Sunday, March 27, 2016

A New Year, A New Land, A New Diet: Greek Grain Salad

It has been a year since I last posted. We had quite the year. Three moves, including one international. And, a new baby. Our fourth baby. We have been busy!

We are living on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia, for one year. It has been a beautiful, charming year full of trips to the beach and to the kangaroo-dotted Aussie countryside, and lots of good quality time with my husband's family.

I have learned what morning tea is (a break around mid-morning for tea/coffee and a snack). And, I have learned to recycle like my life depends on it (small trash cans here!) and to not speed when driving (speed cameras are everywhere!).

We have also experienced the Aussie food scene...cafes and bakeries on every corner. Fresh produce. Much healthier eating than in the US. And, a much wider assortment of authentic Mediterranean and Asian restaurants thanks to the millions of immigrants from those areas of the world.

I am learning to cook a whole different way. And, enjoy food a whole new way.

Before our time is up here, I plan to post some of the meals and snacks that have found their way into our home. First up, a Greek grain salad inspired by our favorite Greek restaurants: Hellenic Republic and Jimmy Grants by the same Chef/Owner.

This grain salad is a perfect side dish for a crowd and is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Hellenic Republic's Cypriot Grain Salad


1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped finely
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup freekah (or quinoa or cracked wheat)
1/2 cup Puy lentils (I used green lentils)
2 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp. baby capers
1/2 cup currants
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
Optional: 1 pomegranate, deseeded to serve (I did not include in mine)

Yogurt Topping:
1 cup thick plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. honey

1. Cook the freekah/quinoa and lentils to package directions until both just cooked. Drain well and allow to cool.

2. Mix the yogurt, ground cumin and honey until combined, and refrigerate until serving.

3. In a medium bowl, place the finely chopped cilantro, parsley, red onion, freekah/quinoa, lentils, toasted nuts and seeds, capers, currants, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and season with salt to taste.

4. Place in a serving dish and top with cumin-honey yogurt and (optional) pomegranate seeds.

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