+ Well Nourished | Healthy Grain Salads

Healthy Grain Salad

This substantial, healthy grain salad recipe is a great side dish or nutritious main meal.  When entertaining a large group it can be prepared ahead of time, and just assembled at the last minute.  Leftovers are also great for filling lunch boxes the next day.
So what’s so good about it?  The brown rice combined with the lentils forms a completely vegetarian source of protein.  The nuts and seeds also contribute protein and essential fats.  The coriander leaves and parsley leaves are a rich source of many vitamins and minerals including iron, as well as being great liver detoxifiers.  The lemon zest and juice is wonderful for your immune system and the yogurt and tahini dressing is a fantastic source of calcium.  For more information on the most nourishing grains to include in your diet, see here.
Best of all it tastes absolutely delicious!  I love making salads, especially those that are substantial and filling like this one.  I also really like that one batch, does us for at least two meals or more.

 Serves 10-12 (as a side) or 4-8 (as a meal)

1 cup (about 180 grams) of uncooked brown rice
¾ cup uncooked (about 150 grams) puy lentils
1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced
¼ cup pepitas toasted
¼ cup flaked or slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup pine nuts toasted
½ cup currants
3 tablespoons baby capers, drained
1 bunch coriander leaves (about 50 grams), washed and picked off the stems
½ bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped

Juice and zest one lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Yoghurt and tahini sauce
1 cup full fat natural or greek yogurt
1 tablespoon tahini
½ – 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Cook the rice and lentils (see how to do this here and here).  Allow to cool and place in a salad bowl.  Add the onion, nuts, seeds, currants, capers, coriander and parsley. Toss together until well combined.
  2. For the dressing, mix the oil, lemon juice, and zest together well.  For the yoghurt sauce, mix the ingredients together in a small serving bowl or jug.
  3. Prior to serving, dress the salad and toss well to coat the grains.  Serve with the yoghurt in a small side dish or jug.

More vegetables
Feel free to add extra vegetables such as grated carrot, slices of radish or cherry tomatoes would work well.

Dairy free
Serve with Hummus or just tahini.

Grain free
Substitute the rice with quinoa.  I do this version often though I think the brown rice adds a nice crunchy texture.

Nut free
Replace the pine nuts and almonds with sunflower and sesame seeds.

Make a meal of it

  • Add slices of lamb (I often make this when I have a little lamb left over from a roast, but not quite enough for a whole meal).  Also, add crumbled feta and mint leaves for a delicious Greek-inspired meal.
  • Add a fillet of grilled or barbecued salmon smeared with horseradish cream.  The capers in the salad work really well with fish.  Throw in a few dill leaves.
  • Add grilled chicken and slices of apple for a fresh, uplifting salad.

Make it go further
Add mixed leaves to the salad (spinach, rocket or lettuce) and a little more dressing.

If you plan on splitting it between meals, then leave some of the salad undressed and dress prior to serving.  It’s not the end of the world to store it if it has been dressed – just the nuts and seeds loose a little of their crunch.  It still tastes as good, though.

Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed. Did you put your own spin on it?  Share how you served it by adding a comment below.

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  • Lucy

    Made this for lunch and it was lovely! Thanks!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Lucy. It’s one of my favourites. G x

  • Rosanne O’Brien

    Made this for dinner tonight to go with some Salmon. Molly now loves salmon and enjoyed the salad as long as it was mixed with the salmon. Thanks Georgia x

    • Thanks for your feedback. That’s what I love about this salad. It can be a meal in itself or mixed with almost anything else, from cheese to lamb to fish. My kids love leftovers mixed with a can of tuna in the school lunch box. G x

  • Debbie

    Hi Georgia,
    Made this tonight- delicious! We all enjoyed it and I looking forward to having some more for lunch tomorrow!

    • Great Deb, really pleased it was a hit. You can even add a can of tuna or a couple of boiled eggs for your lunch if you need it to stretch. G x

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  • Kymelle

    Just made this for lunch and it was so delicious! Loved the combination of chewy rice, salty capers, crunchy nuts and seeds and tangy dressing. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow! I soaked the lentils before cooking and added finely chopped red capsicum and mint. Yum!!! Thanks for another fab recipe 🙂

    • You’re welcome Kymelle. It is a lovely combo of flavours and textures, glad you enjoyed it, G x

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