Ever since George Calombaris made his Cypriot Grain Salad at Hellenic Republic, people have been going mad for it. And I don’t blame them. This Mediterranean dish is quite possibly the best grain salad I’ve ever eaten. Yes I know, a big call for a salad lover but you’ll understand once you try it! Whilst I’ve made a few minor changes to create my version, this recipe is essentially inspired by George Calombaris’ Cypriot Grain Salad.
What I’ve changed in this recipe
The traditional Cypriot Grain Salad recipe includes freekeh, which, whilst an incredibly nutrient dense and healthy ancient grain, isn’t gluten free. I wanted to create a gluten free version, so I’ve have replaced the freekeh with buckwheat (which despite the name is NOT a wheat but actually a gluten free pseudocereal, like quinoa and amaranth – confusing, I know). There are a few other minor changes like adding cucumber and rocket for extra greens, using pistachios instead of pine nuts and brown rice instead of lentils, because well, I was using what I happened to have in the pantry at the time and it turned out delicious!
Health benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat is incredibly nutritious. It’s rich in dietary fibre (10g per 100g*) to stabilise blood sugar levels, keep you fuller for longer, and keep things in your digestive tract moving. Buckwheat is a great source of plant-based protein, with 13g protein per 100g*. It contains rutin, a type of phytonutrient and antioxidant known to have heart health benefits, as it helps stabilize blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol and inflammation. I love using the whole buckwheat (also known as buckwheat groats) in salads like this recipe or as porridge. I use buckwheat flour for pancakes, loaves and breads.
Cypriot Grain Salad (gf version)
* 1/2 cup buckwheat (uncooked)
* 1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
* 1/4 cup dried currants & cranberries
* 1/2 pomegranate
* 80g feta, diced or crumbled (I used a Goat’s feta cheese)
* 1 small cucumber, diced
* 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
* 1-2 handfuls rocket
* 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
* 1/4 cup pistachios & almonds, chopped & toasted
* salt & pepper (I use sea, rock or Himalayan salt)
* 1 lemon, juice & zest
* 3 tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 1 tbls honey
* 100g natural Greek yogurt
* 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1. Cook buckwheat and brown rice according to packet instructions (cook separately).
2. Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium and lightly dry toast the pistachios and almonds until golden.
3. Once brown rice and buckwheat are cooked and cooled, assemble all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and season with salt and pepper.
4. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place on top of the salad to serve. Once ready to eat, toss salad to mix the yogurt dressing through.
Looking for more inspiring salad recipes? Try my favourite Cauliflower Quinoa & Kale Power Salad, this Chicken & Quinoa Seedy Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, or 5-min Green Goddess Dressing.