Fall Harvest Freekeh Salad

(Inspired by ‘The Kitchn’)

INGREDIENTS:

•1/2 cup whole-grain freekeh (can use quinoa if gluten free)

•1 1/2 cups water (can also use vegetable or chicken broth)

•1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

•1 tablespoon olive oil

•3 cups kale (center rib removed), chopped

•1 medium apple, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

•1 avocado, chopped into ½ in pieces

•1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (can use a dried fruit if you can’t find a pomegranate but watch for added sugar)

•1/2 cup toasted pecans

•Salt

•Freshly ground pepper

•Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette:

•3 tablespoons lemon juice

•3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

•1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

•1 clove garlic, minced

•Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

•4 tablespoons olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

•Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

•In a small saucepan, combine the whole-grain freekeh, water (or broth), and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 40 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

•Meanwhile, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Spread the squash across a baking sheet, in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.

•Add the shredded kale to a large salad bowl. Top with the cooked whole-grain freekeh, butternut squash, apple, avocado, pomegranate, and pecans. Toss together and top with vinaigrette.

•For the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and continue mixing until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as necessary.

NOTES:

•I like to buy the squash already peeled and chopped to save time.

•Freekeh and squash can be cooked in advance and served at room temperature.

•Want to make this salad into a hearty meal? Top it with grilled chicken, sliced steak, or tofu.