I love middle eastern flavours and was very excited when I came across a picture Bethany Kehdy had posted on Facebook last October of her lunch, a yummy bowl of Freekeh salad. Bethany is a food writer over at Dirty Kitchen Secrets. Her blog is packed with delicious recipes, including treasured dishes from her Lebanese heritage. She has recently launched her book, The Jewelled Kitchen, full of Middle Eastern and North African recipes that will certainly impress your guests.

Bethany’s dish contained all my favourite ingredients, roasted aubergines, warm nutty freekeh and soft sweet butternut squash. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to recreate something similar with whatever I could find in my kitchen cupboards. Luckily for me, I am a big fan of middle eastern flavours so I knew this wouldn’t be difficult. I have since made this dish for friends and relatives and they love it too.

You can find Freekeh in most middle eastern shops. I bought mine online from Terra Rossa. The company sells a vast range of unique food products from Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Freekeh is a healthier alternative to rice and breads, and imparts a wonderful nutty smoky flavour to any dish. It is low GI, so healthy too.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 sprig rosemary, cut up into three
  • salt and pepper,
  • 1tsp baharat spice powder, or garam masala
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g freekeh
  • handful of pumpkin seeds
  • big chunk of feta cheese, crumbled over the salad
  • 1 tbsp of dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds

Method

  1. Preheat oven 200C and line a deep baking tray with foil.
  2. Peel and skin the butternut squash and cut up into cubes before throwing on to the lined baking tray.
  3. Cut up the aubergine in fairly large chunks and add to the tray. Throw in some rosemary and generously season with sea-salt, freshly ground pepper and baharat spice powder or garam masala. Lightly coat the ingredients with olive oil. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until fully cooked.
  4. While the vegetables are roasting, cook the freekeh as per the instructions on the packet. It will probably take between 20 to 40 minutes depending on whether you are using cracked or wholegrain freekeh. I sautéed mine  in olive oil, salt and baharat spice for a couple of minutes before simmering for the required amount of time. You may need to add more water if it begins to dry out.
  5. Place the cooked freekeh on the plate, add the aubergine, butternut squash and all remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve hot.

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16 Comments

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Sylvia

    Lovely! This is the kind of lunch I can happily take with me to work ;)

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    glamorous glutton

    I bought Bethany’s book but haven’t yet cooked many dishes from it. I love the food and the photography, thanks for the reminder. GG

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Choclette

    I love Middle Eastern flavours too and this sounds quite delicious. I’ve seen freekah mentioned a few times recently, but haven’t come across it myself. Will look out for it.

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Karen Burns Booth

    Stunning image and LOVELY salad too, just my kind of meal Tina!

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    manjirichitnis

    beautiful photo and yummy recipe Tina!

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Louisa Foti

    Sounds exceptionally tasty to me! I’ve just been re-united with Bethany’s book after buying it at FBC and leaving it at a friend’s in London. Can’t wait to try some of her beautiful recipes!

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    recipesfromapantry

    Is freekah like couscous? Looks yummy.

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Madeleine Morrow

    I absolutely adore freekeh. have made it a few times and will try your recipe soon.

  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Jac -Tinned Tomatoes (@tinnedtoms)

    I love the flavours in this. I’d be excited to see this on a menu. Note to self, must try freekah

  • Posted February 18, 2014

    Natalie Tamara

    I’ve never heard of Freekah before but it looks and sounds yummy! Always on the lookout for new ingredients so may have to hunt some down and give this a go :)

  • Posted February 18, 2014

    HedgeComber

    Great mix of flavours, I bet it tastes lovely
    Janie x

  • Posted February 19, 2014

    Fiona Maclean

    Ive had bethany’s freekah recipe, it’s really delish! not sure if I’ll ever try making it, but hopefully I’ll end up at another event where she is cooking!

  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Janice @FarmersgirlCook

    Sounds good!

  • Posted February 22, 2014

    Morgan @ Peaches, Please

    I’ve never heard of freekeh before. I shall have to investigate because the dish sounds quite tasty.

  • Posted February 23, 2014

    Fatima Kayali

    Freekeh salad ?? This is the first time i’ve ever heard about …. I know the freekeh cuz im from syria but this is the first time I see this Freekeh SALAD

  • Posted February 24, 2014

    Fuss Free Helen

    I am so so into my grains and really do enjoy freekeh but have never made it myself. I have to remedy this.

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