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Wimmera grain salad, two ways

WIMMERA GRAIN SALAD - TWO WAYS

Though we say it ourselves, our Wimmera grain salad is a brilliant standby to have in the freezer. It's based on an old George Colambaris recipe for Cypriot grain salad and we've added a few tweaks of our own and renamed it in honour of the great Australian grain- and pulse-growing region of Wimmera.

We used to make it with lots of fresh chopped herbs, spring onions and rocket but all those delicate leafy greens made it short-lived for delivery. There's no point offering something "fresh" if it's actually sad and soggy. So we hit upon the genius idea of making the basic salad ourselves - cooking the lentils and pearl barley, toasting the seeds and nuts, dicing preserved lemon and making a spiced lemon and olive oil dressing - and leaving it to customers to add their own finishing touches to the dish. The first big advantage of this means that all the elements freeze really well so we were able to start offering the dish as frozen (to our minds freshly frozen is infinitely superior to spuriously "fresh"). And the second means that we're all free to finish the salad off in whatever way we like.

It lends itself equally well to a cool, fresh, herby, Middle Eastern salad, garnished with garnet jewels of pomegranate, as it does to a substantial warm dish of sweet roast vegetables and salty grilled halloumi. And, if really pressed for time, there is no shame in a simple handful of rocket, sprinkle of sea salt and squeeze of lemon. Toss through all those beautiful grains, seeds and nuts and you have a stand-alone salad or side that you can take anywhere - and hold your head high.

Wimmera grain salad with herbs & pomegranate 

Ingredients

1 container of Dinner Ladies Wimmera grain salad
1/3 bunch of mint, plucked and roughly chopped
1/3 bunch of parsley, plucked and roughly chopped
1/2 bunch spring onions, ends removed and sliced
Handful of greens (we suggest rocket or baby spinach)
1/2 pomegranate
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Method

Empty the container with nuts and seeds into a bowl and allow to defrost.
Add the herbs, spring onions and a handful of greens to the grains and toss gently to combine.
Halve the pomegranate and bang the pomegranate with a spoon to remove the seeds.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve.


Wimmera grain salad with roast vegetable & halloumi

Ingredients

1 container of Dinner Ladies Wimmera grain salad
1 eggplant, cut into 2cm dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into batons
3 tbs olive oil
Pinch of ground cumin
Sea salt
Bunch of broccolini
200g halloumi

Method

Toss eggplant and carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sea salt and a pinch of cumin.  Spread out on a baking paper-lined tray and roast in a preheated 220 degrees for 20 minutes.

Chop the broccolini into 2 inch pieces, toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Add to the tray of roast vegetables and roast for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the nuts and seeds from the Wimmera grain salad and microwave for 2 minutes, stir and then microwave for another 2 minutes.  Add the nuts, seeds and roasted vegetables and toss together.

Slice the halloumi into 1cm thick slices. Heat an oiled, nonstick frying pan, add the sliced halloumi and fry until golden on both sides. Scatter over the salad and serve.