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Cypriot Grain Salad

This is a wonderful salad for entertaining! It has everything you want in a salad – great texture and flavour. I am often asked for this recipe. It is very simple to make and I have included some shortcuts to reduce the time even more, meaning you can make this salad in under 30 minutes!

Looking down onto a flat white ceramic platter with the Cypriot Grain Salad spread out on the platter.

This salad was inspired by Hellenic Republic’s Cypriot Grain Salad. It is made up of grains, pinenuts, seeds, flaked almonds, with sweetness from currants and cranberries. There is also vibrancy from the fresh herbs and zing from capers and a lemon juice and olive oil dressing…delicious!

I have added some sunflower seeds to my version as well as increasing the quantities of the nuts and seeds slightly as I love the toasty flavour and crunch they bring to the salad. I have also increased the amount of capers and added a few cranberries. This latest change came about one day when I didn’t have quite enough currants; so I added in cranberries and I loved the flavour and look of them in the salad – they look almost jewel like with their red colour against the greens and grains.

Looking down onto a large white ceramic platter with the Cypriot Grain Salad spread out on it.
This is the salad before I have added the cranberries and pomegranate seeds (which I only add a few of the latter), but feel free to add more.

I also add pomegranate seeds to garnish this dish. I love pomegranate seeds, but not too many of them in the actual salad as I find the crunch of them a little too much. Feel free to add more though if you like!

Here are 3 ways I have served this salad recently.

The first 3 photos are of the salad served with my Roasted Pomegranate Quail. This combination is a wonderful dish for entertaining! The quail is very easy to prepare. You can get the recipe for the Roasted Pomegranate Quail here.

Looking down onto a platter of Cypriot Grain Salad with 4 whole quail on top.
This dish of Roasted Pomegranate Quail with the Cypriot Grain Salad is a great dish for fuss-free entertaining.
The platter of Cypriot Grain Salad and Qual on a white marble table with a small bowl of yoghurt dressing at the back and salad servers and a mustard coloured napkin on the right side.
Serve it with a Yoghurt Dressing. This dish makes an impressive entrance when it’s bought to the table.
A round platter with the Cypriot Grain Salad underneath 4 whole Quail that are garnished with pomegranate seeds.
I love the colours of this salad – the reds and greens with the grains. A beautiful dish for any time of the year.
The Cypriot Grain Salad on a ceramic platter garnished with pomegranate seeds.
This salad was taken to a friends house for a barbeque.
A round platter of Kofte patties with the Cypriot Grain Salad piled in the middle.
Here it is served with Kofte patties for a casual weekend family dinner. We served the Yoghurt Dressing on the side.

The Ingredients List:

  • fresh coriander
  • fresh continental parsley
  • red onion
  • grains – freekah, cracked wheat or quinoa (see below for my time saving tip)
  • puy lentils
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • pinenuts
  • flaked almonds
  • currants
  • cranberries
  • caperberries
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pomegranate seeds
  • yoghurt
  • cumin
  • honey

Method/Tips

Please don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients! This salad is very easy to bring together and a lot of it can be made in advance with just the assembly and dressing to do when its time to serve.

My time-saving tip is for the grains. Instead of cooking the freekah, cracked wheat or quinoa, I use a 250g packet of Sunrise Brown Rice and Quinoa and microwave it (you can just steam it, if you don’t use a microwave), and also buy a 400g tin of lentils and use these as well. This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare both. Combine them together and your grains are done! We actually preferred this mix better and the salad is then also gluten-free! Just make sure you rinse and drain the lentils in a sieve before using.

If you have the time and want to boil your own grains, the other grains I use in this salad is the McKenzies Foods Superblend Lentils, Freekah and Beans Mix which is super convenient as they are all in one packet.

Once the grains are prepared, the rest of this salad is easy to put together. Just a bit of chopping of ingredients and toasting of nuts and seeds.

Prepare Ahead:

  • Prepare the grains that you are using. If you are using my time-saving option, then just prepare the lentils (rinse and drain) as the rice is best popped in the microwave for 1.5 minutes about 10 minutes before you assemble the salad.
  • Toast the nuts and seeds together in a large frying pan over medium heat. Keep an eye on them and stir so they all brown evenly. This is an easy step but trust me when I say that I have been through many packets of pinenuts over the years from burning them…no multi-tasking while you’re toasting the nuts and seeds 😂 . The pinenuts in particular, brown very quickly. Once they are toasted, put them in a bowl or small jar and set them aside to cool completely.
  • Measure out the currants and cranberries. Set aside.
  • Finely dice the red onions and caperberries. Set aside at room temperature, covered.
  • Chop both the parsley and coriander. Put into a bowl lined with damp paper towels. Cover the top with another damp paper towel and put in the fridge until required. This keeps them beautiful and fresh without wilting.
  • De-seed a pomegranate. Save the juice and rest of the seeds for another use. Use some of the seeds for the salad.
  • Prepare the Yoghurt Dressing and refrigerate.
  • Combine the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a jar, shake and set aside at room temperature.

This list is easy to do and it will mean that everything is prepared in advance and all you do is assemble the salad just before your guests arrive, or while they are there – I love assembling salads at the kitchen bench while we are all having a drink and chatting.

Enjoy!

Close up of the Cypriot Grain Salad on a platter.

Cypriot Grain Salad

This is a wonderful salad for entertaining! It has everything you want in a salad – great texture and flavour. I am often asked for this recipe. It is very simple to make and I have included some shortcuts to reduce the time even more, meaning you can make this salad in under 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Australian, Greek
Keyword: cypriot grain salad, gluten-free, grain salad, rice
Servings: 6
Calories: 392kcal
Author: Katrina | Katy’s Food Finds

Equipment

  • Pot if using
  • Frying pan

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of coriander chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of continental parsley chopped
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 c freekah,quinoa or cracked wheat (see notes)
  • 1/2 c puy lentils (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp pinenuts
  • 3 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 1/4 c currants
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped caperberries or capers stalks removed if using caperberries
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • salt to season
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Yoghurt Dressing:

  • 1 c greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions

Grains:

  • Prepare the grains:
    Option 1:Cook the freekah and lentils separately in boiling water until they are just cooked. Drain well and set aside to cool.
    Option 2: Using 1 cup of McKenzies Superblend Mix (see notes), cook in boiling water as per packet instructions. Drain well and set aside to cool.
    Time Saving and Gluten-free option: 1 x 400g tin of lentils, rinsed and drained plus 1 packet of Sunrise Steamed Brown Rice and Quinoa Mix (cook in microwave for 1 minute 30 secs as per packet instructions). See notes.

Yoghurt Dressing:

  • Mix yoghurt, ground cumin and honey together in a jug and refrigerate until required.

Salad:

  • Toast all the nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pinenuts, flaked almonds) in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until they are nicely toasted. The pinenuts will colour the most. This will take about 3-5 minutes so keep an eye on them as they can go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly. We definitely do not want any burnt bits in the salad, so no multi-tasking while you are toasting the nuts and seeds! ☺️ Put the toasted nuts and seeds aside to cool completely.
  • On a large flat platter, add the coriander, parsley, onion, grains, seeds, nuts, capers, currants, *cranberries, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and season to taste.
    Serve the salad topped with the remaining cranberries and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve with the Yoghurt Dressing on the side.
    *Reserve half of the cranberries to put on top of the assembled salad as its nice to have the colour of these on top for presentation.

Notes

The nutrition calculations above are based on freekah as the grain.

Method/Tips

Please don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients! This salad is very easy to bring together and a lot of it can be made in advance with just the assembly and dressing added when its time to serve.
My time-saving tip is for the grains. Instead of cooking the freekah, cracked wheat or quinoa, I sometimes buy a 250g packet of Sunrise Brown Rice and Quinoa and microwave it (you can just steam it, if you don’t use a microwave), and also buy a 400g tin of lentils and use these as well. This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare both. Combine them together and your grains are done! We actually preferred this mix better and the salad is then also gluten-free! Just make sure you rinse and drain the lentils in a sieve before using.
If you have the time and want to boil your own grains, the other grains I use in this salad is the McKenzies Foods Superblend Lentils, Freekah and Beans Mix which is super conventient as they are all in one packet.
Once the grains are prepared, the rest of the salad is easy to put together. Just a bit of chopping of ingredients and toasting of the nuts and seeds.
Prepare Ahead:
  • Prepare the grains that you are using. If you are using my time-saving option, then just prepare the lentils (rinse and drain) as the rice is best popped in the microwave for 1.5 minutes about 15 minutes before you assemble the salad.
  • Toast the nuts and seeds together in a large frying pan over medium heat. Keep an eye on them and stir so they all brown evenly. This is an easy step but trust me when I say that I have been through many packets of pinenuts over the years from burning them…no multi-tasking while you’re toasting the nuts and seeds 😂 . The pinenuts in particular, brown very quickly. Once they are toasted, put them in a bowl or small jar and set them aside to cool completely.
  • Measure out the currants and cranberries. Set aside.
  • Finely dice the red onions and caperberries. Set aside at room temperature, covered.
  • Chop both the parsley and coriander. Put into a bowl lined with damp paper towels. Cover the top with another damp paper towel and put in the fridge until required.
  • De-seed a pomegranate. Save the juice and rest of the seeds for another use. Use some of the seeds for the salad.
  • Prepare the Yoghurt Dressing and refrigerate.
  • Combine the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a jar, shake and set aside at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg
Have you cooked one of my recipes? I’d love you to tag me @katysfoodfinds or #katysfoodfinds!

2 Comments

  • KK and sons
    May 30, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    5 stars
    Made it and took it to some friends. They were so impressed they asked for the recipe! Loved it.

    Reply
    • Katrina
      June 2, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      So glad to hear that you all loved it! It’s one of our favourite salads too.❤️

      Reply

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