There are a couple of very awesome things about this blog post. First, it is pomegranate season and I can get my hands on the fruit at nearly every grocery store and they aren’t going to break the bank. Heck, even Walgreens has fresh pomegranate arils next to the Naked juices and RedBull.
Second, I finally found an excuse to make whole-grain sorghum. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some quinoa on the regular, and rice is a staple in these parts, but sometimes you really need to try something new.
When I went gluten-free 8 years ago, it was a nerve-wracking, difficult process. There were so many foods with crazy names – back then quinoa wasn’t a culinary buzzword and no one had any idea how to pronounce it. And if you didn’t have a Whole Foods or an ethnic grocery store nearby, you were not going to find it.
But those foods are now routine and ordinary in my diet. I eat buckwheat soba noodles and black bean spaghetti. I get annoyed when Whole Foods tells me they can’t find a local grower of kohlrabi.
Gah. Something happened to me. I became adventurous when it came to safe foods just so that things stay interesting. Which brings me to sorghum. I have used “sweet” sorghum in my gluten-free baking for a few years now. In flour form it isn’t gritty like rice flour or strongly flavored like teff, amaranth or quinoa flours. So, when I stumbled across this bag of whole grain sorghum when I was grocery shopping, I just had to buy it.
I am told the chewy texture is similar to wheat berries or faro, so it is great for salads. It has a mild nutty flavor but none of the bitterness of quinoa. It works well as a substitute for bulgur/cracked wheat in this recipe, and I suspect it would be equally as delicious in other similar dishes.
Combine the nutty sorghum with fresh herbs and pomegranates and you have a delightful salad that is delicious both warm and cold. A perfect dish for in-season pomegranates (yay!) and the wild roller coaster that is a Chicago fall…
- 500 grams (3 cups) dry, pearled sorghum*
- 9 cups water
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 small, sweet pepper or 1/2 of a large sweet pepper, pureed or finely minced**
- 1/2 red jalapeño pureed or finely minced**
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
- 2 tomatoes roughly chopped (about 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 cucumber chopped in 1/2 inch dice
- 1 bunch green onions finely sliced
- 1 bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat combine the water and the sorghum. Generously salt the water (2 large pinches of sea salt is perfect) and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the pot leaving the lid slightly askew. Cook the grains for 55-60 minutes.
- About 15 minutes before your sorghum is cooked, chop your vegetables and herbs.
- When your sorghum is cooked and the water is mostly absorbed- it will be chewier than quinoa or rice – drain any excess water (if there is more than a couple of tablespoons).
- Add the pomegranate molasses, sweet pepper, jalapeño, tahini, cumin, black pepper and garlic to the cooked sorghum. Stir for about 10 minutes, making sure that everything is combined well and that the grain is absorbing the flavors.
- Now, add about 3/4 of each of the following: pomegranate seeds, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, mint and parsley. Stir until you have an even distribution.
- Use the remaining herbs and vegetables as a garnish when you transfer the salad to a serving dish.