One of my favourite salads in Melbourne and cooking with freaking freekah

I want to eat well. I have a desire to treat my body as a temple. BUT… my natural gravitational pull always seems to shift towards eating the meat component and entirely skipping the salad. Literally, I could do an all protein diet. If the salad isn’t really, really, ridiculously good, I won’t eat it.

One Saturday, we were at the newly opened Jimmy Grants in Richmond in Melbourne. I love their gourmet souvlakis but we ordered a token salad, their “grain salad”.

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To be honest, all I was expecting from the salad was an approving nod from my wife that I was eating a salad. I dismissed it. But instead, I was converted after my first bite, and has become one of my favourite salads in Melbourne.

FAVOURITE SALAD!? Are those two words even allowed to go together?

The answer was a resounding “YES!”. You know I like something when I either order another one despite being full, or I try and recreate it at home. In this instance, I did both.

Loaded with lentils, freekah, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, red onion, coriander, parsley, currants, greek yoghurt, lemon and honey. I was blown away. Texture, flavour, balance. It ticked a lot of my boxes. Quite a crowning achievement especially if it vegetarian.

But what is freekah?

Freekah is wheat harvested while the grain is still young and green, followed by a roasting process. It contains a higher amount of protein, vitamins and minerals than mature wheat, with up to four times the fiber content of brown rice. It is also considered low GI and a superfood.

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So onto recreating the grain salad. Thanks to goodfood.com.au and Hellenic Republic, I managed to find a recipe here. This is how it turned out

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Not quite the Jimmy Grant’s version, but still pretty tasty! Slightly modified recipe based on the Hellenic Republic’s Cypriot grain salad below. Serves approx 6-

1 cup freekah
1/2 cup Puy lentils
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp baby capers, rinsed
100g currants
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive
Sea salt to taste
1 pomegranate, deseeded, to serve
1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tbsp honey

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Method

  1. Blanch freekah and lentils separately in boiling water until both just cooked. To test, just pick up a piece and taste it – you’ll know if it isn’t cooked! For the amount of water, I justed added 2-2.5x the weight of freekah and lentils. I also substituted the water with beef stock to add more flavour. Drain well and allow to cool.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing the yoghurt, cumin and honey until combined. I preferred to leave half the cumin whole for texture
  3. In a medium bowl, place the coriander, parsley, red onion, freekah, lentils, toasted nuts, capers, currants, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and season to taste.
  4. Place into serving dish and top with cumin yoghurt and pomegranate seeds

If I had my time again, I would add more lemon, nuts and coriander. Additionally I would trail with a bit of mint and a little less pomegranate.

Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.

 

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8 thoughts on “One of my favourite salads in Melbourne and cooking with freaking freekah

  1. Pingback: The Creative Vegetable Challenge – 4 ideas that helped me eat my greens | Twin Discoveries

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