Freekeh Fritter Kale Salad with Tahini Harissa Dressing

Before I head right into Freekeh Friday, I’ve got an important announcement. Check this blog on Monday, April 7th. You’ll be glad you did. So come back!

Now… back to freekeh…

I know I’m going out on a limb, but I have a feeling some of you will want to make this recipe just because of the name. I’m looking at you, fritter fans! And you, kings and queens of  kale! And of course, those who are tempted by tahini!  And even those who have to have harissa as much as we do. Ok, alliteration overload aside, this is one seriously good salad. Don’t be daunted by the lengthy recipe list, this really comes together quickly.

 

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Freekeh Fritter Kale Salad with Tahini Harissa Dressing

Warm, whole grain  fritters top a perfectly dressed salad. How perfect? Well, when you make this zesty dressing to taste, you just know it can’t be beat. Roasted asparagus is always a welcome addition to any meal.. here we  pair it with the optional (slightly sweet) roasted parsnip and oh-so-green baby kale. By the way, these fritters are fantastic without the salad, too. Just side with a harissa and lemon juice  spiked mayo for an incredible snack.

For the Salad:

6 to 8 stalks asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices, optional

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper

5 ounces baby kale

few slices red onion, halved or quartered

handful cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color)

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons vegetable broth

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon light miso (I love South River Sweet Brown Rice Miso)

2 teaspoons harissa, or to taste

1 clove garlic, peeled

Salt and pepper

For the Fritters:

3/4 cup plain vegan milk

1/2 cup fresh corn (or frozen, thawed)

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 cup cooked freekeh

1/3  cup minced red onion

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Salt and pepper

High heat neutral-flavored oil, for cooking

To prepare the salad, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In separate bowls, toss the asparagus and parsnip with 1 teaspoon oil each and season with salt and pepper. Put on opposite ends of a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the asparagus for 10 minutes, or until tender, and transfer to a plate to cool. Bake the parsnips for 15 minutes, or until tender, and transfer to the same plate. When cool, toss the asparagus, parsnip, and all remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To prepare the dressing, combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a small blender. Process until smooth. Season to taste with additional harissa and salt and pepper.

To prepare the fritters, combine the milk, corn, and garlic in small blender. Process until smooth. Pour into a medium-size bowl. Add the freekeh, onion, and coriander and stir to combine. Add 1 cup flour to form a thick batter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the remaining flour on a plate. Scoop a rounded tablespoon of fritter batter and drop it in the flour on the plate. Pat it into a small disk, no more than 1/2 inch thick and coat with flour. Repeat until all fritters are formed. Heat a thin layer of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fritters, in batches, for 3 to 5 minutes, until browned. Turn over to cook the second side. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. You should have 14 to 18 fritters.

To serve, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Divide the salad evenly among 4 plates. Top with one-quarter of the fritters and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

 

Freekeh Kale Salad

Here I am with another Freekeh Friday recipe! If you guys haven’t tried this stuff yet, what are you waiting for? It can do anything: it’s like the garbanzo bean of the grain world! It can take on any recipe and make it better. High in protein and fiber, it’s not only nutritious, but nutty and wonderfully tasty, too. This freekeh recipe is tied with the Chickpea Harissa Soup as my favorite freekeh creations… as of today. But it’s so hard to choose! I’ve also been using it in whole grain breads and want to have one more go at the recipe before sharing it. So while the day to try a new grain is coming up soon, I’m going to keep my Freekeh Friday posts coming.

 

Freekeh and Kale Salad

 

Freekeh Kale Salad

Mmmm… kale! It’s the green that knows it’s place so well. And that place is anywhere and everywhere!  Kale, other vegetables, and  freekeh are joined by sweet bits of dried apricot, crunchy sunflower seeds, and a full-flavor miso dressing to create a super-satisfying salad. Oh, and that’s a no-oil added salad dressing. Bonus!

8 ounces kale, chopped

1/2 cup raw whole freekeh, cooked according to package directions, drained, and cooled

1/2 cup small cauliflower florets

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1/4 cup minced dried apricots

1/4 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons red miso

1 tablespoon salted, roasted sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper

Put the kale in a medium-size bowl and rub it with your hands to break it down some, for 4 to 6 minutes, or to desired texture. Stir in the freekeh, cauliflower, carrot, and apricots.

Combine the broth, vinegar, nutritional yeast, and miso in a small blender. Process until smooth. Pour over the kale and freekeh mixture and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the sunflower seeds when serving.

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Chickpea and Freekeh Soup with Harissa

My frenzy over freekeh continues. I only wish I’d known about this stuff sooner! Even just cooked and salted, I could eat this stuff by the bowlful. But the fun really begins when you start thinking of different ways to use it. Since we’re still in the winter temperatures,  I cooked up a whole package of freekeh, and started a pot of soup. I didn’t plan to use it all at once, but since cooked freekeh can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, I’m a step ahead for another meal, too! I didn’t have much direction for the soup to start with, but before I knew it, we were enjoying this flavor-packed soup that warmed us from the inside out.

 

Chickpea and Freekeh Soup with Harissa

Chickpea and Freekeh Soup with Harissa

Like all soups, this one is flexible. I happened to use 2 cups of chickpeas simply because I’d frozen them in 2 cup portions, but if you’re using canned, just go with 1 can.  I grabbed a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, but any kind of tomato would work, including crushed. Since the recipe has harissa, let me emphasize to cook to your own taste. I’ve tried many kinds and they all vary in heat. Here’s the blueprint so you can build your own soup!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 large onion, minced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 small parsnip, peeled and diced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup dry red wine

6 cups water

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

1 cup cooked freekeh (either cracked or whole)

1 to 2 tablespoons harissa (medium or hot), to taste

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional, to taste

5 ounces baby kale

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and parsnip. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, thyme, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, to toast the spices. Add the wine. Stir to deglaze the pot. Add the water, chickpeas, tomatoes,  freekeh, harissa, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the baby kale and for 3 to 4 minutes, until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Best Ever Big and Wheaty Burgers

So you know I’m on a freekeh mission, and here’s another installment in the Whole Grain Sampling Day series featuring the amazing grain. I’m also a huge fan of burgers, and I consider myself to be a burger snob, but I’m ok with that. I like burgers to hold together, to have some bite, tons of flavors, and a crispy outer texture. The bun should be soft, not the burger!

With all that in mind, I think these are truly the very best burgers I’ve ever made. As an added bonus, they are super easy to make. If you only try one freekeh recipe in my mini series, let it be this one!

Best Ever Big and Wheaty Burger

Best Ever Big and Wheaty  Burgers

These burgers are juicy and full  of flavor  – a true vegan dream burger! As written, this makes 10 burgers, but for Huge and Wheaty burgers, divide the mixture into 6 burgers instead. They are a little more juicy (and I think slightly better– but BIG) when made into 6 burgers.  Note: the freekeh will want to fall out of the burgers. When making the balls, I stick my thumb in the center of the portion and pack some of the renegade freekeh in the center, and also smash it into the rolled burger. It’s what really makes the texture of these burgers, so incorporate as much as you can without being obsessive.

For the burgers:

2 cups vital wheat gluten

1 cup cooked cracked freekeh

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari

2 tablespoons organic ketchup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Neutral-flavored oil, for cooking

For the cooking broth:

3 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari

1 tablespoon organic ketchup

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Salt and black pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 300°F .
Stir together the vital wheat gluten, freekeh, garlic powder, and onion powder in a medium-size bowl. Stir together the broth, tamari, ketchup, and liquid smoke. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add an additional tablespoon of broth or vital wheat gluten, if needed, to form a cohesive dough. Knead a few minutes, then divide into 10 equal portions, about 2. 7 ounces each. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll out to about 3 inches across, and 1/2 inch thick. You may need to pinch parts of the burger together, or “patch” them. As the dough sticks together well, it shouldn’t be an issue. (For 6 burgers, roll them slightly larger than 3 inches – obviously, they will be thicker!).

Heat a thin layer of neutral oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers (in batches) for 3 to 5 minutes, until browned. Turn over to cook the second side, for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned.

Stir together the cooking broth ingredients in a large roasting pan. As the burgers are browned, put them into the broth. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 1 hour longer. Let cool in any remaining broth. The burgers can be wrapped airtight and frozen, or refrigerated for up to 3 days.

When serving, be sure the burgers are thawed if they have been frozen. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook for 3 to 6 minutes, until browned and crisp. Turn over to cook the second side in the same way, then serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

Yield: 10 burgers, at a cooked weight of 4 ounces each

 

Advance copy!

And this happened this week! The book is available for pre-order  now. Be ready for some fun surrounding the book, too! In the meantime, I’ll be perusing this advance copy.

 

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

I know, I’ve brought up the topic of freekeh on my blog before, and I hope you’ve checked it out. But if you haven’t tried it yet, now you can take part in the Whole Grain Sampling Day!  Even that day might be new to you, as it was to me.  It’s a day set aside to encourage all of us to eat more whole grains.

As you might have guessed, I’m taking on freekeh as a personal mission. First off, it’s fun to say! According to what I’ve read, it’s an ancient Middle Eastern grain that is popular in  many regions, with many different pronunciations. I’m taking that to mean you can’t go wrong in how you say it, which adds to the fun factor. The grain comes from young, green wheat, which is sun-dried and rubbed to yield small grains that remind me of barley. It’s available in a whole form and a cracked form. In my experience, they can be used interchangeably, as long as they are cooked according to the package directions. The taste is a little smoky and slightly nutty, and it’s packed with protein and fiber. I’m fortunate in being able to pick it up at Whole Foods locally, but if you can’t, it’s worth buying it online. Check out Freekehlicious  and Freekeh Foods for more information and recipes. And check back here every Friday in March for a new recipe featuring my latest favorite find.

Although Celine and I know our way around most whole grains (yes, we wrote Whole Grain Vegan Baking), it’s always exciting to encounter new vegan ingredients. Join others on April 2nd in trying new whole grains! And join in a discussion on whole grains and Whole Grain Vegan Baking with the Dr. Don Show, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6 PM Eastern!

 

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

Lentil soup is always a favorite, but with a tempeh bacon base layer and the addition of the toothsome freekeh, the lovely lentil soars to new heights.  With soups being such a comfort food, this is an ideal way to try freekeh. Keep in mind that cooked freekeh can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 8 days, making it ideal for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

1 tablespoon high heat neutral-flavored oil

1 (6 ounce) package tempeh bacon, chopped

1/2 medium onion, minced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup small cauliflower florets

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup French green lentils

6 cups water

2 teaspoons vegan  vegetable bouillon paste

1 tablespoon tamari

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional

1/2 cup cooked cracked freekeh

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the tempeh bacon and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion through (and including) the tarragon. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the lentils, water, bouillon paste, tamari, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Stir in the freekeh, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings