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Toasted Freekeh and Salmon Salad

Toasted Freekeh and Salmon Salad

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Freekeh has a smoky flavor that gets more depth when the grains are toasted; you can use wheat berries, spelt, brown rice, or farro instead.


  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 pound skin-on center-cut salmon fillet, pin bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, cut into rounds
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Special Equipment:

  • An 8" square piece of cheesecloth

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Toast freekeh on a rimmed baking sheet until lightly browned, 5–8 minutes.

  • Bundle onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth; tie closed with kitchen twine. Drop sachet into a large pot of salted boiling water, add freekeh, and cook until al dente, 15–20 minutes. Drain; spread out freekeh on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

  • Season flesh side of salmon with salt. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high and cook salmon, starting skin side down, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer salmon to a platter and let rest 15 minutes.

  • Whisk olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and yogurt in a large bowl. Add cooled freekeh, season with salt, and toss to coat. Mix in cucumbers, dill, mint, and parsley. Divide among plates. Flake salmon into bite-size pieces and arrange over freekeh.

  • Do Ahead: Freekeh can be cooked 1 day ahead. Transfer to airtight container and keep chilled.

Reviews Section

Salad of freekeh with pickled red onion, cherries, toasted walnuts and mint

Fragrant spices and fresh herbs add zext to this salad. Photo: Marina Oliphant Difficulty Easy Dietary Vegetarian

Freekeh is a nutritious grain made from roasted green wheat, with a nutty and smoky flavour. With high levels of protein, minerals, vitamins and fibre, but low in carbs, freekeh is ideal in salads such as this or, with labna and zaatar, it also goes well with poultry and lamb.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • ½ cup crushed pistachios

Stir freekeh in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Transfer freekeh to a bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, tahini, and honey together in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pomegranate seeds, onion, mint, and parsley to the bowl with the cooked freekeh. Drizzle in the dressing and toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Top with pistachios right before serving so they don't soften.

11 Grain Salads Great for Dinner, and Even Better for Lunch the Next Day

Whole grains are nutritious, delicious, and totally versatile, as these 11 healthy grain salad recipes attest. They’re great for dinner and the leftovers make a perfect packed lunch for work or school.

We’re glad long-forgotten grains have become popular again—quinoa and farro and freekeh, oh my! Over the past several years, many varieties of whole grains have become more readily available in grocery stores and valued as healthier alternatives to more processed foods. While keto dieters may shun them due to carbs, most whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, and most are also gluten-free. Paleo eaters put a premium on them, as do many vegans and vegetarians, but they’re good for anyone seeking a hearty alternative to rice and pasta, or just a new make-ahead meal option.

Whether you plan on serving them as a side with dinner or making them the basis for a whole meal, a grain salad full of herbs, vegetables, and more is a splendid way to inject each kernel with flavor. Better yet, grain salads can generally be made ahead of time and will even carry you through a week of leftover-based lunches. Top them with whatever grilled protein you like, or don’t. Add cheese, extra veggies, or whatever you please.

Don’t be intimidated next time you see a sack of wheat berries, millet, fonio, or kamut while shopping. With these recipes at the ready, they’ll be your new go-to staples.

1. Basic Quinoa Salad

“Basic” may sound like an insult, but we mean it with love and care. With a short and simple ingredient list, this recipe transforms quinoa into something exciting without going too over the top, but it’s easy to adapt to whatever other ingredients you have on hand or are in the mood for. Get our Basic Quinoa Salad recipe.

2. Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables and Ginger-Scallion Dressing

Packed full of root vegetables and seasoned with ginger, sherry vinegar, and soy, this quinoa salad is a fine example of vegan cooking at its most satisfying. Get our Autumn Quinoa Salad recipe.

3. Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh gets its signature rugged texture from bulgur, a form of cracked wheat. Packed full of parsley, mint, and other springy add ins, it’s a breath of fresh green on the plate. Get our Tabbouleh recipe.

4. Wild Rice and Edamame Salad

This recipe may look to Japanese ingredients like edamame, sesame, and rice vinegar for flair, but it also has the sort of mild-mannered versatility that makes it a fitting addition to any barbecue, potluck, or picnic. Get our Wild Rice and Edamame Salad recipe.

5. Wild Rice, Pecan, and Cranberry Salad

Don’t let this salad’s many shades of brown fool you—it also has bright pops of flavor hiding in its midst. Cranberries, orange zest, and a glug of pomegranate molasses turn it into something that’s borderline fruity. Get our Wild Rice, Pecan, and Cranberry Salad recipe.

6. Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa and Pistachios

Wheat berries have a pleasant nuttiness to them that is echoed further through the addition of pistachios in this salad. Tossed in a yogurt and harissa dressing, it also manages to fit in a hint of creaminess and spice. Get our Wheat Berry Salad with Harissa and Pistachios recipe.

7. Seared Scallops with Lemony Farro and Arugula Salad

Farro has a depth to it that is often associated with heavier fall or winter dishes. But it can be light and summery, too lemon makes it sunnier, and a squeeze of citrus makes almost any seafood dish better. This recipe takes that idea one step further: the lemon dressed farro adds a lightly tart touch to each bite, making for a brilliant supporting player to scallops. Get our Seared Scallops with Lemony Farro and Arugula Salad recipe.

8. Rye Berry Salad with Herbed Kefir Dressing

Nutty rye berries are the whole grain form of rye they’re high in dietary fiber, amino acids, and manganese, and delicious when they mingle with sweet carrots and crunchy fried onions in a tangy, herb-packed kefir dressing. Get the Rye Berry Salad recipe.

9. Barley with Winter Greens Pesto

Pleasantly chewy barley is great simply tossed with a generous amount of pesto this version is made from winter greens, but a classic basil pesto is just as good. Mix in whatever roasted vegetables or other odds and ends you have to bulk it up and add color. Get the Barley with Winter Greens Pesto recipe.

10. Chino Ranch Farro Bowl

This one is something of a study in textures: toothsome farro supports a rainbow of crisp-tender roasted veggies, nutty kale-pistachio pesto, and fresh mozzarella cheese, for a lively and wholesome combination. But you can switch up the toppings however you like—add crunchy chopped almonds, toasted pumpkin seeds, creamy avocado, grilled salmon, or a runny poached egg, just for starters. Get the Chino Ranch Farro Bowl recipe.

11. Freekeh Pilaf with Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash

The lightly smoked aroma of freekeh can be the basis for all sorts of inventive flavor pairings. Here, warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, and Aleppo pepper combine with sweet roasted butternut squash and shallots, plus fresh thyme and pomegranate molasses. You’ll want to eat it all fall—and yes, it’s technically a pilaf, but serve it in a bowl and you can call it a salad. Get the Freekeh Pilaf with Roasted Butternut Squash recipe.

Related Video: The Ultimate Ancient Grain Bowl from Chef Pierre Thiam

10 Tasty Salad Recipes For Balanced Work Lunches

|f you're trying to lose fat and save money, a few tasty and filling salad recipes will help.

As appealing as soggy lettuce and bland chicken sounds, you're better off trying some slightly different salad recipes for ultimate meal satisfaction. And, not to mention, salads that include carbohydrates, primarily because they're great, but also because carbs are important for good health&mdashespecially after training.

These quick and simple grain bowls may sound like animal feed, but know this: grain bowls are built on a base of heart-healthy complex carbs. These one-bowl meals are the healthy eater's go-to for nutrient-packed, slow-release energy - plus, you know, they look great on Instagram.

If you're pushed for time you can get a pre-made grain sachet from your local supermarket, so not only are they wholesome, they're also quick salad recipes. You're welcome.

We asked Zoe Stirling, chef and nutritionist at London&rsquos healthy hangout, Squirrel, to share her favourite recipes that'll take your healthy bowls from bland to bountiful. 10 nourishing salad recipes right this way.

Moroccan Freekeh and Beetroot Salad

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small red onion, finely sliced
⅓ cup freekeh
1 beetroot, cut into small cubes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
Pinch cinnamon
3 cups vegetable stock
1 x 95g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 tbsp sultanas
¼ cup parsley chopped finely
1 tsp orange zest and squeeze of juice


In a frying pan, heat oil and sauté garlic for 1-2 minutes, add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add freekeh, beetroot, cumin, cinnamon and coriander to the pan with the stock, bring to the boil and let simmer for 20 minutes until freekeh is tender and stock is absorbed.

Add chickpeas, half of the toasted almonds, sultanas and parsley, orange zest and squeeze of juice, combine well, season to taste and set aside.

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Toasted Bread

12 teaspoon of cinnamon ground. Remove and cool on wire rack. Toast Wikipedia

Really Good Freekeh Salad

I know what you’re thinking. Really Good What Now? Freak what? What the freekeh is going on? Why is there a salad, let alone a WHOLE GRAIN salad, on my blog?

Because I can’t stop eating this grain salad since I started culinary school. No joke – I’ve made it at least 3 times during school then probably another 2-3 times after that. And I will not stop.

Don’t worry. I won’t stop with the desserts either, but I reached a point where I’m shifting how I cook. Culinary school opened up a new world of cooking methods and flavors, so I’ll be branching out. I hope you’ll stay with me. I’m still going to make small serving sizes. Just more vegetables. And maybe I’ll even throw in the H word. Healthy, that is.

This freekeh salad has arugula, tomatoes, goat cheese, and pickled red onion. What I love about this salad (besides the big bursts of flavor and color) is it fills you up from the whole grain. You can serve it as a side with protein such as salmon or chicken or you can eat a giant bowl of it (it may make 4 servings, but I pretend it’s 1). And since it’s summer, it’s perfect as a cold grain salad. However, if you’re impatient and starving like me 90% of the time, you can also eat it warm.

After getting through the foundation of culinary school with food safety and knife skills, my first cooking course was salads. Salads. The one food group I don’t eat. But here I was introduced to what salads SHOULD be, not those lifeless garden salads with too much iceberg lettuce and not enough tomatoes.

This is when I started cooking with arugula. I’ve eaten arugula before at restaurants but never in my own kitchen. And now it’s my favorite leaf ever. Arugula has a peppery bite to it – the opposite of flavorless iceberg lettuce. With a touch of olive oil and sea salt, it makes the fastest salad ever. Or you can add it to other dishes for a burst of pepper.

Soon we got to the grain course in culinary school. Again, whole grains wasn’t something I ate. I still struggle with eating whole grain bread, but I actually enjoyed the grains I cooked. Probably because they aren’t much different than rice. For example, this salad is the exact same way you cook rice pilaf. Toast the freekeh before adding the liquid then let it cook until the liquid has been absorbed.

What is freekeh? Freekeh is a whole grain that tastes nutty with a chewy texture, similar to brown rice and quinoa. I was introduced to it when I cooked something from the Jerusalem cookbook. When I was first bought freekeh, it was at a Middle Eastern grocery store. Which meant half of the box was in Arabic. The directions? “Add a suitable amount of water.” SUITABLE AMOUNT. Thank you, box.

Luckily freekeh is more common in grocery stores now, so you can find it where you buy rice, bulgur, couscous, and quinoa. No special trips for boxes you can’t read with vague directions. And in case you’re wondering what a suitable amount is, it’s a 2:1 ratio. 2 parts liquid to 1 part freekeh.

4 quick and easy grain bowls

We’ve created four quick and easy grain bowls. These super simple recipes are packed with flavour and take no time at all to whip up. Use a shop-bought grain pouch and add your own topings for a speedy after-work meal.

Fruit and nut freekeh grain bowl recipe

Heat a pouch of ready-to-eat freekeh following pack instructions then tip into a bowl and cool. Add 1 grated carrot, a diced Granny smith apple, 1/4 diced red onion, 3 tbsp golden sultanas, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp of olive oil and season really well. Stir in 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley and scatter over 2 tbsp toasted and chopped cashew nuts.

Beetroot, salmon and tarragon mixed grains recipe

Heat a pouch of ready-to-eat mixed grains following pack instructions the tip into a bowl and cool. Flake 20g hot-smoked salmon and chop 100g cooked beetroot. Toss the beets with a handful of chopped tarragon and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Add 4 chopped spring onions, 1/4 peeled and diced cucumber and a squeeze of lemon to the grains. Gently toss then split between 2 bowls and add the beets and salmon.

Santa Fe quinoa bowl recipe

Heat a pouch of ready-to-eat quinoa following pack instructions then tip into a bowl. Add 100g of rinsed and drained black beans, 50g chopped spinach, 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds, /4 finely chopped red onion, juiced of a lime and 1 tbsp olive oil. Top into 2 bowls and add a few sliced of avocado, a fried egg and a pile of coriander leaves to each bowl. Serve with hot sauce.

Spiced paneer and pea rice bowl recipe

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Fry a diced 200g pack of paneer until golden. Add 2 tbsp curry paste and fry. Heat a pouch of ready-to-eat brown basmati following pack instructions, then tip into the pan with 100g defrosted frozen peas and toss everything together. Mix 4 tbsp natural yogurt with a handful of chopped mint and season. Serve the rice with the yogurt drizzle, naan breads and lemon wedges.

Fueling Up With Freekeh

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Freekeh (pronounced free-kah) has been around for a while. This wheat variety is harvested while still green, then it’s toasted and rubbed to reveal the young grains. As a result, it has an earthy, nutty and slightly smoky flavor that can breathe new life into your humdrum recipes. Here are five ways to use this supergrain to supercharge your meal plan.

1. As a high-fiber rice substitute

Freekeh has three times the amount of fiber as brown rice, and according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, increased fiber consumption helped people lose more weight over the course of a year. Swap white or brown rice for freekeh in casseroles, burritos, soups and pilafs.

2. As a gut-friendly salad

Freekeh contains resistant starch, which is the prebiotic nosh of choice for your healthy gut bacteria. Prebiotics also help treat leaky gut syndrome, candida and irritable bowel syndrome. Freekeh Salmon Salad: To a large bowl, add 2 cups cooked freekeh, 8 cups spinach, 1 large avocado (diced) and 1 large tomato (chopped). Top with 8 ounces cooked salmon fillets and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar (to taste).

3. As a high-pro vegan bowl

Step aside quinoa — freekeh has twice the protein per serving, making it the ideal choice for plant-based athletes. Freekeh-shly Good Breakfast Bowl: Cook 1 cup freekeh according to package directions. Split into 2 bowls and top with fresh fruit, pumpkin seeds, nut butter and cinnamon.

4. As an endurance-boosting side

Freekeh is high in glutamic acid, which helps synthesize glutamine, enhancing endurance and strength. Righteous Rosemary Freekeh:* Add 1 cup cooked freekeh to a bowl with ¼ cup chopped pecans, 1/8 cup chopped dried apricots, 1 tablespoon macadamia nut or avocado oil, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix well to combine.

5. As a nutrient-boosted baked good

Freekeh is available commercially as a flour and can be used in recipes in place of refined flour products for added fiber, protein, antioxidants, calcium and iron.