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How to Make Whole Grain Salads

Cheddar and Barley Salad with Walnuts

  • Author: by Serena Ball, RD
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Tips on making whole grain salads delicious – and not too chewy!


  • 1/2 cup unhulled barley (Pearled barley isn’t a whole grain – but a delicious and high fiber substitute)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) crumbled Cheddar cheese (I used Cabot Sharp Cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 7 stems asparagus
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon corn or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1/81/4 teaspoon salt (1/8 teaspoon was plenty for us)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Cover barley with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; turn down heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside for 1 hour. Check at 1 hour. If not soft enough to your liking, add 1/2 cup water and cook for another 5 minutes and set aside until soft. Drain if there is excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, to cook asparagus, chop stems into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in microwave-safe bowl; add 1/4 cup water. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute until tender crisp.
  3. To make dressing, combine lemon juice, honey, oil, mustard and salt; mix well.
  4. In a serving bowl, combine cooked grains, asparagus, celery, radishes; pour dressing over salad and mix well. Top with walnuts, cheese and more fresh-ground black pepper.