Freekeh Salad with Apricots, Grilled Halloumi and Zucchini
Photo courtesy of Ryan Robert Miller

When it comes to whole grains, we’ve mastered quinoa and farro, bulgur and brown rice. But we weren’t familiar with freekeh until we tried the recipe for this fresh, hearty grain salad in Jeanne Kelley’s Salad for Dinner. In her salad-centric book, Kelley introduces us to a grassy ancient grain that’s made from sun-dried and toasted green wheat. With additions of fresh apricots, grilled zucchini and the firm, salty grilling cheese called halloumi, this freekeh salad has summer supper written all over it.

Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups freekeh

Kosher salt

1¼ pounds zucchini (about 3 or 4 medium), quartered lengthwise

½ teaspoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

One 9-ounce package halloumi cheese, cut into ½-inch-thick slices

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

4 firm ripe apricots, pitted and thinly sliced

8 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only

½ cup roughly chopped toasted pistachios

½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. In a large saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the freekeh and stir constantly until the grains are coated with the olive oil and lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.

2. Add 3½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the water is level with the freekeh and holes appear in the center of the cooking grain, about 10 minutes. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until all the water is absorbed and the freekeh is tender, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer the freekeh to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.

3. Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot grill or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin seed, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Brush the halloumi generously with olive oil. Grill the zucchini and halloumi until the zucchini is browned on all sides and tender, turning occasionally, and the halloumi is browned on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the vinegar and garlic. Add the dressing, apricots, scallions, pistachios and parsley to the freekeh. Cut the zucchini and halloumi into ½-inch pieces and add to the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

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