The less obvious ancient wheats like bulgur, spelt, kamut and buckwheat, and grains like barley, millet, quinoa and amaranth have become foodies’ favourites. Most of them are now available in supermarkets and all of them can be bought online.
I’ve been experimenting a bit with them, and there is no doubt that mixed grains make a great alternative to plain rice, are good in a risotto and make an interesting salad. This recipe requires cooked grains; here we have used bulgur wheat and quinoa, but you could use any mixture you like. If you’re using several kinds, boil or steam them separately if they require different cooking times. Alternatively, for an even easier salad, use the pre- cooked mixed grains in ambient pouches that you can buy in the supermarket.
75g quinoa (raw weight)
75g bulgur wheat (raw weight)
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
10 baby plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tbsp vegetable oil
21⁄2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 tsp harissa paste
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
8 green olives, pitted and halved
60g feta, crumbled
a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season
How to make
1. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6.
2. Put the bulgur wheat in a heatproof bowl and pour over 400ml boiling water. Cover with a plate to keep the steam from escaping and leave for 30–40 minutes.
3. Cook the quinoa in a pan of salted boiling water for 15 minutes, or until the grains start to pop their shells and you see little transparent rings appearing. Drain.
4. In a roasting tin combine the pepper strips with the tomatoes, garlic and vegetable oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the peppers are soft and just starting to char. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, harissa paste and pomegranate molasses.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked grains, roasted peppers and tomatoes, olives, feta, parsley, and the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze the lemon juice over it, and toss well to ensure the dressing coats everything. Serve immediately.
Join renowned chef and Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith as she chats about her career in food with her niece, pastry chef Peta Leith at The Spectator’s online event: An Evening with Prue Leith