key Details of the Recipe:

Yield:6 people
Prep & Cooking Time:30 minutes
Flavor & Texture:Chewy flavor with a crunch
What you Need:Barley, Vegetables, Dressing, Herbs, Seasoning

Ingredients and Instructions:

  • 1 cup cooked barley or farro
  • 1 ½ cups halved yellow grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup thinly sliced summer squash green or yellow or a combination
  • 8 scallions minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Cook your barley or farro, the usual way (1 cup of grain mixed with 1 cup of boiling water).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the grain and vegetable ingredients.
  3. Mix them all together with the olive oil and vinegar dressing.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust accordingly.
  5. Mix well and serve.

4. Whole-Grain Spelt Salad with Leeks and Marinated Mushrooms(By seriouseats.com)

If you’re looking for a whole grain salad (which is healthier), this recipe is for you. Spelt is hearty and toasty, which makes it better for pairing with brighter flavors. This recipe will give you 3g of protein and 11g of carbs.

Key Details of the Recipe:

Yield:4-6 Servings
Prep & Cooking Time:35 minutes
Flavor & Texture:Has a pop of tartness
What you Need:Spelt, aromatic vegetables, oil & vinegar, herbs

Ingredients and Instructions:

  • 6 cups cooked whole-grain spelt (from about 24 ounces dry)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound diced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 large (12-ounce) diced leeks
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • Espelette pepper powder, for garnish (optional)
  1. Sauté the mushrooms, with leek, garlic and thyme.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer until mushrooms are tender.
  4. When cool, transfer them to a large bowl and stir in ¼ cup of cider vinegar.
  5. In a separate bowl, add in the spelt, cucumbers and the mushroom-leek mixture.
  6. Stir in 6 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, parley, and chives,
  7. and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Spoon salad into bowls and sprinkle with espelette pepper

5. Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Tomato, and Herbs(By seriouseats.com)

Looking for a salad recipe with easy-to-find ingredients? This one’s for you. With 14g of carbs and 3g of protein, this will all be enough if you want a single light meal for lunch or dinner. 

Key Details of the Recipe:

Yield:4-6 Servings
Prep & Cooking Time:40 minutes
Flavor & Texture:Nutty and watery taste
What you Need:Quinoa, Cucumber, Tomato, Herbs, 

Ingredients and Instructions:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 pint of sliced tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt & Pepper
  • 2 small minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  1. Boil quinoa in a small saucepan, until cooked or water is absorbed.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Combine the cooked quinoa, sliced cucumber and tomatoes, shallots, parsley and mints leaves and pour in your olive oil and vinegar.
  4. Mix and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Adjust according to your preferred taste and serve.

6. Spring Grain Salad with Asparagus & Meyer Lemon(By thekitchn.com)

This recipe gives you a tangy taste and crunchy texture if you want to serve something new and unique grain salad to your guests, or even to yourself. This is a vegetarian, peanut-free, pork-free recipe with high in fiber and best for sugar-conscious eaters.

Key Details of the Recipe:

Yield:6-8 as a side dish
Prep & Cooking Time:About 40 minutes
Flavor & Texture:Tangy and crunchy
Ease:Beginner to Intermediate
What you Need:Spring grains (farro, couscous), lemon, salt & pepper, almonds, goat cheese

Ingredients and Instructions:

  • 8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) pearled farro
  • 8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) pearl (Israeli) couscous or Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend
  • 2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil, optional
  • Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Boil water with salt and cook the farro.
  2. On a separate saucepan, do the same for couscous. Set both aside to cool.
  3. Zest the lemons over the grains and stir to combine.
  4. Sauté asparagus over medium-high heat and cook until crisp-tender.
  5. Mix the cooled grains and the sautéed asparagus and add in the almonds and goat cheese.
  6. Whisk the Meyer lemon juice with 1/4 cup olive oil and the walnut oil.
  7. Pour over the grain salad and toss, along with salt and pepper to taste.


There are still a lot of ways of combining your grains and vegetables to make a whole new salad you haven’t tried before. The key factor here is to bring out the creativity in you—and you’ll surely get by. 

More grain salad recipes await you, check out this article: Flavorful Salads with Grains