I love grain and legume based salads. They are so easy to throw together, and can be endlessly varied with different vegetables, cheeses, herbs, nuts, dressings, and protein. They keep very well for a couple of days and are great eaten at room temperature, which means they are perfect for making ahead of time and packing up for lunch, taking to a picnic, or serving at a large dinner party.
This recipe is inspired by a dish often served at this Italian eatery in our neighborhood. The menu there is gorgeous, with every type of lunch food you could ask for, from prosciutto and eggs to beautiful baked goods and paninis, but time and time again, I always opt for this salad - it's packed full of so many wholesome, satisfying ingredients that are together salty, sweet, and tart, I can never say no. Since it provides a little bit of everything, you could also say it's a great choice for the indecisive eater.
Mixed Grains with Chickpeas + Lentils
1/3 cup dry green lentils
1/2 cup black rice
1/3 cup freekah
1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup pistachios
3 tablespoon dried cranberries
2/3 cup fennel fronds, chopped
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cover lentils, rice, and freekah with plenty of water. Bring to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer until cooked, 20-25 minutes. Drain.
In a food processor, blend all dressing ingredients until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine cooked grains and legumes with chickpeas, almonds, pistachios, dried cranberries, fennel fronds, and parsley; toss well with dressing. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.