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Ancient Grain Salad (with Spelt)

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Ancient grain salad using super healthy ingredients like spelt, red cabbage and carrots. All drizzled with a delicious lemon honey dressing.


Spelt Berry Salad


vegetable grain salad with honey dressing


You will absolutely love this flavorful ancient grain salad! Those nutty and chewy spelt berries, the crunch given by the carrots and the red cabbage, all coated in that delicious, lemon honey dressing.

This was one of the first recipes I posted on the blog.

I love this kind of hearty salads, which can be eaten on their own and which include grains, beans or noodles. I’ve eaten many bulgur or couscous salads before, but it was the first time I had made a salad with spelt.

Ever since I’ve made this particular salad or variations of it many times. I always seem to have an open bag of spelt berries or other grains in my pantry.


spelt berry salad with raw vegetables close up


What is an ancient grain?

Basically, they are grains that can trace their roots way back in time, and which have remained pretty much unchanged during all these thousands of years. For instance, wheat is not considered ancient because it was bred and modified constantly in time.

On the other hand, spelt, amaranth, bulgur, millet, barley, emmer or farro, kamut, einkorn, chia, sorghum, freekeh and teff are considered to be ancient.

I still have to try some sorghum, kamut and teff recipes, but otherwise, I have been using these grains extensively in my cooking during the last decade.

Have a look at these vegan stuffed cabbage rolls with amaranth or this vegetarian cabbage rolls with millet, this tabbouleh or this super quick spelt bread.


ancient grain salad with red cabbage and carrots




  • There are different kinds of spelt you can buy. Well, spelt is the same, but the berries can be polished or not.
  • The polished sort needs only about 20 minutes of cooking time but check the package instructions.
  • The unpolished sort (what I used now) needs a longer cooking time, about 50 – 60 minutes, but again check the package instructions.


  • You can also make the salad with other grains like soft wheat berries, millet, emmer/farro, freekeh or sorghum. Again, just make sure you cook them according to the package’s instructions.


  • Red cabbage, carrots and green onions.
  • You can use other vegetables instead, actually whatever you like or happen to have in the fridge.
  • Some suggestions would be white or green cabbage, finely chopped broccoli (raw or very shortly steamed), finely sliced leeks or red peppers, kohlrabi, chopped spinach or other greens.


ingredients for salad and dressing

bowl of cooked spelt berries and vegetables


How to make spelt salad?

  • Make sure you check the package regarding cooking times, they can differ from one sort of grain to another and even from one brand to another.
  • Cook the grains, let drain well and let cool slightly.
  • In the meantime, prepare the veggies: finely slice the red cabbage, carrots and green onions.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients and mix with the still warm grains and the vegetables. Adjust the taste.
  • Let the spelt berry salad sit for at least 2 hours before serving, this way the flavours will have time to mingle and develop and the red cabbage and carrots will soften slightly.


pouring honey lemon dressing in a bowl with vegetables



  • The salad is best served at room temperature.
  • It can be made ahead, but keep it in the fridge if you let it sit for more than 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • It keeps well for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • This ancient grain salad is also a great potluck salad, it can be prepared ahead of time, you can make a large batch of it and it keeps well if left on the table for several hours.
  • The salad makes a great healthy and filling meal on its own, but you can also serve it as a side dish for grilled meats or roast chicken, for instance.


cooked spelt, red cabbage and carrots in a bowl


More ways of using grains?

Zucchini Filled with Millet – Zucchini boats filled with a cheesy millet filling, so delicious and rich you will not believe how healthy this actually is.

Israeli Couscous with Chicken – A one-pot dish with chewy Israeli couscous, tender chicken breast, sweet peas and crunchy zucchini, and easy and delightful summer dish.

Buckwheat Porridge – Buckwheat is not actually a grain, but it is cooked and mostly regarded as a grain.

Roasted Buckwheat with Mushrooms and Onions – Delicious and healthy Polish kasha recipe.


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bowl of hearty salad with red cabbage


First published: January 9th, 2015.

Last updated: March 31, 2020.


cooked spelt, red cabbage and carrots in a bowl

Ancient Grain Salad (with Spelt)

Ancient grain salad with spelt, red cabbage, and carrots. All drizzled with a delicious, quick dressing.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 201kcal
Author: Adina


  • 1 cup spelt berries
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, medium
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher, more or less to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • Cook spelt berries in salted water according to your package instructions. Drain well and let cool down a bit.
  • Chop: In the meantime, finely slice the red cabbage, carrots, and green onions. Then, combine the grains with the vegetables.
  • Mix all the dressing ingredients and combine them with the salad. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  • Let sit for about 2 hours before serving, and adjust the taste again. Add more salt, pepper, vinegar, or lemon juice, if necessary. Serve at room temperature.


Serving: 1/4 of the dish | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 562mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!




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Recipe Rating

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

Friday 9th of January 2015

Adina, this is fabulous and I LOVE the pictures of your daughter, so cute! Thanks for making this and for sharing!


Friday 9th of January 2015

Thank you, it was really a fun cooking day today.