Oh how things have changed! Back in 2012, my first year of blogging, I begrudgingly blogged about a salad. I added a disclaimer that said ‘this is a feelgood meal’ and sandwiched it in between a recipe for a cookie and tiramisu, because we all have to eat salads sometimes I rationalised.
Almost five years on my metabolism isn’t quite what it used to be. I can’t eat tiramisu for breakfast or chocolate cake every day any more. Well, I could but I would be what my relatives bluntly describe as ‘fat fat’. My posts aren’t just about sweets, and I cook and eat a lot more salads. Goodness knows my photography has improved. (The original post is here – I’ve just added weight measurements and updated the cooking times a bit.)
One thing that hasn’t changed in my inability to let things go. As I looked back through old blog posts I kept telling myself to just leave them alone. They are a sign of how far I’ve come, I told myself. But despite my best efforts I just couldn’t resist reposting this recipe. I wanted a picture that better represented the deliciousness of this dish. It’s was one of my favourites sides even back then and it still is now.
It was all the rage in 2012, made popular by George Calombaris at Hellenic Republic. Now I’ve seen it everywhere, even as far as Hong Kong. It’s a versatile side which pairs well with Greek and Middle Eastern flavours; it’s great as a side for a barbecue if you tone down the cumin a bit. Nick and I often have it as for dinner along with some cumin and coriander roasted chicken.
Cypriot Grain Salad
for the salad
- 100 g or ½ cup freekeh
- 100 g or ½ cup french style lentils also called Puy lentils
- 50 g or 4 tbsp sliced almonds
- 50 g or 4 tbsp pepitas/pumpkin seeds
- 50 g or 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
- ½ bunch coriander shredded (or approx 3 tbsp chopped)
- ½ bunch Italian parsley shredded (or approx 3 tbsp chopped)
- 1 small red onion finely diced
- 50 g or 4 tbsp currants
- 1 tbsp baby capers chopped
- Half a pomegranate
- Juice of ½ lemon/lime
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive
- salt to taste
for the yoghurt dressing
- ½ cup thick Greek yoghurt or curd
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp honey
- Cook the freekeh and lentils separately, in 1½ cups cold water for about 20 minutes each (the freekeh might take a bit longer). Check to see that grains are tender before removing from the saucepan, then drain in a colander.
- Lightly toast almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in the oven.
- Dry freekeh and lentils thoroughly, then mix with the chopped coriander and parsley, diced onion, currants, capers and pomegranate. Add lemon juice and olive oil, then salt to taste.
- Add toasted nuts and stir until evenly combined. If serving a few hours later, add nuts just before serving.
- To make the yoghurt dressing, lightly toast cumin seeds in a pan, then grind using a mortar and pestle. Stir into yoghurt and honey.
- Serve with grilled chicken, slow cooked lamb or simple grilled vegetables.