I know it’s still feeling like winter where some of you are but we are feeling all things Spring in Southern California. We’ve had some crazy hot weather over the last few weeks (in the 90’s) and all I’ve been craving are salads and smoothies! I’ve been seeing asparagus and peas all over the farmers markets here and I’ve been using them in a lot of my day-to-day cooking from omelettes, toppings for hummus, and of course salads. I got together with a foodie friend for lunch the other day and we cooked up the most amazing recipe which I’m sharing with you here today. If you’ve never cooked with freekeh before, you’ve gotta try (plus, it’s also fun to say freekaaaaaaa!)! Freekeh is a grain that some are calling the new quinoa. It boasts a ton of nutritional benefits such as being low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and low on the glycemic index. It has a chewy, nutty and slightly smoky flavor and cooks up in about 20 minutes! If you can’t find freekeh at your grocery store, you can buy it online (Amazon to the rescue!) or use quinoa or even orzo! Freekeh is pretty bland on it’s own but we jazzed it up with a punchy mixture of herbs like parsley and cilantro, jalapeno and and scallions. Then we added tender asparagus, sweet peas, and tossed everything with a citrusy vinaigrette. Then we sprinkled our bowls with some ricotta salata (an Italian cheese similar to feta) a few roasted and chopped almonds, and pickled radishes. Talk about a party in your mouth! Those toppings are definitely optional but I highly recommend all of them because YOLO! This recipe is great for those of you that meal prep, as the longer it sits, the better it gets! It’s also perfect served at room temperature and would be a great addition to your Easter brunch! Let’s get our FREEKEH on!
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 cup dried freekeh
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
1 bunch of asparagus chopped into small pieces
1 cup snap peas (chopped)
1/4 cup ricotta silata (or feta)-optional
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)
Cook the freekeh in 2 cups broth or water for 20-25 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Once cooked, place into a large bowl. Using the same pan, saute the asparagus and peas in a little olive oil and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. Once cooked, add to the bowl of freekeh and toss. Chop the scallions, parsley, jalapeno, and cilantro finely (I used a food processor for ease). Add the herb mixture, ricotta silata, almonds, vinaigrette (recipe below) and toss to combine. To serve, top with a few chopped almonds, pickled radishes (recipe below) and a sprinkle of the ricotta silata. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (if you don’t have this you can mix together 2 T champagne vinegar, 3 T orange juice, and 1 T honey)
1/4 cup olive oil
Pour the champagne vinegar in a bowl and then slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined.
5 small radishes sliced thin
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 sprig thyme (optional)
Combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns and thyme in a glass jar. Place radishes in the jar with the vinegar mixture and refrigerate overnight (or minimum 3 hours). Will keep in fridge for up to a week.