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If you’ve been eating not-so-healthily, this meal should hopefully make you feel a lot better about your eating habits. It’s been one of my favourite eats since I tried it at Hellenic Republic in Brunswick.

It’s also great as a packed lunch and keeps well for up to a week.

If you’ve never heard of freekeh before, well, neither had I before this recipe – but it sounded healthy! It has a nutty flavour and is rich in iron, zinc, potassium and calcium. Freekeh has a high protein content and four times the fibre of brown rice. You should be able to get it at your local market or health food store, otherwise, there’s always online.

I should add a disclaimer: This is a feelgood meal and I’m only posting this because there are lots of desserts to come.

(adapted from Hellenic Republic’s online recipe)
serves 6

½ cup     freekeh
½ cup     french green lentils  (also called Puy lentils)
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
4 tbsp    slivered almonds
4 tbsp    pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp    sunflower seeds
4 tbsp    currants
1 tbsp    baby capers, chopped
Half a pomegranate (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive
Sea salt to taste

Yoghurt dressing
½ cup  thick Greek yoghurt
1 tsp    cumin seeds
1 tbsp  honey

  1. Start by cooking the freekeh and puy lentils separately. Cook the freekeh in 1 ¼ cups of cold water with ½ tsp salt and a splash of olive oil. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.  Cover the saucepan, lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes if cooking cracked grain, and 40-45 minutes for whole grain.  Ensure all water is absorbed and grains are tender before removing from the saucepan.
  2. Rinse lentils, then cook in 1 ½ cups cold water. Bring to boil and cook for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook.
  3. Drain freekeh and lentils.
  4. Lightly toast almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in the oven.
  5. Mix freekeh and lentils with the chopped coriander and parsley, diced onion, currants, capers and pomegranate seeds. Add lemon juice and olive oil, then salt to taste.
  6. Add toasted nuts and stir to combine.
  7. To make the yoghurt dressing, lightly toast cumin seeds in a pan, then grind using a mortar and pestle. Stir into yoghurt and honey.
  8. Serve with grilled chicken or vegetables.

Tips for a good grain salad:

  • Put a saucer over the colander to help with draining excess water. Soggy grains will result in a watery salad that will not keep well. If grains are still soggy, spread them over a clean tea towel to drain excess water.
  • If you’re not planning on serving the salad immediately, then don’t add the toasted nut mix to the grains as they will lose their crunchiness. Only mix in the toasted nuts when the salad is ready to serve or they’ll lose their crunch.
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