Here’s a simple formula for you to use all fall/winter: roasted vegetables + cooked grains + mustard vinaigrette. I’ve made some variation of it three nights in a row, and I don’t see the streak breaking anytime soon.
In Food52 Vegan it’s roasted cauliflower and freekeh; here I’ve used cabbage and kale, because that’s what I had on hand, but so many vegetables could work: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, squash — what couldn’t work is maybe a better question?
As with so many grain salads, this one is endlessly adaptable: Make the dressing with vinegar if you don’t have lemons. Use golden raisins in place of the currants, parsley for the mint. Don’t use any herbs at all.
This is my favorite kind of recipe, one whose assembly is fluid — as the vegetables roast in the oven, the freekeh cooks stovetop, and you make the dressing — and whose payoff is big: minimal mess and a meal that’s at once light and comforting.
It’s the recipe to turn to when you think you have nothing to serve for dinner, and a good reminder that with a little effort — a poke around the cupboard, a nose through the vegetable bin — a delicious surprise may just lie ahead.
Freekeh Salad with Roasted Kale & Cabbage
Yield 4 servings
Adapted from: Food52 Vegan by Gena Hamshaw
So many vegetables could work here: cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, carrots, squash, etc. If you are using kale and cabbage, slice the leaves relatively finely or at least try to make the vegetables you are roasting together be uniform in size so that they cook evenly. Freekeh is not something I've cooked with many times, but I happened to have a bag of it on hand, and I think I'll be buying it more often. It cooks quickly and has a nice, chewy texture — it reminds me of bulgur. Freekeh is harvested when it's young or "green" then roasted, which gives it a slightly smoky, nutty flavor. Use any grain in place of the freekeh: farro, wheat berry, quinoa, bulgur, etc. I've used both currants and golden raisins, but chopped dates would be nice, too — anything to add a touch of sweetness. Nuts would be a nice addition here.
- 1 lb. (450 g) vegetables, such as kale, cauliflower, cabbage — see notes above
- 6 to 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1½ cups (355 ml) vegetable broth or water
- ¾ cup (170 g) freekeh or other grain, see notes
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup dried currants or golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon finely grated zest, optional
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint or other herb, optional
- Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC).
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the vegetables with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until browned and crispy. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the broth and freekeh in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, until the freekeh is tender and has absorbed most of the broth. Fluff with a fork, then let it cool a bit.
- Put the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add the lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well blended.
- In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables, freekeh, currants, and zest. Drizzle with most of the dressing and toss to coat. Taste. Add more dressing if necessary and adjust seasoning as necessary. Just before serving, stir in the herbs. Save any remaining dressing for tomorrow, when you make the salad again.