Enjoy a freekeh salad with roasted beets & radish, quick pickled onion & blackberries, to celebrate the end of summer foraged blackberries and to explore a tonne of flavours and textures in one bowl.
A couple of summers back I created this vibrant freekeh salad recipe for a collaboration with Soho Home* to show off all their picnic wear. I brought it back from the archives and served it up on a retreat last weekend, making the most of big juicy blackberries that you find this time of year. The salad went down really well, so I thought it would be great to add it to my own website, so that I could keep a record of it alongside all my other recipes.
It pretty much follows my usual salad equation; A hearty grain at the base – freekeh, a young wheat (from ancient times) often found in Lebanese cooking. So easy to cook, and it is robust. Basically it won’t go soggy on you. + Roasted veggies – beetroot, radish. + A tasty dressing to bring it all together. + Something extra – on this ocassion blackberries, quick pickled onions as well as beet stems and some watercress. The feta and pistachios on top are not essential of course, but add creaminess and crunch. If you don’t have access to Freekeh, then you could also use spelt or barley, and both deliver that hearty chew!
The beautiful photography is by Michael Chapman, and was shot on Peckham Rye.
Roasted Beets & Radish with Freekeh, Quick Pickled Onion & Blackberries
- 200g freekeh (or other nutty, chewy wholegrains such as spelt)
- 800g beetroot (reserve stems for pickle), scrubbed and cut into 2cm pieces
- 400g radish, sliced in half through the root
- 150g blackberries, sliced in half if large
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 50g beet stems, trimmed to 1cm pieces
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- handful watercress or other peppery seasonal green salad leaf
- handful pistachios, roughly chopped
- 200g creamy white cheese such as feta or goat, crumbled
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (fan).
- Pickle your onion and beet stems. Mix them with the vinegars and honey, then set aside for 30 mins – 1hr while they pickle, tossing regularly.
- Next roast your veg. Place the chopped beets and radishes on two separate baking trays along with a good glug of olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt. Place in the oven, cook the radishes for around 30 minutes and the beetroot for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven when fork tender and allow to cool.
- Next cook your freekeh. Place in a saucepan with 1 litre water, a pinch of salt and a tbsp. of olive oil. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender. You want the freekeh to be cooked through, but still retain some bite. Then drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.
- Finally make the dressing. Steal two tablespoons of the onion pickling vinegar and whisk this with three tablespoons of olive oil and a clove of minced garlic.
- Place the freekeh, cooked beets and radish, blackberries, pickled onions and beet stems in a large bowl and toss through the dressing. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and pack up your salad for your picnic.
- Add peppery watercress, chopped pistachios and cheese.
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*Disclaimer: Original work in collaboration with Soho Home, for which I was compensated with materials from the shoot. I was not asked to replicate the recipe here, and have done so for my own benefit, with their kind permission.