Wednesday, September 22, 2021

My Summery Cypriot Grain Salad


Grain salads are a wholesome side dish next to chicken, fish or meat, and will also hold their own as a vegetarian dish for dinner allowing the versatility of lots of extra add ins. Or if you fancy a light vegetarian main dish for a change after a big social weekend, although that's a challenging thought these days, this is my suggestion for a Meat Free Monday. Make a large batch on the weekend, and you will enjoy it for lunches during the following week, this applies to most grain salads. 

I made this salad to take to a dinner a few nights ago and it was a real hit. I assemble the grains and the lemon dressing the day before if I have time, add the chopped herbs on the day of eating, and then add the yoghurt dressing just before serving. The flavours combine beautifully.

I have made this salad before using quinoa as the main grain, and it was delicious as quinoa is a wonderful supporter of flavours. However, my preference is now to use Bulgur Wheat. It has a uniquely earthly flavour, is kind to the gut, and is also very fast and easy to cook. However you can use both quinoa and bulgur wheat combined for even more grainy impact. Bulgar is made from durum wheat that has already been cracked and partially pre-cooked,and all you need to do is soak it in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and you've got a light and nutty addition to your meals. It can generally be used as a healthy alternative to  rice, couscous or stuffing for a high-fibre meal. As a friend said to me, ancient grains are just the best.

This recipe is based on a popular one by George Calombaris and is very easily modified to suit what you might have on hand in the pantry. Mix up your grains. It saves time to have pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and pine nuts, already toasted and stored in separate jars for using in  grain salads.

Cypriot Grain Salad

Cook's Notes:


1/2 red onion finely diced
1 cup of  Australian Bulgur Wheat (or freekah, quinoa or other grain)
1/2 cup Puy lentils
2 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp. baby capers
1 bunch chopped coriander
1/2 bunch chopped parsley
1/2 cup currants (1/4 cup dried cranberries plus 1/4 cup currants is also a nice mix)
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 pomegranate, deseeded to serve

Cumin Yoghurt Dressing: - 

1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground (essential)
1 tbsp. honey


Soak Bulgur wheat in boiling water for 10 minutes and drain and set aside to cool.

Boil Puy lentils in boiling water until just cooked. Drain very well and allow to cool.

Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl, except the yoghurt dressing, and mix well. The yoghurt dressing can now be left covered in a jar in the refrigerator for a day if necessary. Whisk the oil and lemon juice dressing in a small jar until it emulsifies, season to taste, and add to the grains.

Just before eating, place the grain salad in an attractive serving dish and top with the delicious Cumin Yoghurt. Garnish and decorate with pomegranate seeds. However if pomegranates aren't in season or your thing, pour a few strips of pomegranate molasses across the yoghurt, and top with some scattered coriander leaves, or mint leaves, or roughly chopped cranberries. It's all about the colour and flavour to contrast with the grains.

Warmest wishes my friends and I hope you are having a safe and enjoyable week. Thanks for visiting.



  1. My husband will sure love this one with einkorn and lots of pomegranate seeds. That cumin flavoured yoghurt dressing is a huge favourite.

    1. Angie I was so very happy with how this salad tasted. Thankyou for your very kind words.

  2. Terrific salad -- and one I'd be equally happy eating in summer or winter. Lot of flavor in this -- thanks.

  3. Thanks John, yes it is a very versatile salad and I feel so healthy when I eat it, and it tastes so good.

  4. this sounds tasty pauline. we are not huge fans of quinoa but burgul sounds like a good sub. mm i am not a huge fan of george either come to think of it ... :-)

    1. Thanks Sherry, we ate so much quinoa when we were in Chile and Peru,early last year that I was almost sold on it, but I do prefer burghul. So who is George....:) Take care, Pauline x

  5. I agree with you, Pauline! I think the wheat bulgur will be much better than the quinoa - there’s some thing about the texture and flavor that it gives that sounds amazing with this combination. We were just talking that we needed more meatless Monday recipes, and here you are! Thanks so much.

    1. Thanks so much David,this is a combination that I keep going back to, and yes, so perfect for a meatless Monday and then a perfect side during the week.

  6. This recipe sounds awesome. I have a bag of quinoa that I purchased for some reason and have been looking for recipes to use it up! I came to your blog looking for a lemon slice recipe I thought I had seen here, I do like your recipes, thanks for posting!

  7. Hey great to hear from you up in the Far North. Hope you enjoy this salad, it is a real winner and still tastes great with quinoa.Hope you found the lemon slice recipe ok. All the best, Pauline


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