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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change.

Build-Your-Own Grain Salad

January is all about fiber so this month I wanted to not only highlight some of my favorite whole grains but also show you how to build your own grain salad. Grain salads are easy to make, versatile and can be enjoyed all year long!

Almost any grain can be used which will serve as your base. Depending on what you have available or whats 'in season' you can build upon this with finely chopped vegetables, colorful add-ins and then bind it all together with a little oil and vinegar or juice from your favorite citrus fruit.

Base + Vegetable + Oil & Acid + Colorful add-ins = a healthy, delicious nutrient-rich salad

**There are many options to choose from. Mix and match from the following table to create a grain salad that is very much your own**

Base options

Vegetable ideas

Oil & Acid combos

For depth and color…

Bulgur wheat


EVOO & vinegar

Feta cheese


Onions- red, white, yellow, or green

Sesame seed oil & rice vinegar

Fresh herbs- parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, mint

Brown rice


Hemp seed oil, honey & lemon

Protein- meat, beans, nuts, seeds

Barley (whole or pearled)


Olive oil & blood orange juice

Dried fruit

Whole wheat orzo


Olive oil, lemon & lime

Fresh fruit



Infused oils & vinegar

Garlic, ginger

*This is not an all-inclusive list.

Here are some examples that I think you will really enjoy

  1. Bulgur wheat + cucumbers & green onions + olive oil & lemon juice + parsley, mint & garlic
  2. Whole wheat orzo + tomatoes & cucumbers + hemp seed oil, honey & lemon + basil & feta cheese
  3. Wheat berries + scallions + slivered almonds + dried cranberries + olive oil & lemon + parsley

The flavor combinations are endless! You may even want to try themed salads such as Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican with ingredients unique to those cuisines. Keep track of your creations in a recipe book so you can enjoy them again in the future.

(Printable PDF Version)

To learn about bulgur wheat and how to make a traditional tabbouleh, check out my post, Bulgur Wheat: A Quick-Cooking (and delicious!) Whole Grain.

For more information on other whole grains, their health benefits and additional recipes, visit the Whole Grains Council website.

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