This salad just shouts ‘on-trend’ comprising as it does vegetables, legumes and grains and, as a natural rebel, I should hate it, but in fact I find it makes a good lunch.

I originally threw it together as a way of using the Job’s tears I’d bought following a trip to The Queen’s Gallery in London. But in fact you can use any other ‘on-trend’ grain such as farro, pearl barley, spelt, or even ‘old hat’ ones such as couscous or quinoa (yes, I know quinoa is technically a seed).

If you have any celery to use up this goes rather well with the chard. Throw that in too.

 

For 4

 

  • 100g/½ cup grains – let’s say Job’ tears
  • 400g/14 oz/small bunch chard
  • 1 bunch spring onions, white end and a little of the green sliced finely
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
  • 1 tin (265g/9 oz) drained flageolet beans
  • 80g/3 oz/about 5 sundried tomatoes (if they are in oil, add a little of this too), chopped
  • A few leaves of fresh basil
  • A handful of pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. thick and sticky good quality balsamic vinegar (or you can use pomegranate molasses)
  • Indonesian long pepper
  • Olive oil for frying – or some of the oil from the sundried tomatoes

 

  1. Cook your selected grain according to the instructions on the packet. In the case of Job’s tears this is likely to entail simmering for about an hour in about four times the amount of the Job’s tears of water (ie 2 cups/480 ml). Drain the grain.
  2. Meanwhile take the woody stems off the chard (if you are using Swiss chard) and shred the leaves that remain. You can chop the stems into lengths and cook them as well – they will take a bit longer so add them in a minute or so earlier, with any lengths of stringed celery you happen to have. Otherwise just throw them away.
  3. Pour a little oil into a large frying pan, and add the garlic and chard. Cook for a minute or two then add the cooked grain, the drained flageolet beans, the olives, the sundried tomatoes and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Serve the salad on an oval platter with a drizzle of thick balsamic vinnegar and the basil leaves torn over.

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