Move on over quinoa! There’s a “new kid” in town… Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad with Citrus Dill Vinaigrette highlights this unique grain with its chewy, smoky complexity, and delivers tons of flavor and nutrients. Serve alone as a side dish, add chick peas for a healthy vegetarian dish, or (our favorite) top with a sous vide salmon fillet!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, but the content and opinions are my own. I have enthusiastically used their products for years!
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 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 Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad, but artichokes and asparagus are right up there! What are your favorites? Or do you merely tolerate vegetables?
Featured Ingredient: 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!
Organic Cracked Freekeh from Bob’s Red Mill is my “go to” freekeh. I know that I can count on quality and consistency with their products! If you are unable to find it in your local market, head over to their website, and order it online!
Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad
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!). I went with a light citrus and dill vinaigrette that beautifully highlights the fresh ingredients.
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!
More Hearty Salads
- Lima Beans and Grain Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Giant Corn Peruvian Salad (Solterito)
- Arugula Salad with Farro, Citrus, and Blue Cheese
Spring Vegetables Freekeh Salad
- broth or water, (see notes)
- 1 cup cracked freekeh
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium carrots, (see notes)
- 1 cup English peas, (see notes)
- 1 bunch radishes, thin sliced
- dill and chives, for garnish
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta or chevre, optional
- sea salt/fresh ground pepper, to taste
Citrus Dill Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup fresh citrus juice, (see notes)
- 1/4 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
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- several grinds fresh pepper
- Add the freekeh and salt to boiling water in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes). 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.
- Prep all salad ingredients. (See notes).
- 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!
Refer to your freekeh package for amount of liquid 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.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349 Total Fat: 15g Carbohydrates: 41g Protein: 11g
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