Greek Ospriada, a Mixed Bean, Bulgur and Herb Salad

Ospriada is a mixture of dried legumes – including black eyed beans, fat and medium white beans, kidney beans, black beans and green lentils – which are gently cultivated on quiet and tranquil organic farms close to the little known Prespa Lakes which are tucked between the borders of Albania ,the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Greek region of Macedonia – also famous for the much beloved gigantes and the sublime chestnut-flavoured giant black beans. Its rich mosaic of colours make the perfect base for soups but, at this time of year, I also like to use it as the basis of nutritious robust salads like this one which provide the perfect end to fast days.

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

150g ospriada, Greek dried mixed beans
100g bulgur wheat (I used bulgur with vermicelli which you can pick up in Middle Eastern markets)
20g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
20g dill, roughly chopped
20g coriander, roughly chopped
100ml Greek extra-virgin olive oil, I use Raphael’s Organic
2 tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
1 small red onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
2 ripe plum tomatoes, de-seeded and roughly chopped
A handful of pistachios, roughly chopped
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground mixed peppercorns

How I make it

The night before you plan to serve the salad place the beans in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak. The following morning, drain the beans and place them in a large pan. Cover with freshly drawn cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until they are cooked, around an hour. Drain and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, place the bulgur in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak until the grains are soft, around 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Place the herbs in a small food processor with the olive oil and vinegar and blend into a smooth paste. Add the herb oil, the onion and the tomatoes to the beans and bulgur and mix together. Season generously and set aside for a couple of hours to enable the flavours to mingle.

When you’re ready to eat, drizzle with olive oil, garnish with the pistachios and serve at room temperature.

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