lemon grain salad with asparagus, almonds and goat cheese

July 7, 2010

Lunch. I look forward to it so much everyday but it can be hard to think up new, exciting and healthy options everyday. That’s why I love making a massive batch of something and having some everyday.

In the winter, it’s easy: soups and stews! You make a giant batch and have some one day with a green salad, the next with some bread and butter, and so on.

Summer is a wee bit different. The solution? Grain salads. The emphasis is on grains because in my opinion there’s no easier way to beef (ahem) up a salad and make it properly filling than by adding in a magical grain. Beans and other legumes work too, of course but I’m sticking to grains here.

And no, I’m sorry, but lettuce, avocado and tomato a filling lunch does not make!

Here is an option that you can make ahead at the start of the week without fear of wilting or any other such nonsense.

Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Goat Cheese
adapted from The Kitchn

serves 6

  • 8 ounces uncooked wheatberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 8 ounces uncooked couscous
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled and crumbled
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook the wheatberries in a large saucepan over medium heat, about one hour. Keep cooking and stirring until the grain is al dente and dry with no water remaining to be absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, simmer 1 3/4 cups water in a small saucepan. Add the couscous, stir, cover and turn to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove the lid and cook, stirring, until any remaining moistness evaporates. Mix the two cooked grains in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Snap off the ends of the asparagus and cut each spear into a 2-inch piece. Rinse out the large saucepan and dry. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat, and cook the asparagus until just barely crisp-tender – about 1-2 minutes. Add to the grains and toss.
  4. Also toss in the sliced toasted almonds, goat cheese and lemon zest.
  5. Mix the lemon juice with the oils, taste, and adjust. Pour over grain salad and toss, along with salt and pepper to taste.

This salad lasts very well in the fridge; perfect for multiple weekday lunches!

What’s your favourite summertime big batch lunch recipe?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny July 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Orzo pasta, TONS of spinach, feta, and raisins. THE BEST (in my opinion) summer "salad"


Erica July 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

This looks so good!! I love how feta melts into grainy salads. I like to make black bean and corn salad as well- yum yum!


brandi July 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

We're twins! I just posted a wheatberry salad the other day, too :) I LOVE grain salads for lunches in the summer! So easy to make on the weekends, and they're great cold.


anutritionisteats.com July 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

That sounds amazing! I can only do the same salad 2x/week but I do love making them ahead of time!


Holly July 9, 2010 at 3:26 pm

just caught up on three posts.

LOVED all your ideas for grilling! to be quite honest, i've always been kind of scared of grilling fruit but i think i am ready to give it a shot.

and the hummus. yes, please. i love how the Brits spell it too – houmous…it looks much more exotic that way than saying it hummm-musss with an obnoxious Midwestern accent.

and this salad – LOVES!

i hope i can see you this weekend but if not, i am totally in for the Boston Scientific. chat soon love :)


Susan July 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

This sounds fabulous!! I love the goat cheese-walnut flavour combo. I am all over cold grain salads in the summertime too. My favourite is anything with quinoa. I often like to add chopped veggies, chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and cumin. Sooooo gooood :)


Christina and Mary July 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

this looks delicious! I am always looking for ways to shake up things at lunch time. love goat cheese, too! I think ill give this one a try soon!


Christine August 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I recently made guacamole salad for the first time; basically smashed avocado mixed with tomato, arugula, sliced onion and lemon juice (so that the avocado becomes the dressing), and I could honestly eat it forever. This looks delicious as well, though. I'm not a huge cheese fan, but goats cheese is an exception.


Natalie August 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm

great recipe! I think I'll try this with bulgur!


Alannah July 19, 2013 at 11:30 am

Hi Angharad,
I had this recipe saved for a good year or so and finally made it the other night… it was absolutely delicious! Thanks for the lovely recipe… I’m off to browse through your recipe index : )



Angharad July 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Hi Alannah, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! I should make it again soon myself! It’s a good one, for sure. Hope you find more recipes you love! Angharad


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