This Mediterranean grünkern and chickpea salad is an excellent example of why old world grains are making a come back. If you haven’t tried grünkern yet, you are missing out on what I would call a spectacular grain. When I first starting putting barley in salads, I thought WOW. Then I tried Grünkern, a grain I had never heard of before… L O V E it. Why was it so foreign to me? Well, it’s native to Germany and you may remember I come from Canada, so since being transplanted to Europe I have discovered so much about Germany’s well-loved old world grains.
A Grünkern and Chickpea Salad packed with flavor, texture, and nutrients
Grünkern is amazing in salads because it’s firm little grains add a nutty flavor and chewy texture to the mix. Plus it’s very filling, and is a good source of protein and fiber, making any “salad” containing it very “meal” worthy. The addition chickpeas is just bonus. Bold Mediterranean flavors (sweet red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh parsley, capers, balsamico and a touch of lemon), tossed with fresh, spinach leaves create an amazingly delicious salad.
A great make ahead or leftover salad
The best part? This salad keeps well in the fridge, which makes it a perfect bring to work lunch option. For added convenience you can even prepare the grain ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator. Make extra and you’ll have cooked grain for the next few days to make several new dishes. This also cuts down time, so you can throw together this grünkern and chickpea salad in less than 10 minutes.
Mediterranean Grünkern and Chickpea Salad
For the salad:
- 1 cup grünkern (200 g) (freekeh is a good substitute)
- 1 x 400 g can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 8-10 sun-dried tomato halves (packed in oil), chopped (about 60 g)
- 2 tablespoons capers (in brine), (alternatively use pitted Kalamata olives, chopped)
- 1 medium to large red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (50 g)
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- generous handful spinach leaves, chopped
For the dressing:
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamico creme
- 1 -2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cook the Grünkern according to package instructions; for about 30 minutes. Drain it well and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.
Transfer the grünkern to a large serving bowl, along with the chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, red onion, toasted almonds, parsley, and spinach. Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!
The middle eastern grain freekeh (or frikeh) which is also a smoked young green grain — but rather than produced from spelt, it’s made from durum wheat — can also be using in place of Grünkern in this salad. Other grains such as freekeh, farro, barley or spelt are also a good substitute.
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