I’m always of the opinion that food should be beautiful as well as delicious. George Calombaris’ Cypriot salad ticks both boxes for me. It’s simply stunning to look at and delicious to eat. Also it has so many seeds and nuts and grains in it that you should be leaping around after eating it!
On first glance at the ingredients you are going to think that this Cypriot salad is going to break the bank. Don’t be put off, you really only need a couple of tablespoons each of the nuts, seeds and fruits and 1 pomegranate and then the rest is lentils and buckwheat, (or bulgur wheat, or frekkah or couscous) which is pretty inexpensive. Also, although it looks like it will take an age to make, it is remarkably quick and easy to throw together!
I have adapted George’s Cypriot salad recipe to my taste and budget. I use cranberries instead of raisins as I prefer the taste and the wonderful colour that they bring to the dish. I have also added sesame seeds as I love the aroma and nutty flavour that they provide once toasted. I use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts as they provide a cheaper and tasty alternative. I used buckwheat instead of frekkah, mainly because I had it in the pantry and I love the texture it provides, also it is super filling!
This Cypriot salad is filling enough that you can eat it as a main or have it as a beautiful side salad. My recipe will provide enough food for 6-8 people (as a decent side), so if you are going to make it for less people, then you might want to make a little less. Or, just eat it the next day, it’s still just as fresh and tasty!
Now, we’ve all seen those cooking shows where the chef cuts the pomegranate in half and gives it a sharp whack on the back and all of the pomegranate seeds come flying gracefully out landing effortlessly into the bowl. My reality, the many times I’ve tried that, is that the juice and pomegranate seeds fly everywhere including onto that nice white top I’m wearing! I have never had any luck doing this, those little suckers are impossible to get out without some serious prying!
So my fairly easy, no mess method for getting those pomegranate seeds out of the fruit is to do it in a bowl of cold water. You need to fill a fairly deep bowl with water, cut your pomegranate in half, then put each half under the water and use your fingers to release the seeds, all the while your hands are still under water. The first great thing about this method is that you don’t wear the red juice because the water traps any flying bits. The second great thing is that the pomegranate seeds sink to the bottom and the husky, white surrounding tends to float to the top, so you can scoop it off the top and throw it out.
Just as a word of caution, you do not want any hard husky bits on your pomegranate seeds or in your Cypriot salad, they are hard and horrible and will ruin your salad.
This dish is so full of yummy goodness. Either serve it as a main dish on its own or try it with a slice of my leek and feta quiche.
I hope you love it.
- For the salad:
- 1 bunch coriander, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped small
- 1 cup buckwheat
- ½ cup puy lentils
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp slivered almonds (or almonds you have crushed)
- 2 Tbsp baby capers
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Seeds from 1 fresh pomegranate
- For the salad dressing:
- juice of 1 lemon (or lime)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- salt, for seasoning
- For the yoghurt dressing:
- 1 cup thick yoghurt
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cumin seeds toasted
- In a pot of boiling water cook your buckwheat until just cooked (approximately 15 minutes).
- In a pot of boiling water cook your lentils until just cooked (approximately 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile in a frying pan add cumin seeds and toast until they start giving off an aroma. Put to the side.
- In the same frying pan add all of the seeds and nuts and toast. Once toasted put to the side.
- Remove the pomegranate seeds from your pomegranate ensuring to remove all the hard, white husky surrounding.
- Put your chopped coriander, onion and parsley in a large bowl. Add your buckwheat, lentils, seeds and nuts, capers, cranberries and pomegranate seeds.
- In a bowl whisk your olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar until thick. Season well and then pour into the bowl containing the buckwheat and seeds etc. and stir through.
- In a bowl mix the yoghurt, honey and cumin seeds.
- Arrange the salad on a large platter and add a large dollop of the honey yoghurt on top, or serve it in small ramekins as a side.