It is quite a good thing, to have a decent ‘pantry salad’ up your sleeve. Our pantry at home is always full of the staples; tins of various legumes, many tins of tomatoes, white and brown basmati rice, pasta, quinoa, barley and other nutritious grains, and a large variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. If ever I am in need of an emergency meal – which actually is fairly often, I can always whip something up from the bits and pieces in my kitchen cupboard. Today was no exception. People on their way over, not a lot in the fridge. I headed straight for the pantry.
This grain salad is a great base recipe to build on. I generally use rice, quinoa, chickpeas, lentils – however they are all subject to pantry availability. You can swap quinoa for another favourite grain, chickpeas for another legume, sultanas for currants, and so on. You do not need to be fussy with the quantities either, more of this, less of that, it doesn’t matter really. Depending on the season you could even add some lovely roasted vegetables. Or some raw juicy salad veggies in the summertime. Endlessly versatile. And that is precisely why it is still in my repertoire after all these years.
Grain Salad with chilli + feta
-1/2 cup basmati rice (i prefer golden basmati, extra long grain)
-1/2 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained
-tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-tin of lentils, rinsed and drained
-1/3 cup sultanas
-1 red onion, diced
-1/2 a bird’s eye chilli, diced as finely as possible
-1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
-large handful parsley leaves, chopped
-80g feta, cubed
-generous glug of olive oil
Place rice and quinoa together into a rice cooker with 1 and 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt (you could also use a pot on the stove and cook them together using absorption method, but I have been quite lazy of late and have been giving the old rice cooker a bit of a workout).
Place red onion, pinch of salt and a big glug of olive oil in a skillet over medium – low heat. cook gently, stirring intermittently, until onion is soft and transparent.
Add chickpeas, lentils, sultanas, chopped herbs and diced chilli to a large bowl. When the grains are cooked, pop them into the same bowl. Add the onion plus all of the oil from the pan. Another pinch of salt, then toss thoroughly, until the all the ingredients are well combined.
Add the cubed feta and fold through gently. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. You could also add a touch more olive oil if you think it needs it.
Serves 3 – 4