Grain Salad with Asparagus-and-Parmesan

Grain Salad with Asparagus and Parmesan

With harvest in full swing it is a great time to learn more about cooking with grains. The following recipe gives you a bunch of healthy and fibre-filled options to get creative with. Try it a few ways and see which you like best.



Grain of choice – one of:

  • ½ cup hulled barley (1-1/2 cups water, cook 45-60 minutes)
  • ½ cup buckwheat  (1 cup water, cook 20 minutes)
  • ½ cup wild rice (1-1/2 cups water, cook 45-55 minutes)
  •  ½ cup spelt or wheat berries (soak overnight in 2 cups water, cook 45-60 minutes)
  • ½ cup long-grain brown rice (1-1/4 cup water, 45-55 minutes)

Other ingredients


  • 3/4 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt to taste


  1. Prepare the grain as directed on the package or per the guideline above. Generally, fill a large pot with lightly salted water, stir in the grain and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender (to cooking time noted above). Allow the grain to cool.
  2. Prepare an ice bath: Fill a medium/large mixing bowl 1/4 full of  ice, top with cold water until bowl is 2/3 full.
  3. Prepare the asparagus: To boil: bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus, and cook uncovered until tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain in a colander. To steam: steam 2-3 minutes.  Once removed from heat and drained, immediately immerse in ice water bath for several minutes until cold, to stop the cooking process. Once the asparagus is cold, drain well, and chop to 1” pieces.Set aside.
  4. Place the grain, asparagus, tomatoes, walnuts, cranberries parsley, and chives in a large bowl. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper over top (or use ¼ cup prepared balsamic vinaigrette).
  5. Toss all with 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to serve. Serve at room temperature.

PREP 20 min

COOK 50 min

Troubleshooting grains:

If the grain is not as tender as you like when “time is up” simply add a little more water and continue cooking. Or, if the grain seems cooked before all of the liquid is absorbed, just drain the excess.


Nutritional Grid - Grain salad with asparagus

Calories (kcal) 280 Protein (g) 10
Carbohydrates (g) 30 Fat (g) 15
Fibre (g) 4