Spring Freekeh Salad: I cooked up this new-to-me ancient grain then tossed it with artichokes, asparagus, peppers and cucumbers for a sublime side dish.
Spring Freekeh Salad
The calendar says spring, but the thermometer does not. With asparagus plentiful in the market, it was time to make seasonal recipes despite needing to wear a down coat to run my errands. And I figured by the time I posted this recipe, we’d be dealing with April showers, bulbs blossoming and a lush green yard. My friend, Vicki, of At Home with Vicki Bensinger shared a recipe for Freekeh Tabbouleh a few weeks ago. I loved the sound of this whole grain hailing from the Middle East and knew a freekeh salad with spring veggies would be on the menu soon. I can see shaking this up with all sorts of other ingredients like chunks of cheese, halved grape tomatoes, minced celery. Go for whatever sounds good to you.
What the heck is Freekeh?
Freekeh, according to the label on my package from Bob’s Red Mill, has a subtle smoky flavor from its traditional roasting method and a chewy texture. Rumor says it was “discovered” by accident over 2,000 years ago when some green wheat caught on fire. When the exterior coating was rubbed off (a process called freekeh), this grain was born. It can be used in place of any of your favorite grains like farro, brown rice, quinoa, or wheat berries in soups, salads, cooked cereals, risottos and more. It’s full of fiber, protein and low carb to boot.
- 3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup freekeh, cooked and drained according to package instructions (I cooked in chicken broth, but salted water is fine, too).
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2-1 cup asparagus tips and tender stalks cut into 2-inch pieces (reserve tougher ends for soup), steamed and cooled
- In a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients except for olive oil. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking continuously until incorporated.
- When freekeh has cooled to room temperature, toss it with as much of the vinaigrette as desired (I used most of it). Add the vegetables and toss to combine.
- Serve at room temperature.
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