Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

4.67 from 3 votes

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Farro, or whatever grain you choose, mixed with a whole bunch of colorful vegetables and herbs results in a salad with plenty of texture and chew.

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

This is a very vegetable-forward grain salad, which is how I like to make them. Whole grain salads can be a bit heavy, especially if you are using spelt, 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 ratio of grains to greens.

The amounts suggested? Mere suggestions. Play around with proportions, vegetables, and grains. ‘Tis but a boilerplate recipe.

This is a vegetarian salad and can stand on its own as a main course, but it also makes a great summer side. It’s perfect with simple grilled proteins like ribeye steaks, grilled rib lamb chops, cauliflower steaks, or salmon.

Small plate of Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad.

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad: Farro, or whatever grain you choose, mixed with a whole bunch of colorful vegetables and herbs results in a salad with plenty of texture and chew.

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What Type of Whole Grain to Use in Grain Salad

You can use absolutely any cooked whole grain 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. You can also make this into a mixed grain salad.

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.

Plate of Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad with farro.

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad Ingredients

  • FarroCook the farro before adding it to the salad. You can also use barley, spelt, or your favorite whole grain.
  • TomatoesGrape tomatoes are perfect. If you can find them, yellow grape tomatoes add color to the mix. Cherry tomatoes are another option.
  • Summer squash or zucchini
  • Arugula – I love the peppery bite of arugula in earthy grain salads.
  • Scallions – Adds color and oniony crunch.
  • Rice vinegar – Sub in whatever vinegar you like; I like the softness of unseasoned rice vinegar in this recipe.
  • Basil – The fresh herb is a great finishing touch. Make sure to chiffonade (slice into thin slivers) the basil.

Variations

  • I also used green and yellow pattypan squash in this recipe because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use any small, firm summer squash or zucchini. Sometimes, people don’t realize you can eat summer squash uncooked, but it’s great to use raw in salads and other recipes. Make sure it’s not too mature or large, as then it might have a slightly mealy or watery texture.
  • You can also sub in diced tomatoes for the smaller cherry or grape tomatoes. Try other fresh herbs in place of the basil.
  • Try spinach instead of the arugula if you like a milder flavor.
  • Use whatever whole grain strikes your fancy!
  • This can also be a boilerplate recipe for grain salads during other times of the year. Try roasted root vegetables in the winter, asparagus and sugar snap peas in the spring, and so on.
Two spoon tossing a Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad.

How to Make Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

  1. Combine the grain and vegetables: In a large bowl, combine the cooked farro (or barley), grape tomatoes, summer squash, and arugula.
  2. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the scallions, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss and serve: Pour the dressing over the salad, add the basil leaves, and gently toss until everything is well combined. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Make Ahead Grain Salad

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.

What to Serve With Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad piled with farro, squash, and tomatoes.

More Whole Grain Salad Recipes

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4.67 from 3 votes

Summer Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad

Farro, or whatever grain you choose, mixed with a whole bunch of colorful vegetables and herbs results in a salad with plenty of texture and chew.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 People
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup cooked farro (or barley)
  • 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 salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup slivered torn fresh basil leaves

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine the farro (or barley), grape tomatoes, summer squash, and arugula.
  • In a small bowl, combine the scallions, rice vinegar, olive oil, 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.

Notes

  • I also used green and yellow pattypan squash in this recipe because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use any small, firm summer squash or zucchini. Sometimes, people don’t realize you can eat summer squash uncooked, but it’s great to use raw in salads and other recipes. Make sure it’s not too mature or large, as then it might have a slightly mealy or watery texture.
  • You can also sub in diced tomatoes for the smaller cherry or grape tomatoes. Try other fresh herbs in place of the basil.
  • Try spinach instead of the arugula if you like a milder flavor.
  • Use whatever whole grain strikes your fancy!

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 7mg, Potassium: 218mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 639IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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1 Comment

  1. ck says:

    Whole grains are a fantastic choice for grain salads due to their rich nutrient profile and hearty texture