Freekeh Salad with Spring Vegetables

Move on over quinoa! There’s a “new kid” in town…Freekeh Salad with Spring Vegetables highlights this unique grain with its chewy, smoky complexity, and delivers tons of flavor and nutrients. With seasonal spring vegetables like English peas, fresh radishes, and carrots, it makes a beautiful spring salad/side dish. Add chick peas for a healthy vegetarian dish, or (our favorite) top with a salmon fillet!

Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad with English peas, radishes, baby carrots tossed with a citrus dill vinaigrette in a white bowl with fresh carrots alongside.

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

~~ Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective

It’s March 1, and spring should be just around the corner? (In the northern hemisphere  😉 ). For those in the frozen north, I know you long for signs of spring.

For this girl in deep south Texas on the Gulf, spring can be elusive. We had snow this winter (highly unusual), and nearly lost our 3 banana trees to the freezing temperatures. And then it was summer… We hit 93 degrees and humid in mid-February. Geez!

Spring is a wonderful season for produce in gardens and kitchens alike. How many of your favorite vegetables make an appearance in early spring? My list includes English peas, radishes, and real “baby” and heirloom carrots featured in my Freekeh Salad with Spring Vegetables, but artichokes and asparagus are right up there! What are your favorites? Or do you merely tolerate vegetables?

🍚 What is Freekeh?

Freekeh is wheat (and therefore NOT gluten free) that is harvested while still young and green, then toasted and cracked. While still mostly unknown in the US, it has been a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking for thousands of years.

Freekeh is a “super grain,” loaded with fiber, protein, and nutrients. It contains more fiber and protein than quinoa, and provides calcium, iron, and zinc. It may be tolerated by individuals with wheat sensitivity due to the fact that it has not evolved the way our modern wheat has.

I love both the flavor and texture of freekeh. It’s a bit smoky and nutty, and holds its texture very well. It cooks in 25 minutes – more quickly than brown rice and barley. You’ll love it in salads, hot dishes, and as a simple pilaf to go with your main… You may even love it for breakfast!

Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad  with fresh English peas, purple carrots, radishes in a white salad bowl with blood orange and meyer lemon.

Salad Ingredients

  • broth or water
  • freekeh – Freekeh comes in both quick-cook and regular varieties. Be sure to check package instructions.
  • carrots – I got gorgeous young purple carrots at the farmers’ market. While I love raw carrots, I love them even more roasted to crisp tender with a bit of caramelization. I cut them into bite-sized thin wedges, and roasted them at 400 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil and flaked salt. You can substitute grated carrots or tiny dice. You don’t want big hunks of raw carrot!  😀 
  • English peas – Fresh is best, but frozen peas will work. Rinse them thoroughly to thaw, and do not cook them.
  • radishes – I LOVE Easter egg radishes that are available in the spring!
  • herbs – I use dill and chives from my garden. If you must use dried dill, reduce amount by half.
  • cheese – Crumbled feta or chevre is optional, and not vegan.
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper

Citrus Dill Vinaigrette

  • citrus juice – We’re at the height of citrus season in the Rio Grande Valley. I used half blood orange and half meyer lemon juice. Grapefruit and tangerine would be great choices as well. If you use regular lemon and/or lime juice, you may need to adjust the sweetness to taste.
  • olive oil
  • vinegar – I like white wine or champagne vinegar. Rice vinegar is another good option.
  • honey – Maple syrup or agave nectar are good substitutions. Agave nectar requires less, so add half, taste, and adjust as needed.
  • dijon mustard
  • shallot – Red or sweet onion is fine as well.
  • fresh dill – If you must use dried dill, cut the quantity by half.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊

  1. Cook the freekeh – Add the freekeh and salt to boiling water in a medium saucepan. Please refer to package instructions. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed (varies from brand to brand). Remove from heat, and allow it to stand covered for 5 minutes. Remove to a large mixing bowl or prep bowl to cool completely.
  2. Make the dressing – While the freekeh cooks, prep the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a small blender, and blend until smooth. Season. Taste, and adjust as needed. Set aside.
  3. Prep all salad ingredients – Bite-sized pieces are important, but beyond that, you have options. I love to roast baby rainbow carrots, but it’s not necessary. I just love the additional flavor of the caramelization. If using fresh English peas, you may want to steam or boil them until crisp-tender. I put them in a microwave safe bowl with water, and cook 3 minutes (they’re still pretty crisp!). Don’t salt them while they cook as that can make them tough. See How to Cook Peas Four Easy Ways.
  4. Make the salad – Add the prepared vegetables to the bowl, along with cheese (if using). Pour on the Citrus Dill Vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Garnish as desired, and enjoy!

Can I store leftovers?

Yes! This healthy salad keeps really well in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days.

What other vegetables can I use?

Diced summer squash and asparagus delicious, but almost any will work. Choose your favorites.

I can’t find freekeh. What can I substitute?

Cooked quinoa, couscous, bulgur, barley will all work!

💭 Tips

  • Refer to your freekeh package for amount of liquid under “basic instructions.” The freekeh that I use requires 2 1/2 cups liquid, but they’re not all the same!
  • On a lucky spring day, I can get my hands on a package of fresh shelled English peas (YUM!). I lightly steam them. Frozen petite peas are a good substitution. I just give them a good rinse until they’re completely thawed, and drain them.
  • Cheese is optional. We love feta or chevre, but you can use your favorite or skip it entirely for a vegan salad.
  • We’re at the height of citrus season in the Rio Grande Valley. I used half blood orange and half meyer lemon juice. Grapefruit and tangerine would be great choices as well. If you use regular lemon and/or lime juice, you may need to adjust the sweetness to taste.

In creating this freekeh salad, I was looking for fresh, spring flavors using seasonal ingredients. No herb says “spring” IMHO than dill. The dill in my herb garden is plentiful in early spring (before the heat of south Texas takes its toll!).

Adding cheese is optional, and if you’re dairy sensitive, you’ll still love the salad in its absence… We love it with both feta and chèvre, with feta having the edge. I had a chunk of chèvre that needed to be used on photo shoot day, so if you see cheese at all in the photos, that’s what you’re seeing. Dicing or crumbling chèvre is not really an option.

Lastly, this delicious and nutritious freekeh salad is easily turned into a main dish. For the vegetarian, add beans or legumes. I highly recommend chick peas! For seafood lovers like me, a salmon portion perched on top is perfection! In fact, on photo shoot day, we topped our Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad with a sous vide salmon fillet with meyer lemon and fresh dill. YUM!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad on a white plate with Salmon and a print napkin.
Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad in a white bowl with serving spoon and cloth napkin.

Freekeh Salad with Spring Vegetables and Citrus Dill Vinaigrette

This healthy and substantial salad highlights freekeh with its chewy, smoky complexity, and delivers tons of flavor and nutrients. Tossed with spring vegetables and a citrus dill vinaigrette, it will elevate your simple, grilled mains!
5 from 27 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 349 kcal

Equipment

  • Ninja Personal Blender

Ingredients
  

Spring Vegetables Freekeh Salad

  • broth or water - see Notes below
  • 1 cup freekeh - see Notes below
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium carrots - see Notes below
  • 1 cup English peas - see Notes below
  • 1 bunch radishes - thin sliced
  • dill and chives - for garnish
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta or chevre - optional
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper - to taste

Citrus Dill Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup fresh citrus juice - see Notes below
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot - cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill - finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • several grinds fresh pepper

Instructions

  • Add the freekeh and salt to boiling water in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid most of the liquid is absorbed (varies; check package time). Remove from heat, and allow it to stand covered for 5 minutes. Remove to a large mixing bowl or prep bowl to cool completely.
  • While the freekeh cooks, prep the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a small blender, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Bite-sized pieces are important, but beyond that, you have options. I love to roast baby rainbow carrots, but it's not necessary. I just love the additional flavor of the caramelization. If using fresh English peas, you may want to steam or boil them until crisp-tender. I put them in a microwave safe bowl with water, and cook 3 minutes (they're still pretty crisp!). Don't salt them while they cook as that can make them tough. See
    .
  • Add the prepared vegetables to the bowl, along with cheese (if using). Pour on the Citrus Dill Vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Garnish as desired, and enjoy!

Notes

Refer to your freekeh package for amount of liquid under and cooking time under “basic instructions.” The Bob’s Red Mill freekeh that I use requires 2 1/2 cups liquid, but they’re not all the same!
I got gorgeous young purple carrots at the farmers’ market. While I love raw carrots, I love them even more roasted to crisp tender with a bit of caramelization. I cut them into bite-sized thin wedges, and roasted them at 400 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil and flaked salt. You can substitute grated carrots or tiny dice. You don’t want big hunks of raw carrot!  😀 
On a lucky spring day, I can get my hands on a package of fresh shelled English peas (YUM!). I lightly steam them. Frozen petite peas are a good substitution. I just give them a good rinse until they’re completely thawed, and drain them.
We’re at the height of citrus season in the Rio Grande Valley. I used half blood orange and half meyer lemon juice. Grapefruit and tangerine would be great choices as well. If you use regular lemon and/or lime juice, you may need to adjust the sweetness to taste.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 349 calories; 11 g protein; 41 g carbohydrates; 15 g fat. Includes 1/4 cup feta and all of the vinaigrette.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🥗 More Heart Healthy Salads

Share this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

43 Comments

  1. This whole dish sounds amazing, but I’m particularly drooling over that citrus dill vinaigrette! I can’t wait to give this a try!

  2. This salad looks beautiful and very delicious! definitely want to try it) I love dill vinaigrette!

  3. I’ve never heard of Freekah before. I’m big into superfoods and nutritious grains, so I need to find some and give them a try. This salad looks delicious

  4. This sounds amazing – I especially love the sound of dill in the vinaigrette! What a lovely salad for spring. I practically feel warmer just looking at the photos. 🙂

  5. I am a big fan of dill, sadly so is our goat, and he will reach over the fence and nibble the tops off!!! I really must dig it up and move it further from the fence. Although he would probably try and jump the fence.

    Feekeh is such an underused grain. I have to go to a specialist deli over an hour away to buy it. (That isn’t a hardship as it is a beautiful place for a day trip….and I can always take a trip to the deli!)

    This just looks stunning!!!! I can see a trip to fremantle deli coming up soon!

  6. I have NEVER heard of freekeh. I am always game to try new ingredients, and love Bob Mill products. This sounds like a nice hearty salad. I love the taste of dill…so that dressing would be amazing for sure. I can think of lots of places I would love to use it too.

  7. I love this idea because freekeh is one of our favorites at the moment! Your vinaigrette sounds ideal for all the veggies!

  8. Hey Tamara! This salad is really making me miss the green grass and the warm weather! Lots of colors and flavors in this dish. Chef approved!

  9. I have never had freekah but this looks AMAZING and I absolutely have to make it! All of those fresh spring vegetables are just perfect, yummy!

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever had Freekeh! I’ll have to look for it at the market, because this salad looks fantastic. The vinaigrette sounds so lovely – citrus and dill make such a beautiful pairing!

  11. I love the change of seasons, and all that comes with it – although we are very much lacking your weather! Such a beautiful salad, and that dressing sounds so fresh and tangy! I’m bookmarking it to try when the weather warms up!!

    1. I’m one to always be looking for new ingredients, and they eventually end up on my blog! Be sure to look in the Bob’s Red Mill section of your market. You may find it there!

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever had Freekeh! I’ll have to look for it at the market, because this salad looks fantastic. The vinaigrette sounds so lovely – citrus and dill make such a beautiful pairing!

    1. Thank you! I’ve heard that from a lot of people Amanda! I only discovered it a few months ago. I love to introduce people to new ingredients. 🙂

    1. Haha, thanks Matt! We’re enjoying the warm weather now, but we’ve already hit 100 degrees. We really don’t have winter in the Rio Grande Valley 😉

  13. I love the change of seasons, and all that comes with it – although we are very much lacking your weather! Such a beautiful salad, and that dressing sounds so fresh and tangy! I’m bookmarking it to try when the weather warms up!!

    1. Thanks Carrie! I’m enjoying the warm weather now, but before we know it, it’ll turn to hot as blazes and so humid! Around that time, this salad sounds pretty amazing 🙂

  14. 93 degrees in February! Wow. Hope you have a milder ‘Spring’ in your area for sure. Love this salad for those of us though that are longing for the much warmer weather.

    1. Lol. I know so many parts of the US are still having heavy snows and freezing temperatures… We’re actually not as consistently warm here in the RGV. I do love this salad year ’round in warm weather. The freekeh is not heavy at all!

  15. I am a big fan of dill, sadly so is our goat, and he will reach over the fence and nibble the tops off!!! I really must dig it up and move it further from the fence. Although he would probably try and jump the fence.

    Feekeh is such an underused grain. I have to go to a specialist deli over an hour away to buy it. (That isn’t a hardship as it is a beautiful place for a day trip….and I can always take a trip to the deli!)

    This just looks stunning!!!! I can see a trip to fremantle deli coming up soon!

    1. Lol. I love your goat! It gets too hot pretty early in the year here in the Rio Grande Valley, so it’s more of a winter herb for us. We do love it! Freekeh is our new favorite grain. Fortunately, I can get it at my local market!

  16. I have NEVER heard of freekeh. I am always game to try new ingredients, and love Bob Mill products. This sounds like a nice hearty salad. I love the taste of dill…so that dressing would be amazing for sure. I can think of lots of places I would love to use it too.

    1. Awesome! I’m such a fan of Bob’s Red Mill too. I do cook a lot of Middle Eastern, so I’d heard of it, but never cooked it until I asked to try it. We loved it! It is so hearty, fully of fiber and nutrients, and cooks relatively quickly. And I have been working on a salad dressing Ebook forever. The citrus dill vinaigrette will definitely make the cut! Thanks for stopping by Gloria!

    1. It definitely tastes like spring in a bowl with the citrus dill vinaigrette and spring vegetables, and yeah, the freekeh is so healthy and nutritious… Thanks Michele!

  17. This is a great salad that features a little-used grain. I love grain-based salads in warmer weather.