This is a very vegetable forward grain salad, which is how I like to make them. Grain salads can be a bit heavy, especially if you are using spelt, or farro or barley, which are pretty dense grains. I like the grains to be a little outnumbered by the vegetables—you still get plenty of texture and chew and all those great nutrients with a smaller ration of grains to greens. The amount suggested? Mere suggestions. Play around with proportions, and vegetables, and grains. “Tis but a boilerplate recipe.
You can use absolutely any cooked whole grain that you like here. It’s a great way to use up a small amount of leftover cooked grains, and a great reason to intentionally make some extra when you are preparing whole grains for another dish. Cooked whole grains keep for up to a week in the fridge, tightly covered, and add bulk, fiber and protein to all kinds of dishes, including salads like this one.
I have also used green and yellow pattypan squash in this recipe, because that’s what I had ton hand, but you can use any small firm summer squash or zucchini. Sometimes people don’t realize you can eat summer squash uncooked, but as long as its not too overgrown (which would make the texture mealy and the taste somewhat watery), it’s great to use raw in salads and other recipes. It makes a great vegetable to add to the platter when you are serving up dips, as well. And when it’s in season, it is usually very inexpensive, which is another bonus (or perhaps you grow it in your garden, and then you always need a new recipe for zucchini).
You can make this up to a day ahead of time, though the greens will wilt slightly. Or combine all of the vegetables, make the dressing, and keep them both separate until it is time to serve, then toss to combine. Double this salad if you are feeding a bigger crowd—it multiplies easily. If you like a tangier dressing bump up the amount of vinegar to 2 tablespoons.
Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad
- 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 (if your squash is more than 1 1/2 inches in diameter, halve it lengthwise before slicing.)
- 1 cup baby arugula
- 8 scallions minced
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup slivered torn fresh basil leaves
- In a large bowl combine the barley or farro, grape tomatoes, summer squash and arugula.
- In a small bowl combine the scallions rice vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, add the basil leaves and gently toss until everything is well combined. Serve cool or at room temperature.
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