Build-Your-Own Grain Salad

Build-Your-Own Grain Salad | ChopChop


This is the kind of use-what-you’ve-got approach to cooking that we love best. Start with some cooked grain or pasta—and then build a main-dish salad from whatever ingredients you have on hand. You’ve got grapes but no dried fruit? Use them. Broccoli leftover from last night’s dinner? Toss it in. The only rule is to taste as you go so you’ll learn what you like.

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes: 5 Servings

Kitchen Gear: 

Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Measuring cup
Large bowl
Mixing spoon


2 cups
cooked grain or pasta (brown rice, barley, farro, quinoa, bulgar wheat, whole-wheat orzo)
1⁄4 cup
dressing (herby vinaigrette or your favorite vinaigrette or a mix of oil and vinegar) or any herb pesto
2 cups
vegetables (any combination of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, or zucchini, or green beans, corn, peas, or canned peas)
1⁄2 cup
protein (diced mozzarella, cheddar, or monterey jack cheese, or leftover diced cooked chicken, meat, fish, or tofu)
1 cup
coarsely chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley, chives, cilantro, or a combination)
1⁄4 cup
lightly toasted seeds or nuts
1⁄4 cup
dried fruit (raisins, currants, or cherries or chopped dried apricots, prunes, dates, or figs)


  1.  Put all the ingredients in the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and add more dressing or a pinch of salt if the flavor needs a boost.
  2.  Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.