Monday, October 22, 2012

Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad with Cider Dijon Vinaigrette

As you know I love a good veggie/grain type of salad.  Whether it be quinoa, couscous, or barley, I just love the combination of flavors & textures.  When I was asked by Freekah Foods if I wanted to sample freekeh, which is an ancient grain, but certainly new to me, I couldn’t pass it up!  I accepted the sample while I was still on maternity leave.  Yeah, back in JULY!  Luckily the flavor I chose was perfect for fall, because it was until then that I finally got the chance to use it!

You’re probably still like, “Freekah?  What the F*$k is freekah?”  (Just kidding, I’m sure you don’t swear nearly as much as I do.)  Well, according to Freekeh, freekah is an ancient grain dating back nearly 2,000 years ago.  Freekeh is a process which means “to rub” in Arabic. It was created by accident when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and “Eureka!” Freekeh was created.  It has 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 130 calories per low-fat serving.  It also has a really interesting nutty, almost crunchy texture.

I loved this “new to me” grain!  And I REALLY loved the pre-seasoned packet I got.  I chose the rosemary sage, but they also offer original, and tamari.  We’ve been getting a lot of butternut squash in our CSA, and I thought it would be great to toss into a grain salad with the freekeh.  I also combined some dried cranberries, maple syrup, apple cider reduction, and dijon syrup to round it out.  This was a perfect storm of flavors.  I loved the variety of textures in this as well.  Check your local Whole Foods Market, or health food grocery store to find some freekah for yourself.  You can also get it online.  I can’t recommend it enough!


Butternut Squash Freekeh Salad with Cider Dijon Vinaigrette


1 small butternut squash (or 1/2 of a large one)
extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp dried cranberries

1 package Freekeh Foods Rosemary Sage Freekah (or 8oz freekah, plus dried rosemary & sage to taste)

3/4 cup apple cider (reduced to 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (pure) maple syrup
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash and chop into 1 inch cubes. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender, tossing halfway through. Let cool.

Place dried cranberries in a small bowl, cover with water, and set aside.

Meanwhile prepare freekah to package directions.

Heat 3/4 cup apple cider in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook 6-8 minutes until cider is reduced to 1/4 cup. Combine reduced cider, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and salt & pepper.

Drain cranberries. Combine freekah, squash, cranberries, and dressing. Toss well, and serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

**I was NOT compensated for this post.  I was merely given a sample.  If I didn’t like it, I would not have blogged about it.  Lawd knows I ain’t got time to write about something if I didn’t LOVE it!**

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