Build-Your-Own Veggie and Grain Salad
Use this recipe as a handy framework to pull together quick meals using what you have on hand.  Stir in a cup or two of leftover chicken or pork--even garbanzo beans--to create a heartier meal. For those who enjoy a mixture of sweet and savory, a sprinkle of dried fruit (chopped apricots, cranberries, or cherries) and/or fresh fruit (apple, pear, or pomegranate seeds) provide complementary flavors.  A few pieces of crisp bacon crumbled overtop could make a salad lover out of anyone!

Yield: 3-4 servings


  • Approximately 3 cups cooked grain (from one cup dry quinoa, rice, millet, brown rice couscous, etc.)
  • 3 cups roasted vegetables (onions, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, butternut squash, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • 1-2 cups roughly chopped hearty greens (arugula, Tuscan or baby kale, spinach are good choices) or 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat or blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecan or walnuts) and/or seeds (sunflower or pumpkin)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic, apple cider or vinaigrette of choice (plus more to taste)


  1. For one large batch: Mix everything together, and drizzle with vinaigrette of choice.
  2. For smaller amounts: For every 1 cup of leftover grain and 1 cup of roasted vegetables, add 2 to 3 tablespoons each of cheese and nuts/seeds.  Drizzle with 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of your favorite dressing. Of course, you may certainly adjust the proportions to taste or based on the amount of specific ingredients you have on hand.
  3. To build other delicious grain-based salads when roasted vegetables aren’t readily available, consider the following options: Add a combination of chopped apple or pear, diced raw carrots and celery, dried cranberries, chopped nuts and/or seeds, and crumbled cheese.  Chopped cooked chicken, rinsed and drained garbanzo beans, or even leftover pork tenderloin are all complementary options that bump up the protein, too.
  4. You can also think in terms of ethnic cuisine.  For example, if in the mood for Mexican, add back beans, chopped red pepper, and corn.  Avocado is best added just before serving.  Red onion or sliced green onions add extra flavor to almost any grain-based salad.

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