Tag Archives: butternut squash

Butternut and Cranberry Freekeh Salad

Butternut and Cranberry Freekeh Salad

Hang on, we’re about to get freekeh! OK, so it’s actually pronounced freek-ah, but I’m seldom funny, so let’s just go with it.

Freekeh is an ancient grain, full of beneficial nutrients. It is high in fiber, protein and calcium and it even has probiotic properties. Pretty impressive, huh? Even though Freekeh has been around for many thousands of years, it is suddenly becoming one of the newest and most delicious super foods! So, when the kind people at Freekehlicious asked if they could send me some and if I could develop some recipes, I was really excited!

There is something about this type of grain salad that, to me, is completely satisfying. Once cooked and cooled a bit, you can really turn those grains into a complete meal. One really great advantage of using freekeh in a salad like this is how high it is in protein, so once you add your favorite veggies, nuts and dressing, you’ve created a meal in a bowl. Leftovers pack up so easily for lunches during the week too!

I knew I wanted to incorporate seasonal ingredients. Eating what’s in season is always best, as far as taste and nutrition. Butternut squash is readily available in stores and farm stands now. If you think it may not be your favorite, I dare you to try roasting it this way. Once you cube it in small bites, toss with some olive oil and roast it, the squash develops caramelized bits and tastes sweet and really delicious. I think cranberries go so well with butternut squash and their color looks so pretty against the orange bits. Throw in some toasted pecans (Do you say pi-kahn or pee-can? I say both…depending on the moment!) and this may even become your family’s most favorite Thanksgiving side dish!

 

Butternut and Cranberry Freekeh Salad

 

Butternut and Cranberry Freekeh Salad

1 C. wholegrain freekeh
3 C. water
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 – 2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C. orange juice
1 t. honey
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 C. dried cranberries (I use the low sugar variety)

Combine the freekeh and the water in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low for 40 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit covered while you prepare the other ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

On a large baking sheet, toss the butternut squash cubes with the olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and allspice. Use your hands to get them coated well.

Roast the squash in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Don’t over roast the cubes or they’ll become too mushy. When done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool.

Spread the pecans evenly on a small baking sheet. Shut the oven off, but while it’s still hot, place the pecans in and shut the door. Allow them to toast for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients up to the black pepper. Whisk together and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the freekeh and the cranberries. Toss with the dressing until completely coated. Now add the squash and pecans and toss lightly.

Notes:

  • Freekeh is available in wholegrain or cracked form. I love the wholegrain in this recipe. The texture is similar to wheat berries. The cracked freekeh is very much like bulgur.

 

Freekeh, an ancient grain high in fiber, protein and calcium, makes this salad delicious, with roasted butternut squash, cranberries and roasted pecans.

 

Flatbread Two Ways

Veggie and Goat Cheese Flatbread and Butternut Arugula and Gruyere Flatbread

There are a lot of questions floating around over the difference between a flatbread or a pizza. Some say that it’s all in the leavening. Flatbreads have none. But there are some really wonderful chefs out there making flatbreads with pizza dough. They argue that it mostly has to do with the toppings. Flatbreads have either no cheese or very small amounts of cheese. Then, to complicate things further, some say it’s all in the shape. Flatbreads are oval, pizzas are round. Me, personally, I really don’t care either way. But…since I did have to name these guys, I went with flatbread. Yes, I do use yeast in the dough, but the minimal amount of cheese in either of these flatbreads and the freeform shape does not feel like pizza to me. These are a healthier alternative to cheese laden pizza. There is so much flavor going on in each, that you don’t miss the cheese or the fat that comes with it.

This dough becomes super crunchy to stand up to the vegetables and it couldn’t be easier to make. It comes together in your food processor in a couple of minutes. Give each a try! These are perfect Meatless Monday meals!

Flatbread or Pizza Dough

(Makes enough for 2 flatbreads or pizzas)

1 C. water, warmed for about 1 minute and 30 seconds on high in the microwave
2 t. honey
1 T. active dry yeast
1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1 1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1 t. sea salt
2 T. extra virgin olive oil

In a 2 cup measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the warmed water and honey. Mix in the yeast and allow to sit for about 5 to 8 minutes, until bubbly and foamy.

In your food processor, with the dough blade, pulse the flours and the salt together to combine. Run the processor and drizzle in 1 T. of the olive oil then stream in the yeast mixture until incorporated. Let the machine run until the dough forms a ball. Stop the processor and remove the ball. Place it in a large bowl greased with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 1 hour and a half.

Once the dough has risen, divide in two and use in any pizza or flatbread recipe.

Veggie and Goat Cheese Flatbread

Veggie Goat Cheese Flatbread

2 T. corn meal
1 ball of dough, recipe above
1 plum tomato, sliced thinly
1/2 Japanese eggplant (thin eggplant), sliced thinly
1/2 yellow squash, sliced thinly
1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/4 C. crumbled goat cheese
2 -3 large fresh basil leaves, torn or cut

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle the cornmeal on a large baking sheet. Place the dough on the sheet, and using your fingers, just press it out into an oval shape. Make sure you press it out until it is quite thin. Spread the vegetables out over the dough, leaving just a bit of a border all around. Brush the tops of the vegetables with the olive oil, sprinkle with some salt, pepper and thyme then the goat cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Sprinkle the basil on top. Cut into sections and serve.

Butternut Arugula and Gruyere Flatbread

Butternut Arugula and Gruyere Flatbread

2 T. corn meal
1 ball of dough, recipe above
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced thinly
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. pine nuts
sea salt and black pepper
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/2 C. grated Gruyere cheese
1 C. fresh baby arugula
freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle the cornmeal on a large baking sheet. Place the dough on the sheet, and using your fingers, just press it out into an oval shape. Make sure you press it out until it is quite thin. Spread the butternut squash and the shallots out over the dough, leaving just a bit of a border all around. Brush the tops of the vegetables with the olive oil, sprinkle the pine nuts then some salt, pepper and thyme and the Gruyere.

Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and top with the arugula and the Parmesan. Cut into sections and serve.

Notes:

  • If you’ve been following my blog, you know how much I love my mandoline! That’s what I use to get super thin slices in both of these recipes. I’ve said this before, you don’t need to spend a lot on a mandoline. Mine is super inexpensive and it really does the job well. If you don’t have one, just try to keep your slices really thin.
Butternut Flatbread before its arugula topping