Glorious Grain Salad Recipe With Lemon Herb Dressing: Quinoa, Orzo, Pasta? (You Decide) by Jan Mostrom

Glorious Grain Salad Recipe With Lemon Herb Dressing: Quinoa, Orzo, Pasta? (You Decide)

As I get more comfortable cooking new recipes almost daily, I'm learning that its really OK to improvise and be flexible. Sometimes a recipe calls for something I just don't have in my kitchen, so if I'm going to make it I have two choices: go back to the grocery (again!) or just make something I already have work. I most often choose the latter because I've most likely been to the grocery several times this week and/or I've already asked my amazing neighbors to borrow something already!

This grain salad recipe I found called for orzo and I didn't have any, and I didn't have enough basil, so I just looked in my kitchen and made up a version I really like. And you can do that, too! I absolutely love avocados so if I have a ripe one available I add it to almost anything. Just give yourself permission to experiment and find flavor combinations that please you and your family!

This easy vegetarian recipe calls for a grain, Persian or English cucumbers (they are much better than regular ones if you can get them) and cherry tomatoes. For the lemon herb dressing you'll need good olive oil (again, it makes a difference), fresh herbs, garlic, one lemon, salt and black pepper. There are a host of optional ingredients listed below, so be inspired and see what you have to add to your dish tonight.

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup dry quinoa (uncooked) or another grain like orzo or pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, peeled and quartered (about 2 cups) or use English cucumbers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful of baby arugula or baby spinach (optional)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks (optional)
  • goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles (optional)
  • pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (optional)
  • lemon herb dressing

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Prepare lemon herb salad dressing.
  2. In a medium serving bowl place your grain, add cucumbers, tomatoes, greens and all optional ingredients you are choosing except for the cheese crumbles.
  3. Top with dressing and mix gently to combine.
  4. Divide the dish into serving bowls and top with cheese crumbles and herbs, if desired.

Note: If you are choosing a pasta other than orzo, you'll need to cook 2 to 3 cups.

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Orzo $2 & Up
Quinoa $3 & Up
Pasta $1 & Up
Elisa Schmitz
I love your creativity in the kitchen, Jan Mostrom . There isn’t a recipe of yours that I don’t just love!
Jan Mostrom
Elisa Schmitz you know I love using up things in my kitchen! Thank you!

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