Grain Salad is a hearty vegan recipe featuring millet, orange, carrots, and basil in a light Dijon mustard vinaigrette. And you can make this Mediterranean dish with any of your favorite grains such as freekeh, farro, or bulgur.
A lot of my friends think I subsist mainly on salads.
And while I admit I do eat a lot of salads, they rarely consist of big plates of lettuce.
These recipes don't contain a single leaf of lettuce!
Instead they are hearty, full of flavor, and very versatile.
And I think you're going to enjoy this Grain Salad with its delicious combination of tastes and textures.
Summer Grain Salad
This salad is a wonderful choice for warm weather or anytime you have leftover cooked grains in your refrigerator.
Simply combine the cooled grain with your favorite fruits and vegetables, pour on a tasty vinaigrette, and your salad is ready to eat!
You can use whatever type of grain you like best.
Some suggestions include the following:
- Amaranth (gluten-free)
- Millet (gluten-free)
- Quinoa (gluten-free)
- Wheat berries
Personally, I follow a gluten-free diet due to a sensitivity, so I chose to use millet in this ancient grain salad recipe.
But any of the above options work wonderfully in this dish.
How to make Grain Salad
This recipe is very easy to make.
But keep in mind you can customize this grain salad however you like:
- Choose a grain. Cook it and let it cool.
- Add some fruit, vegetables, and/or fresh herbs.
- Toss the ingredients a simple dressing.
For my salad, I chose millet, oranges, carrots, basil, and Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing.
First I like to segment the orange to remove the membrane.
Check out How to Segment and Orange for simple instructions with photos.
Next I use my food processor to shred the carrots.
You can also use a box grater or buy pre-grated carrots at the supermarket.
Finally I add the orange, carrots, and fresh basil to the cooked and cooled millet.
Shake the dressing ingredients in a small jar, pour over the salad, and toss well.
Enjoy right away or cover and refrigerate for later.
It's a great recipe to make in advance to enjoy for lunches or when you don't feel like making a hot dinner.
Serve it as a side dish
Besides enjoying a grain salad as a meal on its own, it's delicious served with a variety of other dishes.
And enjoying more whole grains is a nutritious part of a plant-based Mediterranean diet.
Grain Salad Recipe
If using millet, this grain salad takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, including cooking and cooling the grains. I have provided both Instant Pot pressure cooker and stove top cooking instructions.
And it makes about 4 servings.
However, as mentioned earlier, you can use whatever grains you like, including any leftovers you have in your refrigerator.
For other grain cooking times, sign up for the Insider list below and download the free grain cooking guide.
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Grain Salad with Orange, Carrots, and Basil
- 1 cup millet
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented, segments halved (zest reserved for the dressing)
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or cut in chiffonade
- Rinse and drain the millet.
To cook the millet in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker:
- Add the millet and 1 ¾ cups water to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place and cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
To cook the millet on the stove:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the millet. Lower the heat and cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Spread the cooked millet out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper (for easier clean up.) Allow the millet to cool for abut 15 minutes until room temperature.
- Place the cooled millet in a large salad bowl with the orange, carrots, and basil.
- Add the Dijon Mustard Dressing ingredients to a small jar or bowl and shake or whisk until well combined.
- Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss well to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for later.