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Freekeh Salad

This salad isn’t traditional. It is mainly a lot of things I like to put into a salad and it turned out great.

Freekeh is a very traditional grain used mostly in the Levant and very much so in Palestine. We usually make it into a soup or use it as a substitute for rice.

The name for Freekeh comes from the Arabic word “farek”, which means to rub, and this tells us how it is actually made. Freekeh is green wheat that is roasted and rubbed, which gives it its nutty flavour.

I am constantly seeing Freekeh popping up on different restaurant menus and it has even been dubbed a super food. I am really happy that people are getting to know this amazing grain, which is one of my absolute favourites. If you like bulgur wheat and barley, you’ll probably want to give Freekeh a try, because chances are you are going to love it!

This salad isn’t traditional. It is mainly a lot of things I like put into a salad and it turned out great.

I feel like every ingredient plays a role. The Freekeh gives nuttiness, the beetroot earthiness, the radishes spiciness, the chickpeas creaminess, the cucumbers freshness, and the feta gives it saltiness. This sounds like a lot of different flavours, but I promise you they all work in perfect harmony in this salad.

We want to start by cooking our Freekeh. This Freekeh has been washed and soaked in water for about an hour. I like to almost toast it a bit in some olive oil just to bring out the nuttiness. Then we add water. The ratio is one cup Freekeh to one and a half cups water. If you are making this as a rice substitute, you can cook it in broth to give it extra flavour. Once this comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover it and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the Freekeh is soft and the water is absorbed.

While the Freekeh cooks, you can chop up your vegetables. I don’t like to cut them too finely because I like each ingredient to stand out.

You want your Freekeh to look pretty much like rice. Make sure you fluff it up with a fork and then dress it with some lemon juice and olive oil while it is still hot and set it down to cool. This allows it to soak up some extra flavour.

Once your Freekeh has cooled, toss it together with the veggies, dress it with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. The key to a good salad is tasting it after you dress it and tweaking it to your liking.

Place it in a serving bowl, top with the feta cheese and you’re done!

And that’s it. This salad is so simple and versatile, you can eat it as is, pair it with your favourite protein, or have it as a side dish. I hope you love it as much as I do. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups Freekeh (washed and soaked for an hour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • ½ an English cucumber
  • 6-8 radishes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and put in boiling water for a few minutes
  • 3 sprigs of spring onions
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 3 beetroots (cooked)
  • 100g feta cheese
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Dressing

  • ½ cup lemon juice (or to taste)
  • ½ cup olive oil (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. We want to start by cooking our Freekeh. This Freekeh has been washed and soaked in water for about an hour. I like to almost toast it a bit in some olive oil just to bring out the nuttiness. Then we add water. The ratio is 1 cup Freekeh to 1 and a half cups water. If you are making this as a rice substitute, you could cook it in broth to give it extra flavour. Once this comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover it and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the Freekeh is soft and the water is absorbed.
  2. While the Freekeh cooks, you can chop up your vegetables. I don’t like to cut them too finely because I like each ingredient to stand out.
  3. The Freekeh should look like rice when it is cooked. Fluff it up with a fork and dress with lemon zest, juice and olive oil. Leave to cool. You can do this the day before.
  4. Once the Freekeh is cooled, toss with the rest of the vegetables and dress with olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
  5. Place in a serving platter and top with feta cheese. You can have it on its own, pair it with the protein of your choice, like grilled chicken skewers, or have it as a side dish.
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