Say hello to your must-try fall lunch: fall harvest freekeh salad! If you’re brand new to the world of freekeh, this salad is an easy and delicious way to get your feet wet. And if freekeh is already a regular part of your diet, then this is a recipe you’ll definitely want to add to your stash!
This salad is a culmination of all of my favorite salad-y things in one bowl. It’s part dark leafy green salad and part whole-grain salad — plus it's full of fun, seasonal goodies I love, like crisp apples and roasted butternut squash.
The base of the salad is a mix of shredded kale and cooked whole-grain freekeh, which has a similar texture and mouthfeel to wheat berries. It's firm, yet chewy, with an earthy, nutty taste.
From there, the salad gets loaded with black beans, toasted pecans, and some of fall’s best produce: diced apples and roasted butternut squash. When trying new-to-me foods like freekeh, I always find it helpful to pair them with ingredients I use and eat on a regular basis; this gives me a better feel for how the new food really fits into my meals. I love Honeycrisp or Empire apples in this salad, but you can certainly use your favorite variety. It’s also up to you whether you want to leave the apple skin on or peel it off.
This salad is also an ideal make-ahead lunch. Prep everything on Sunday and have a few days of lunch packed and ready to go. Since this salad uses kale, which is pretty hearty, you can safely make this ahead of time without worrying about wilty greens.
→ Everyday Freekeh Meals is out now! Find Kelli's book here: Everyday Freekeh Meals by Kelli Dunn
→ Read more about Everyday Freekeh Meals at Kelli's personal blog: The Corner Kitchen
Fall Harvest Freekeh Salad
1/2 cup whole-grain freekeh
1 1/2 cups water
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups kale (center rib removed), finely shredded
1 medium apple, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup toasted pecans
Freshly ground pepper
Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small saucepan, combine the whole-grain freekeh, water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 40 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Spread the squash across a baking sheet, in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.
Add the shredded kale to a large salad bowl. Top with the cooked whole-grain freekeh, butternut squash, apple, black beans, dried cherries, and pecans. Toss together and top with vinaigrette.
For the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and continue mixing until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as necessary.
- Serve the squash and freekeh warm or chilled; it’s up to you!
- Want to make this salad into a meal? Top it with grilled chicken, sliced steak, or tofu.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)