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.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit many specific dietary requirements.
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Healthy Grain Salad
- 180 g brown rice (1 cup)
- 150 g puy (French) lentils (¾ cup)
- 1 red onion -peeled, halved and sliced
- 30 g pumpkin seeds (¼ cup) toasted
- 25 g flaked almonds (¼ cup) toasted
- 35 g pine nuts (¼ cup) toasted
- 45 g currants (½ cup)
- 3 tbsp capers -drained
- 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves -washed and picked off the stems
- ½ bunch fresh parsley leaves -finely chopped
- 1 lemon -juice and zest one
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil -extra virgin
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper -to taste
Yoghurt and tahini sauce
- 250 g full-fat natural yoghurt (1 cup)
- 1 tbsp hulled tahini
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Cook the rice and lentils (* links to cooking instructions for each below).
- Allow to cool and place in a salad bowl. Add the onion, nuts, seeds, currants, capers, coriander and parsley. Toss together until well combined.
- 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.
- Prior to serving, dress the salad and toss well to coat the grains.
- Serve with the yoghurt in a small side dish or jug.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
More vegetablesFeel free to add extra vegetables such as grated carrot, slices of radish or cherry tomatoes would work well.
Dairy-free and veganServe with hummus or sub the yoghurt for coconut yoghurt.
Grain-freeSubstitute the rice with quinoa. I do this version often though I think the brown rice adds a nice crunchy texture.
Onion-freeReplace the onion with 5 sliced radish.
Legume-freeSubstitute the lentils with quinoa.
Nut-freeReplace 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 furtherAdd mixed leaves to the salad (spinach, rocket or lettuce) and a little more dressing. *Rice and lentil cooking instructions here and here
TipIf 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. For lots more sides and salad inspo, take a look at my hugely popular ebook ˜Well Nourished Sides and Salads’- where vegetables become the hero of the dish! It’s great value at just $9.95, click HERE to take a look.
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.