Recipe: Fall Harvest Freekeh Salad

Recipe: Fall Harvest Freekeh Salad

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Kelli Foster
Nov 27, 2018
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

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.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

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

Serves 4

  • For the 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 leaves (stems 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

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • For the balsamic Dijon vinaigrette:
  • 3 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons

    balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 clove

    garlic, minced

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2/3 cup

    olive oil

Arrange a rack in the middle the oven and heat to 400°F.

Place the whole-grain freekeh, water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, roast the squash.

Place the butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with the salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer. Roast, stirring halfway through, untl tender, about 25 minutes total. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.

Place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Top with the cooked freekeh, butternut squash, apple, black beans, dried cherries, and pecans. Toss to combine; set aside.

For the vinaigrette:

Place the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine. Serve warm or chilled.

Recipe Notes

Adding protein: Want to make this salad into a meal? Top it with grilled chicken, sliced steak, or tofu.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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