Freekeh Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Green Olives

Freekeh is a whole-grain wheat product popular in parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa. It is produced by harvesting green wheat, sun-drying, then roasting the grains. Freekeh has a unique taste all its own, with nutritional value superior to mature wheat.

Once virtually unheard of in American kitchens, freekeh is gaining in popularity as cooks look to world cuisine for less-processed (whole) grain options.

Look for freekeh in Middle-Eastern groceries as well as some high-end markets, or substitute almost any other cooked whole grain — farro, brown rice, wheat berries, barley.  Israeli couscous (actually a pasta product) would be lovely as well.


  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup Italian green olives (such as Cerignola), pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley or cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon


  1. Pick through freekeh to remove any grit. Rinse several times under cold water; drain. Place in a saucepan with water and one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon oil. Bring to a boil, then cover tightly and cook for about 45 minutes until water is absorbed and grains are tender. Turn off heat and let the pan sit for 5 minutes. Then uncover and cool.  If using another type of grain, cook according to package directions, drain as necessary and cool.
  2. While freekeh is cooking preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cauliflower on a baking sheet with just enough oil to coat. Season with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes until tender and brown in spots. Turn once during cooking.
  3. Place cauliflower, olives, cooled freekeh and parsley (or cilantro) in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or to taste), plus the zest of one lemon. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Toss to combine. This salad works well slightly warm or at room temperature.
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