Here’s the thing of it: I love pasta. I love pasta always. I love it to the point where I, not infrequently, make it for breakfast. Not just eat leftovers for breakfast, but actually make a fresh pot of pasta. Before 9am.
It’s a problem.
Normally I’ve balanced this obsession with working a very active job. In kitchens or serving in restaurants, you’re required to run around like a crazy person for at least 6, and up to 14 hours a day. But since working for myself, two days a week are spent almost entirely in a car. One day a week I’m on my feet but mostly sedentary, at a farmers market booth.
So I’m trying to make some healthy changes. Do I want to eat pasta 4 nights a week. Without question. But I’m trying guys. I’m trying.
This salad is a solid replacement. It’s warm, high in fat (good fat mostly!), filled with protein, and most importantly, it’s full of flavour. It’s super fresh tasting from the lemon, but the cumin and coriander round it out. The nuttiness from the freekeh is balanced wonderfully with the salty fried cheese, and I love the crunch of the radishes and the cashews. On top of it all it fills me to the point where I don’t dream about pasta 30 minutes after consumption. Which is pretty great in my books.
2 cups dried Freekeh
2 tbsp neutral oil (canola, avacado etc.)
Juice of 1 large Lemon
¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 clove Garlic
1 bunch Radishes, cut in halves or quarters, depending on size
1 bunch Cabbage Sprouts- or Broccoli Rabe, or Broccollini, whatever you have!
½ cup Cashews, roasted and coarsely chopped
1 package Halloumi, cut into ½ inch thick slices.
1 large avacado, cored, peeled and sliced.
Bring a medium pot with 4 cups of water to a boil. Add freekeh in with a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, put the lid on it, and turn the heat to low.
Cook until all the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
Mince the clove of garlic finely, (I smash them up with a pinch of salt, you can do that or not- up to you!)
In the bottom of a large bowl mix together the garlic, lemon, cumin, coriander and a pinch of salt.
Slowly whisk in the olive oil. It will look like an enormous amount of dressing, but the freekeh will absorb tons of it. Adjust for seasoning- adding a bit more acid or olive oil or salt depending.
Add the cooked freekeh and radishes to the dressing.
Cut the cabbage or broccoli into 2 inch pieces. Heat a large pan (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat.
Add 1 tbsp of the neutral oil and then add in the cabbage or broccoli with a healthy pinch of salt. Toss a few times and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the the stems are cooked and some of the leaves are nicely browned. Add them to the dressing.
In the same pan, add the remaining oil. Lay the halloumi out and fry until it’s nicely browned, then flip it over.
Remove from heat and cut into strips.
Serve freekeh in 4 bowls, topped with the halloumi, sliced avocado, and cashews.