I love my grain dishes warm. Not a problem for work day lunches where there’s a fleet of microwaves for the growing number of people who troop in with their lunch boxes. But the last week I’ve been on an intensive study course for a wine exam and there were no such luxuries. As I was so behind in my studying (little did I know that I should have read the text book thoroughly before my course) I had no time to go out and buy lunch, instead I was swotting up on vine cultivation, the wine making process and all sorts weird and wonderful grapes of the world.
Anyway, I wanted an easily transportable, filling and nourishing dish rather than a sandwich that goes soggy by 10 am. But had to be palatable cold. For this I decided to go with a more chewy grain than my usual quinoa (cold pasta does not float my boat either). As we’d been eating lots of rice and curry over the weekend, I went for freekeh which is a young wheat, roasted to burn off its husk. So teaming it with roasted peppers to play with its slightly smoky flavour seemed a good idea. This then led me to throw in a load of walnuts to contrast with the sweet peppers, the sweet dressing and the minty er…mint (which I use quite a lot of, up to 100g, here). The result? A dish that tastes awesome hot or cold!
Ingredients (serves 4/8 main/side dish)
½ tbsp oil to roast
2-3 large onions
Oil to fry
Fresh mint (at least 25g)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 lemon – juiced
Preheat oven 200 fan/220 conventional
- Slice up the peppers, toss them in your roasting oil of choice and cook for around 45 minutes until soft, juicy and beginning to blacken around the edges.
- 15 minutes before the pepper is done, throw in the walnuts and let them lightly roast too.
- Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients.
- Slice the onions finely and fry in a generous slug of oil until golden.
- Cook the freekeh according to packet instruction.
- When freekeh is cooked, drain any excess water before pouring the dressing over, giving a stir and replacing the saucepan lid and letting the grains absorb the marinade for a few minutes.
- Finely shred the mint and once the peppers, walnuts and onions are ready, stir them through the freekeh and garnish with mint.