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Kernza® Grain Salad

Kernza® Grain Salad

with roast carrots, almonds, dried cherries and goat cheese

Serves 4-6 people


Total Time: 45 minutes


Pots, pans, baking sheets

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 cup Kernza Whole Grain
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • Handful dried cherries (about 4 oz)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • Garnish: Fresh herbs, lemon, feta (optional)

Adapted from The Six Seasons cookbook. This grain salad is a scrumptious way to highlight and deepen the Kernza's nutty flavor. As far as I'm concerned, anytime I'm eating Kernza whole grain in a savory dish I intend to toast it as I describe in steps 1-3, whether those steps are followed by the rest of the recipe or not!

Just about everything in this recipe can be swapped out for a similar ingredient that will bring completely new flavor despite serving a similar role--apricots or other dried fruit for the cherries; feta, ricotta, cream cheese for the goat cheese; already roasted sunflower seeds or pistachios for the almonds. Indeed, without the extra, gourmet steps for whipped goat cheese and brined almonds, this becomes a very easy side that can be thrown together at a moments notice! This dish welcomes fresh herbs, parsley, chives, tarragon all fit in so nicely, but don't be afraid to throw in some basil, mint, or other more divergently flavored herbs to really spice it up!


    1. Cover the bottom of a large sauce pan with olive oil, add the smashed garlic and chili flakes, and let saute for about 3 minutes.
    2. Add the cup of Kernza whole grain and cook over medium heat, stirring to toast the grains. The longer you toast, the deeper the flavor--At least 4-5 minutes. 

      Kernza being toasted in pan
    3. Add 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt, and the bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Cover, adjust heat to low, and cook for about 25-35 minutes. Taste Kernza towards the end to determine if it's a suitable texture. You may need to strain a bit of the water at the end.
    4. Meanwhile, brine the almonds. Heat oven to 375 F. Bring a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water to a boil then take off the heat. Dissolve 2-3 tablespoons salt, dump in the 3/4 cup almonds, stir so the almonds all submerge, and let sit for 30 minutes.
    5. Toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast until the edges start to darken, about 15-20 minutes. 

      Carrots landscape
    6. Return to the almonds. After the soak, drain the almonds, spread out evenly in one layer on a baking sheet and toast for about 12 minutes in the 375 F oven. They will be soft when you take them out, but they will cool to a delicious, salty crunch.
    7. Thinly slice the onion. Put the cooked Kernza, onion, roast carrots, and dried cherries in a bowl and dress with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar.
    8. Mix or food process the goat cheese with olive oil, salt, lots of black pepper, and vinegar or lemon juice, (and milk or water as needed) to get a smooth, smear-able cheese. Smear the whipped cheese on plates to dish the salad on top of. 

      Cheese in food processorCheese smeared on plates
    9. Rough chop almonds, and add them to the salad.
    10. Taste dish, and add more vinegar, salt, or pepper as needed. Finish by tossing the whole dish with a 1/4 cup of olive oil, and dish the salad up on top of the smeared goat cheese!
    11. Garnish as you see fit and enjoy. Serve hot or cold, my preference would be right in the middle (about the temperature you'll get after dressing the hot ingredients, anyway).



Aug 20, 2022 • Posted by Alysha Coffman

A family favorite (thanks for introducing it to us, Megan!)

Jan 27, 2022 • Posted by Megan Coffman

This is a great salad! Toasting the Kernza is such a great idea, it really brings out the nutty flavor. I like substituting in red bell pepper, feta cheese, and dried cranberries, and adding fresh lemon juice to the dressing.

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