I have only recently discovered the many qualities of freekah. This ancient variety of wheat, when combined with strong flavours, has a unique texture and taste that offers a nice change to the ‘sexy grains of the moment’ like quinoa and buckwheat. The recipe for my sunflower seed and goat’s cheese-flecked pumpkin and mushroom salad is simple and tasty – perfect for lunch or a light supper.
Preheat oven to 180C
3 cups of pumpkin, cut into small cubes
4 large Portobello mushrooms
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked freekah*
1/3 cup mixed seeds (I used sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin)
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup good quality goat’s cheese
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
Crispy sage leaves (for garnish)
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 medium lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp Chinese five-spice
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ garlic clove, crushed
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Toss the cubes of pumpkin in a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and place onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for approx. 40 minutes, or until the pumpkin is golden brown and caramalised. Be sure to flip the pieces of pumpkin once or twice while roasting – so all sides are equally browned. Once browned, remove from oven and set aside.
Brush the mushrooms with a little olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place under a preheated grill (this step can also be done on a hot grill plate on the stove) and cook for approx. 6-8 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the freekah with a generous drizzle of the dressing. Add the pumpkin, parsley, walnuts, and seeds, gently toss once or twice. Spoon some of the freekah mix onto each of the grilled Portobello mushrooms and top with goat’s cheese and sage. Finish with another drizzle of dressing and serve.
*To cook the freekah, rinse the freekah in hot water. Combine the freekah and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally for approx. 30-35 minutes or until plump and chewy.