Radish and Pecan Grain Salad

By • January 25, 2011 • 51 Comments

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Author Notes: When you write about food, you always have your "foodar" on, as you search for new ideas to write about. So at a recent holiday party at our friends' Rachel and Morgan's, where I was supposedly watching after my two little ones, my foodar went "BE-EP! BE-EP!" when I tasted a grain salad that was served along with delicious roasted turkey.

The salad was made with farro, wild rice, quinoa, and barley. The grains were threaded with pecans, raisins, and dried cranberries and the salad was brightened with bits of arugula, radishes, and a wash of sherry vinegar and walnut oil. It was the kind of salad that sounds like a starchy do-gooder, but it has grace and conviction, and you'll want to eat it every day for lunch. Andrew Burman and Matt Monahan, the chefs at Court Street Grocers, who were the caterers that evening, kindly shared the recipe with me.
Amanda Hesser

Serves 6 to 8 as a side

  • 2 cups mixed grains (like farro, freekeh, wheat berries, wild rice, and quinoa, pearl barley, or any combination of the above)
  • 1 cup baby arugula leaves
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup tarragon leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, cut in a chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup lime, watermelon, or French breakfast radishes, cut into thin slices, preferably using a mandoline
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the grains and cook until just tender, about 25 minutes. (With grains like wild rice and wheat berries, add them to the pot first and cook 10 minutes before adding remaining grains).
  2. Drain the grains into a colander, then set aside until warm to the touch.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Season with salt to taste.
Jump to Comments (51)

Comments (51) Questions (1)

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8 months ago CurioCook

I made this for my lunches this week -- so good! It seems so simple, but it is very tasty and satisfying. I didn't have sherry vinegar so used apple cider vin, and olive oil because they don't have anything more adventurous at our local grocery store… still worked well! I like a bit of local NZ sheep's milk feta on top. Yum yum!

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9 months ago tulip549

Great recipe. I made this for Superbowl Sunday- used farro and quinoa. I doubled the amount of arugula, added cilantro, sesame seeds, almonds, cranberries, radishes, and cashews, and my sauce consisted of olive oil, lemon juice, rice vinegar, honey, shallots, garlic, chile pepper and salt all blended together.

I made the farro and quinoa the night before and poured some dressing to let the flavors mingle. Would recommend tossing in the arugula and remainder of the greens an hour or so before you plan to serve such that the greens looks fresh and not wilted.

These sorts of grain salad recipes are great in the sense that you can improvise and throw in whatever you want! :D

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about 1 year ago Cynthea

I made this dish for a pot-luck birthday party. I used black rice, quinoa and wild rice for the grains to keep it GF. I was so delighted with the many flavors and nuances that I kept tasting it and worried that I might have to make another before I got it to the party! YUM! Thanks for sharing.

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over 1 year ago KatherineC

Can you recommend a whole fruit substitute for the dried cranberries/raisins? Also is it 1/2 pound or 1/2 cup pecans?

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over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Cherries, blueberries, or diced peach would be good. And I'm glad you asked about the pecans, I think that was a typo. Should be 1/2 cup.

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over 1 year ago KatherineC

Thanks! I stuck with the dried fruit and used a mixture of blueberries, cherries, raisins and cranberries. It was fun to use a variety of dried fruit. I made it gluten-free with wild rice, quinoa and buckwheat groats - it was delicious!

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over 1 year ago Chloe8

yum. Any substitute for walnut oil? Perhaps this oil makes the dish perfect?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

The walnut oil is a nice touch but there are a lot of other great flavors in this dish, so olive oil would be a perfectly fine substitute.

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over 1 year ago Josie Marsh

Simply fantastic. Glad to have a good use for my big tarragon plant and garden radishes, too!

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over 1 year ago Ceege

Oh yum. So good. I did a trial run of this dish as I would like to make it later for "guests". Using it as my side dish, what meat/poultry/fish would be best with this dish. Actually, if you have an actual recipe you use, please let me know and I will do a search for it. Thanks for a wonderful side dish (I love grains).

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Friends of mine always serve it with roast turkey. This time of year, I'd pair it with a grilled skirt steak or grilled chicken. Hope this is helpful!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

This is a fantastic salad. Based on the ingredients and comments I'd already decided to use it for a luncheon I'm hosting in June, but just tried it last night. I used wild rice and quinoa, raisins, dried cherries, mac nut oil, some basil and rosemary because that is what I had on hand. I know it will be even better with the mint and tarragon. Yum!

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

I know I've already confessed my love for this salad but will again. I just made a big bowl of it for a dinner party tonight. Since we're having roasted radishes, I skipped the radishes here and added lightly sautéed asparagus and goat's milk feta. Kept everything else exactly the same.

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over 1 year ago Jean Beck

My dad loved his radishes just dragged through a mound of salt. Sadly for me, the radish has always been a bit of a non-starter as I have encountered too many woody characters in my day. I promise to give them another shot this season though and this salad seems as though it has many enticing flavors. I look forward to adding the radish to my expanding vegetable favorites. Thanks for the recipe.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome, and hope it transforms your feelings about radishes!

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over 1 year ago Ceege

Yummy, can't wait to try this. I have been looking for more "grain" recipes and looks like I have another to add to my collection. Do I really need two kinds of oils (walnut & olive) for this recipe?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

No -- feel free to use whatever one you have on hand!

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

This is one of my favorite recipes on the site -- it's perfect as written and open to improvisation. It's a huge hit every time I make it. Glad to see the new James Ransom pic!

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over 1 year ago CathyL

I made this for a vegan dinner party and everyone (even the omnivores) loved it. There were beautiful French breakfast radishes, wild arugula and spearmint at the Union Square farmers' market; grains were a mix of Rancho Gordo red quinoa, pearl barley and wheat berries. Piled the salad on a bed of pea shoots. Delicious! It does make a lot, so I sent everyone home with some and will enjoy the rest for lunch today.

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over 1 year ago Tish

OMG!! Every bit of this menu sounds yummy. I'm going to serve the entire menu for my bunco group this month. Thanks Food52 for these very fresh recipes.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Let us know how it turns out -- happy bunco-ing!

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almost 2 years ago walrusgumbo

yum! i used barley and bulgar as my grains and omitted the mint and tarragon (did not have them on hand). also i subbed smoked almonds for the pecans. i served it with panko chicken cutlets with a kimchi relish and sweet potato molasses rolls with avocado butter. this was great for lunch the next day.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

yum!

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almost 2 years ago darksideofthespoon

I used wild rice, quinoa, barley and farro - baby Kale instead of arugula and doubled the cranberries in place of raisins. SO DELICIOUS. My new favorite salad.

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about 2 years ago Yessica

Hi!! I am in love with your website and really would like to try this recipe. A little confused on the ingredient list--1 cup lime, watermelon, or French breakfast radishes. What is it that I actually need?
this looks perfect for our next get together. Thank you so much for sharing :o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It means you can use any variety of radish that you like! Hope that helps -- and thanks for your kind words about the site. Let us know your thoughts on the recipe!

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over 1 year ago Yessica

Well, this recipe is on the regular rotation at my house. Everytime I make it there are no leftovers for next day. I have shared it withnothers and they only have great things to say. So glad I found you on the web. Every day I learn something new.

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over 2 years ago Mojolyn

A great and flexible salad. I've taken it to my family reunion 2 years in a row, to rave reviews. This time I used equal parts quinoa and wheat berries, and lots more arugula. It gets better after a few days.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

This was the first dish I cooked after recently having a baby and it totally hit the spot. I love the combination of flavors -- I'll be making variations of this salad all spring and summer long.

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over 2 years ago rpepper

I made this gluten-free, with 1 1/2 cups buckwheat groats (kasha) and 1/2 cup wild rice. I cooked the two grains separately; the kasha needs to be toasted and then cooks for only about 10 minutes. No walnut oil on hand, so I used a blend of olive and vegetable oil. It came out beautifully--great flavor!

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over 2 years ago Jennifer Ann

a perfect lunch! I am growing french breakfast radishes (and tarragon and parsley and mixed greens) in my attic garden - my first harvest is going straight into this recipe. cannot wait!

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almost 3 years ago Eating Local in the Lou

I cant wait to try this recipe- I just recently purchased farro and freekah in order to give them a try. This will be the perfect opportunity

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great -- let me know how you like it with freekah.

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almost 3 years ago Joni D

Looks fabulous. Can't wait to make it Saturday while watching the Pats! On to the Superbowl....I hope!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Your wish came true!

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almost 3 years ago Helen0408

okay, YUM! Just made this lovely, addictive salad. FYI - all other comments are accurate, this will serve alot of people! This is definitely going into my recipe rotation... and is there anything more beautiful than a watermelon radish slice?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for giving it a try!

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about 3 years ago babycook

OMG. I just tasted the salad (I made it for a dinner tonight) and it's AMAZING. I can't wait to serve it. Folks are going to go wild. I used a combo of quinoa, wild rice and bulghar. Yum!

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about 3 years ago jlsm

This salad has gone onto my "very best grain salad" list (a very select list of a half dozen). Just fantastic. I used hulled and pearled barley, wheatberries and black quinoa. I didn't use the raisins and I cut the nuts in half while toasting. Really, really good. In the two days since I've made it, I've already passed it along to two people.

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over 3 years ago bottomupfood

Top notch salad that is even better the next day. We've made it twice and marveled at it both times. Last time we used 1/2 wheat berries (because we're trying to get through a big purchase), 1/4 quinoa, and 1/4 wild rice. Last time we doubled the grains and the greens without incident; there's still enough dressing, so we would recommend it this way.

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over 3 years ago DessertByCandy

A great vegan sidedish that can be made ahead (just hold the arugula until last minute). Perfect for parties. I made it with wild rice, wheatberries, quinoa, and morello cherries. Toasting the pecan and marinating the shallot in vinegar also helped with a deeper flavour. Will make on a regular basis.

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over 3 years ago katenolan

I've made this salad for the first time today and can't stop eating it. It may not last to the dinner party tonight. Will give the leftovers to my ailing parents for a healthy and easy lunch! Thanks for sharing.

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over 3 years ago mbj913

I cooked the grains and tossed them with the vinaigrrette and dried cherries, planning on adding the othe ingredients before lunch the next day. It was so yummy we at it like that. I used brown rice, red quino and wild rice. Agree that it makes quite a bit. Turned leftovers into a riff on th quinoa cakes from Supernatural Every Day.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for the leftovers tip!

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over 3 years ago aussiefoodie

Although - one warning - this does make a lot! I think next time I would halve the recipe unless I was cooking for a crowd.

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over 3 years ago aussiefoodie

This salad was fantastic! I was looking for something to do with a small amount of wild rice that had been hanging around in my pantry and stumbled upon this recipe. I also had a number of radishes from my CSA in my fridge that I just wasn't sure what to do with. I used a combination of wild rice, Bulgar wheat and french green lentils. I did make a couple of substitutions for what I had - walnuts instead of pecans, avocado oil instead of walnut oil, swiss chard instead of arugula and dill instead of tarragon. But I love it when a fantastic dish comes together using up things that where lying around in my kitchen! Thanks for sharing - although it is Memorial Day, this dish makes me think a lot of Thanksgiving - withe the cranberries and wild rice that makes me think of stuffing.

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over 3 years ago Adri

I made this recently and everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad to hear it!

Mcs

over 3 years ago mcs3000

Just saved this recipe - looks amazing!

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over 3 years ago bofbox

I just made this over the weekend and it is great. I love salads with lots of ingredients that all work together. And it is really colorful and pretty, which always makes eating it more enjoyable.

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over 3 years ago teridawn

This is a fabulous salad. I've made it twice-both times making only half the recipe because there are only two of us eating. The salad lasts well and goes well with lots of foods-or as a snack! Thanks for posting it.