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Freekeh. Zaatar. Celery leaves. New Zealand yams. These aren’t the usual salad ingredients but make for a wonderful wholesome freekeh salad. You may have heard of these ingredients or perhaps one or more of them is new to you. Therefore, before we get to the freekeh salad recipe, let’s have a look at these exciting ingredients:
*Freekeh – Pronounced ‘free-ka’ – Freekeh is a type of whole grain wheat that has been harvested earlier and then roasted which imparts a delicious slight nutty flavour. Freekeh is also produced locally in South Australia. Find out more about locally produced Freekeh and the nutritional profile of this wholesome grain here.
*Zaatar – Zaatar is a herb, seed and spice blend that includes ingredients such as sesame seeds, thyme and sumac (among others). It is incredibly versatile with uses including seasoning for meats or vegetables, and sprinkled over breads. Zaatar is typically available at the supermarket and makes a wonderful addition to your herbs and spices, as it effortlessly adds a delicious flavour to your dishes.
Celery Leaves – Recipes typically ask for the celery sticks, however the tops of celery are equally delicious. Don’t throw the celery tops away, rather keep them for a recipe like this one!
*New Zealand yams – I found these little beauties at my local farmers’ markets and was excited to try the cute little nuggets! Yams are typically much larger however these little ones were about the length of my thumb and are known as New Zealand yams. Upon roasting, the yams had a wonderful flavour that reminded me of a ‘lemony’ parsnip! They typically aren’t available during the warmer months of the year, however I’ve included some alternatives in the recipe below that would work equally as well.
Now that we’re all up to speed on the ingredients, let’s get to the recipe!
Serves 4 (as an accompaniment)
2/3 cup freekeh*
250 grams New Zealand yams*, washed (other roasted vegetables such as sweet potato, celeriac or parsnip would also work well)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of celery (tops and leaves only, save the stems for another recipe!)
250 grams cherry tomatoes
1/4 small red onion
80 grams fetta cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons zaatar*
1.5 teaspoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 200°C (fan-forced)
Place yams in baking dish and drizzle over olive oil
Roast yams for 20 mins, or until cooked through
Once yams are cooked, allow to cool
Meanwhile, cook freekeh in a saucepan with boiling water accordingly to instructions on pack
Once freekeh is cooked, drain and cool (you can place in the fridge to speed up the cooling)
Whilst yams and freekeh are cooking, prepare the following ingredients and place in large salad bowl:
Celery – Slice each celery stick at junction where the stem branches (imagine the junction where the trunk of a tree grows branches). Wash these top sections well and chop. You will have a lovely mixture of the smaller bits of crunchy celery mixed with chopped celery leaves
Cherry tomatoes – Either chop in half or keep whole if smaller
Red onion – Finely slice or finely chop (depending how you like it)
Fetta – Crumble
Mix dressing ingredients together well in a small bowl (or you can use a jar)
Add cooled yams and freekeh to the above large salad bowl containing the other ingredients