Freekeh salad with grilled vegetables, pomegranate seeds and soft cheese
1 cup freekeh (can be bought at wholefoods or middle-eastern food shops)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 medium aubergine, cut into 1 cm cubes and salted
2 bell peppers, preferably different colours, cut into quarters lengthways and seeds removed
½ bunch of mint, leaves roughly chopped
1 small bunch of parsley, leaves roughly chopped
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
½ cup almonds and pumpkin seeds, toasted and crushed
salt and pepper
2 tbsp soft white cheese e.g. ricotta, goat’s cheese, quark
For the dressing
½ tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
olive oil, to drizzle
Soak freekeh in water for at least an hour, or preferably overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Bring to the boil in a large pot with 2½ cups water. Add the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and simmer until the grain softens (it should take roughly 45 minutes, add a little more water if necessary). When ready, drain and leave to cool.
While your freekeh is cooking, pat the aubergine dry and drizzle with olive oil in a large baking dish. Place under the grill with the bell peppers, skin sides up – they will blacken and blister under the heat. Stir the aubergine occasionally so they will grill evenly. When soft and golden, remove both from the heat and place the peppers in a plastic bag to sweat. Leave for 15 minutes and then remove, rinse under cool water and peel the blistered skin from the juicy flesh. Roughly chop.
In a large salad bowl mix the vegetables and herbs through the freekeh. Add the pomegranate seeds. Combine salad dressing ingredients in a bowl with a whisk, then mix through the salad along with the toasted nuts and seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the flavours to mingle before adding the soft cheese and serving.
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