I think salads can often be maligned as a boring, bitter, only-eat-if-you-got-no-other-option type of dish. And sometimes, salads are the forgotten cousin, thrown into a menu as a side so that some people can push around salad leaves on their plate to assuage their guilt.

Well, salads don’t have to be sad, and if you’re not a fan of leaves, they don’t have to be leafy either!

Here, I’m inspired by a quinoa salad that Karen Martini created using super foods in the Special K Nourish range, and decided to recreate it using ingredients that I conveniently have sitting in the cupboards.

A salad of black rice and pearl cous cous, served with a roasted garlic and tahini dressing, greek yoghurt, baby beetroot and smoked almonds. Here, it is served on a blue-rimmed tin plate and laid next to a fork and spoon, on a blue tea towel.

Grain Salad
Serves 4

1 cup black (forbidden) rice**
1 cup pearl cous cous (moghrabieh)

[For the dressing]
1 head garlic
1 tbsp tahini
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
100ml water
salt and pepper to taste

[To serve]
300g cooked and peeled baby beetroot*, cut into wedges
Greek yoghurt
Smoked almonds, roughly chopped

To prepare the dressing, heat the oven to 150C. Cut the bulb of garlic in half horizontally, and place in a square of aluminium foil large enough to wrap around the garlic. Add a splash of olive oil. Close the aluminium foil loosely around the garlic, and roast the garlic in the oven for about 40min to 1hr, or just till the garlic is aromatic and lightly browned, and the cloves are soft and tender.

When the garlic is roasted and tender, squeeze out the cloves into a food processor – or a jug if you have an immersion (stick) blender. Add the tahini and vinegar, and blend. Then add the oil and water and blend till smooth. It should have the consistency of warmed honey.

Then cook the cous cous and black rice separately according to packet directions. Drain well.

Mix the grains in a bowl with a light splash of olive oil.

Serve the mixed cous cous and black rice on a plate, topped with the baby beetroot, a drizzle of the dressing, a few dollops of greek yoghurt and the chopped smoked almonds. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you’d like.

This can also be a great vegan option if you omit the greek yoghurt.

*These can also be bought pre-packaged for convenience
**You can use any mixture of grains you’d like. I’ve used black rice here because I had a packet of it readily available, but quinoa and freekah are great in this as well.

This is also a fantastic salad to pack for a work lunch – simply pack the dressing and smoked almonds separately, and mix when you’re ready to eat! Simple and delicious, this is also one lunch that won’t weigh you down for the rest of the day.


  1. erin @ erinmadethis.com September 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    This looks so yum! I have been making a tahini type dressing a lot lately and I am obsessed!

  2. Pearl - Pretty Mayhem September 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    My husband was just saying last night that we needed to find new salad recipes for the summer so this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Thanks for sharing the recipe, it looks stunning!

  3. Kim @Landofzonkt September 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Oh I agree, so many people think that salads have to be boring but that’s so not the case. Some of my favourite dishes are salads… & it’s not all lettuce.

    My MIL does a delicious cauliflower salad, that so many wouldn’t think of doing.
    Just like this, how delicious. I like the idea of tahini that’s be a nice flavour base… & sweeting up with the beet root! Yum

  4. Vanny @Nessy Eater September 29, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Firstly, heart the new layout! And woah that salad looks good 😀


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