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”.
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.
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
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
- 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.
- Make the dressing by mixing the yoghurt, cumin and honey until combined. I preferred to leave half the cumin whole for texture
- 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.
- 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.