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Today I’ve got a bright, colourful and versatile grain salad for your next light dinner or lunchtime packed with flavour, but which is totally adaptable and customisable to suit what you’ve got in your fridge or pantry – pearl barley, farro, giant Israeli couscous or any other bulky, toothsome grain would also work.
Fattouch is a delicious Middle-Eastern salad of leftover toasted pitta and salad vegetables, seasoned with fresh lemon juice, sumac and olive oil, and tossed with lots and lots of fresh herbs. You can find my usual recipe here. However, eschewing the base of toasted pitta, I think it provides the perfect template for a delicious lunchtime grain bowl. I’ve still got a decent amount of fresh produce and salad items in by fridge, but this salad would still taste totally delicious using just things out of jars. Switch the fresh tomatoes for those preserved in oil, and introduce something new like olives, roasted peppers or even preserved pieces of aubergine or artichoke for the cucumber and radishes if you don’t have any of those. The herbs are a delicious addition to a traditional Fattouch, but you can add a pinch of dried oregano to the dressing instead in the style of a classic Greek Salad.
An easy, naturally vegan and totally customisable grain salad using the bright, fresh salad ingredients usually found in a Middle-Eastern Fattouch Salad.
120g () pearled spelt, or any other toothsome grain
large handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
small handful flat leaf parsley
small handful fresh mint
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sumac
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Cook the spelt in a pan of boiling water. This should take 20 minutes – check the pack if you’re using a different grain for cooking times! Drain, at the same time rinsing through with cold water. Set aside to continue draining and cooling.
Roughly chop the cucumber – don’t bother peeling it! Also roughly chop the radishes and halve the cherry tomatoes. Peel and finely slice the onion, and roughly chop the herbs.
To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, sumac and lots of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.
Combine the cooked, cooled grains, the salad vegetables and herbs, and the dressing. Season to taste with more salt and pepper before serving.
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