Pasta salads are so yesterday! Whole-grain salads with vinegar- or citrus-based dressings couldn’t be easier to make, and they’re a safer choice than pasta or potato salads with mayo-based dressings if you plan on bringing them to a picnic, potluck, or party where they’ll be sitting unchilled for hours.
You’ve probably seen farro, wheat berries, spelt, barley, bulgur, wild rice, or buckwheat in the bulk food bins at your local grocery. Most of these grains can be used interchangeably for each of the salad recipes featured here, so get creative! If you want to try a mixed grain salad, be sure to cook each grain separately, as cooking times and the amount of liquid needed vary.
Leftover grain salads make a wonderful workday lunch. Or try warming the salad and serving with grilled chicken or fish for a heartier meal.
Garden Farro Salad
Yield: 8 servings
2 cups farro
4 cups water
1/2 small jalapeno, seeded
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small cucumber, cut into rounds
2 green onions, sliced
1 roasted red bell pepper, from a 7-ounce jar, drained and sliced
1/2cup feta cheese, crumbled
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the farro and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, pulse to combine the jalapeno, cilantro, mint, parsley, and white wine vinegar. With the machine running, slowly incorporate the olive oil.
3. In a large bowl, combine the tomato, cucumber, green onion, and roasted red bell pepper. Add the farro and the dressing, toss, and sprinkle with the feta.
Brown and Wild Rice Salad with Tangerines and Pecans
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
3 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tangerines, peeled, sectioned, and pitted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup pecans, toasted
Zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch watercress
1. Combine the brown rice, wild rice, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Turn the rice out into a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the rice and mix well.
3. Add the tangerines, cranberries, green onions, and pecans, and toss gently.
4. Add watercress just before serving.
Curry Wheat Berry Salad
Yield: 6 servings
1 cup wheat berries
8 cups water
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup currants
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Sliced almonds to garnish
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the wheat berries and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer about 70 minutes or until tender. Cooked wheat berries are slightly chewy when done. Drain and cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled wheat berries, celery, carrot, green onion, and currants.
3. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, curry powder, garam masala and salt. Whisk in the olive oil.
4. Gently toss salad with the dressing. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
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