Enjoy produce in cold weather months with this make-ahead fall freekeh salad! Toss nutty whole grain freekeh with roasted grapes and brussels sprouts, protein-rich edamame, and goat cheese, and toss with a white balsamic vinaigrette.
I've discovered roasted grapes and life will never be the same.
Grapes have always been that fruit that I buy, eat once, then completely forget about until a couple weeks later when I find them shriveled and sad in the fruit bin of my fridge. A few months ago, determined not to waste food, I threw a bunch of grapes in the roasting pan with brussels sprouts and now have a full on obsession. The grapes get concentrated with sweetness and caramelization, and add a burst of fruity flavor to roasted vegetables.
How to Make Roasted Grapes
For roasted vegetables (or in this case, fruit), 400 degrees F is the magic number. I’m sure there is a chef out there who can educate me on why 375 or 425 is better for certain foods, but 400 is the number I remember, and has been working pretty well for me since I learned how to roast in college. Just toss with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread evenly on a large baking sheet - giving them room to breathe makes sure they roast vs steam in the oven. I find grapes get nice and shrively and start to burst around 20-25 minutes, which is about 5 minutes before the Brussels sprouts are done.
There’s a lot of different ways to use roasted grapes. My favorite pairings are with roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower. They’re also delicious in pasta tossed with sauteed red cabbage and onions. Roasted grapes are also fantastic spooned over crispy roasted chicken or pork chops, in a salad, or as a condiment on a cheese plate.
Make-Ahead Grain Salad
I love grain salads, especially as a make-ahead lunch, because I can whip up a batch on the weekends and scoop some out into tupperware as a grab-and-go lunch. If you enjoy having a salad for lunch, I’d highly recommend a grain salad, as it won’t wilt, and you’re sure to include a source of carbs that your body really needs to power you through the day.
Keep your grain salads interesting by switching up the grain! Freekeh is a whole grain, specifically young, green wheat, that’s been cracked and roasted. It has a really nice, nutty flavor, and cooks up faster than a lot of other whole grains, like brown rice or farro. It’s traditional in Middle Eastern cooking.
This fall freekeh salad gets tossed with roasted grapes and Brussels sprouts, baby kale for greens, and a handful of edamame, goat cheese and pecans for protein and filling fats. It’s a complete meal in a bowl! You’ll love the fall flavors, especially when drizzled with a sightly sweet honey and white balsamic vinaigrette.
Freekeh Salad with Roasted Grapes and Brussels Sprouts
1 cup freekeh
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 1/2 cups grapes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup edamame
4 cups baby kale
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic
1 teaspoon honey
Bring freekeh and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25-30 minutes until water is absorbed. Let sit covered 5 minutes to steam, then remove cover and fluff with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Toss grapes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and spread evenly alongside Brussels sprouts or on a separate small baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast the Brussels sprouts 25 minutes until golden and tender, and grapes 20 minutes until slightly shriveled and just starting to burst, flipping halfway.
While Brussels sprouts and grapes are roasting, mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss room temperature freekeh, roasted grapes and Brussels sprouts, pecans, edamame, and kale in a large bowl. Stir in dressing. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese and serve.