They say that you can’t have it all and that’s generally true, but this chicken freekeh salad certainly ticks a lot of boxes. It’s balanced, healthy, filling and refreshing and makes a great, lunch, light dinner or side dish. With crunchy cucumber, juicy pomegranate jewels, creamy feta and fresh mint this salad is super refreshing and will certainly hit the spot on a hot day (or any other day for that matter). The combination of chicken, pistachios and feta ensures the salad packs in plenty of protein and will keep you full for a while.
🛒 What do I need to make this recipe?
- Freekeh - you can swap this for spelt if you can't find freekeh. It has a similar texture to freekeh but does not have the same nutty taste.
- Chicken thighs - you can use lamb instead if you wish to give the salad a richer flavour. You can also omit the chicken and add extra nuts and feta for a vegetarian option.
- Feta - I would personally opt for feta every time but ricotta or goat cheese will also work well.
- Pistachio nuts - I love how their mild sweetness complements the other flavours in the salad. They can also be swapped for walnuts or hazelnuts.
- Cucumber - is juicy and refreshing like the pomegranate seeds. You could swap this for baby spinach or green apple.
Tools & equipment:
- Chopping board - for prepping the chicken, ideally one that is designated for raw meat.
- Medium sized frying pan - for cooking the chicken
- Salad bowl - choose one that will hold the finished salad and leaves room to toss all the ingredients together,
- Salad tossers - for ensuring salad and dressing ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. A couple of forks will do the job if you do not have these.
🧑🍳 How to make the Chicken Freekeh Salad
1. Cook the chicken
Season the chicken thigh pieces with salt, pepper and ground coriander. Then place them in a medium-sized frying pan on a medium to high heat and add oil. Add the seasoned chicken pieces when the oil is hot and cook for a few minutes until they begin to brown and are cooked through.
2. Prepare the dressing
Mix lemon juice, olive oil, ground cumin, garlic granules, honey and white wine vinegar in a small jug or bowl.
3. Assemble the salad
Put the cooked freekeh, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, feta, pistachio nuts and fresh mint into a salad bowl. Add the cooked chicken and pour on the dressing when you are ready to serve.
👍 Top tips for a perfect Chicken Freekeh Salad
- Use precooked freekeh to save time - ready to eat freekeh is a great shortcut when you are in a hurry. You should be able to find this in most large supermarkets or in your local health food store.
- Check the doneness of the chicken - cut one of the larger pieces of chicken in half. If it is white and opaque it's ready. If the meat is still pink it needs a little longer.
- Do not overcook the chicken - remove the chicken from the pan as soon as it is done to avoid dry rubbery chicken pieces.
- Add the dressing to the salad when you are ready to serve - no one likes a soggy salad so don’t leave the dressed salad hanging around for too long.
The salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store the salad and dressing separately to avoid a soggy and unpleasant salad. The salad is not suitable for freezing.
Freekeh is an ancient grain made from young durum wheat that has been harvested early. It has a chewy texture and a delicious nutty and earthly flavour.
Freekah is an unrefined carb. It offers a number of other nutritional benefits because it is harvested while it is still young. Freekah is high in protein and fibre and also contains a little iron and calcium.
It does not need to be soaked. However, it will benefit from a thorough rinse to remove the grit and other debris that can be found in some varieties of freekeh.