My Go-To Grain Salad


Whenever I go out to eat, I always look at the salad selection first to see if the chef has bothered to come up with something inventive. For me, a great salad is at the top of my list of dinner favorites. Now I’m not interested in some wilted green house salad drenched in ranch. I want a salad with a variety of textures and flavors, briny elements like olives, and cooked elements like sautéed mushrooms. If it’s my main entreé, I need some carbs in the mix to keep from getting hungry again in an hour or two. I either add in roasted root vegetables, or cooked grains, like quinoa or pasta.

Hearty salads are also great for lunch, but because lettuce often wilts, I usually skip it and just make variations of my go-to grain salad recipe. Grain salads are convenient, as you can prep a big batch on Sunday and eat off it throughout the week.

Below is my standard recipe along with a couple flavor variations to spice things up.

quinoa 2


My Go-To Grain Salad:
(serves 4ish)

– 2 cups of quinoa, or your favorite grain, cooked according to the package and cooled
– 1 cup chopped bell pepper
– 1/2 cucumber chopped – with the seeds scraped out
– 1/2 cup chopped red onion chopped
– 2 cloves minced garlic
– 2 tsp. olive oil
– A couple shakes of your favorite vinegar, I use rice wine vinegar or apple cider
– Squeeze of half a lemon
– Salt to taste
– Pepper to taste

– Any other veggies you have in your fridge: mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, avocado, etc.
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, and/or other fresh herbs. Mint or cilantro are good additions
– Red pepper flakes for heat

Mix everything together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Yes, it’s that easy!

Moroccan variation:
– 1 tsp. cinnamon
– 1 tsp. cumin
– 1/2 tsp. ginger
– 1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots
– 1/4 cup chopped mint

Asian variation:
– 1/2 cup toasted almond, slivered or sliced
– 1 cup shredded red cabbage
– 1/2 cup cooked edamame
– 1 tsp. sesame oil
– 1 tbsp. soy sauce
– 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger


Here are the ingredients I used for this week’s batch. As you can see, I had some parsley and an avocado lying around, so I threw them in.


What’s your go to salad? Are there salads you never make, but always order at restaurants? I love chopped salads, but am often too lazy to do all that work!


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