The iconic Cypriot grain salad with lentils, herbs, nuts, seeds topped with a delicious honey yoghurt dressing and juicy pomegranate seeds. A crowd pleaser perfect for summer BBQ’s and the holiday season!
This Cypriot grain salad has been a crowd pleaser for YEARS!
I wish I could take full credit for this recipe. But it is actually chef George Calombaris’ famous salad from his ‘Hellenic Republic’ Greek restaurant in Melbourne.
It’s packed full of grains, protein rich lentils, fresh herbs, nuts, seeds and then dolloped with a very generous amount of honey cumin yoghurt dressing. We top it off with sweet, juicy pomegranate seeds for the ultimate touch.
Despite the lengthy ingredient list, it’s actually a really simple summer salad to make and bursts with flavour! I love bringing it to BBQs, Christmas parties or any celebration. This salad pairs perfectly with any kind of roast meat or seafood.
Ingredients you’ll need
This Hellenic Republic’s Cypriot grain salad is made with 15 simple nutritious ingredients.
- Quinoa or freekah: use whichever you have on hand or save time by using a store-bought packet of precooked brown rice. Even barley!
- Lentils: either use a can of lentils or cook some Puy or black lentils like I did.
- Nuts & seeds: Pumpkin seeds, pine nuts & slivered almonds are lightly toasted for added crunch. Feel free to use one type and increase the amount used.
- Herbs: Cypriot Grain Salad gets its beautiful freshness from coriander and parsley. Neither of these herbs are over-powering (including the coriander!).
- Red Onion: chopped finely.
- Capers: baby capers add a BIG flavour punch to the Cypriot Grain Salad.
- Currants: Add little tiny bursts of sweet flavour.
- Lemon juice & olive Oil: These are used to combine the salad ingredients together.
- Plain yoghurt: use a thick Greek or natural yoghurt.
- Honey: adds a lovely sweetness to the yoghurt dressing. Alternatively use maple syrup.
- Ground Cumin
- Pomegranate Seeds: either deseed your own pomegranate or buy a packet of pomegranate seeds from the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket.
How to make Cypriot salad
You only need about 25 minutes to make a delicious Cypriot Grain Salad.
Cook the freekah or quinoa according to the packet instructions.
Toast the nuts & seeds: in a frying pan over a medium heat until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
Combine the salad ingredients: In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients including the lemon juice and olive oil. Mix until very well combined. Transfer to a serving dish.
Prepare the yoghurt dressing: Place the Greek yoghurt, honey and ground cumin into a bowl. Mix together until well combined.
When ready to serve: dollop the dressing over the top of the salad and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds (see below for tips!)
Tips and variations
- Instead of peeling a pomegranate, get packaged pomegranate seeds from the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket. However, these tend to only be available at Christmas time*.
- To save time use a can of lentils and packaged precooked quinoa or brown rice.
- Use quinoa to make this a gluten free Cypriot salad.
How to store
This Cypriot salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Dried fruit: Raisins or cranberries can be used instead of the currents.
- Nuts/ seeds: You can use one type of preferred.
- Dairy free: use coconut yoghurt instead of Greek yogurt if needed
Can I leave the coriander out?
I know not everyone loves the flavour of coriander (cilantro), but it blends beautifully in this salad and isn’t overpowering at all. I recommend keeping the coriander, but if you absolutely cannot stand it, swap it for mint.
How do you deseed a pomegranate?
- Score 4 lines from top to bottom, to quarter your pomegranate.
- Submerge the pomegranate quarters into a bowl of cold water and gently release the seeds with your fingers. Gently pat dry the seeds with paper towels.
Can this recipe be frozen?
This salad is not suitable for freezing.
More nutritious salad recipes
If you try this Cypriot grain salad recipe or have a question, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.Print
The iconic Cypriot grain salad with lentils, herbs, nuts, seeds topped with a delicious honey yoghurt dressing and juicy pomegranate seeds. A crowd pleaser, perfect for summer BBQ’s and the holiday season!
- 2 cups cooked Freekeh or quinoa*
- 1 cup cooked lentils or canned*
- 1/2 red onion
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons silvered almonds
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt + pepper
- 1 pomegranate, deseeded
- 1 cup greek yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Cook the frrekah or quinoa and lentils according to the packet directions. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and pine nuts in a frying pan over low heat. Cook, shaking for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, place the cooled freekah (or quinoa), lentils, the cooled nuts and seeds, chopped coriander and parsley, red onion, capers and currants.
- Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a screw-top jar; shake well. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
- To make the yoghurt dressing, place the Greek yoghurt, ground cumin and honey into a bowl. Stir until combined.
- When ready to serve, spoon the dressing over the top of the salad then sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.
- Leftovers: store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Pomegranate seeds: either deseed your own or buy packaged pomegranate seeds from the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket.
- Grains + lentils: Use a packet of precooked quinoa/ brown rice and canned lentils