Best Summer Salad

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So, I’ve posted versions of this salad, but I’ve decided it’s SO versatile that I wanted to address that in one post.  It all started as a version of tabbouleh, which is a Mediterranean salad.  Although, most tabboulehs have too much parsley and I’m not a big parsley fan, so I took a little creative liberty with the herbs.  Basically this is a grain plus veggies and dressing.  I’ve been finding that any grain works well!  I’ve tried quinoa, kamut, spelt, as well as the more standard bulgar/cracked wheat.  I also think pasta would work great if you want a pasta salad.  Shown below with kamut.


  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups grain of choice, soaked (if needed), cooked, and cooled per grain instructions; [if using quinoa, use 1 cup; spelt and kamut 1 1/4 cups; pasta ~1 1/2 cups — all of these measurements are for dry & uncooked]
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and quartered lengthwise, then chopped in 1/4” slices
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered (or halved) lengthwise, then chopped in 1/4” slices
  • 1/4+ cup cilantro, chopped (can also use flat leaf parsley, or a combination of the two)
  • OPTIONAL, but strongly recommended if you can get some: 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (green parts only) or chives or red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Chill grain thoroughly, draining if there is any excess water. In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, veggies and herbs. In a glass measuring cup, combine garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and spices. Whisk well. Add dressing*** to other ingredients and stir until well combined. Chill until serving.

***CHEF’S NOTE*** If you are making this for kids, I often pull out some of the salad before adding the dressing for my daughter. She prefers the salad “naked.”


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