Freekeh doesn’t get enough love! The flavorful grain is nutty, smoky, rich and filled with fiber and nutrients, and you don’t need to do much to turn it into a wow-worthy dish. I keep it simple with this easy freekeh salad recipe, allowing the superfood to do most of the talking and lifting the deeply savory notes with fresh greens, herbs, and a tart pomegranate molasses dressing. 

An overhead close up of herby freekeh salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils.
Photo Credits: Ali Redmond

Where I live in the American south, people are obsessed with smoke: they brag about their smokiest barbeque ribs or brisket—even smoky mezcal cocktails. But where I grew up in Egypt we also have a thing for a little smoke. 

You may be familiar with smoked dips like Baba Ganoush or Muhammara, but we even love our grains to have that assertive depth of flavor. No shy ingredients here! Freekeh, with its nutty, smoky, incredibly rich, and deliciously bold flavor, takes center stage with this freekeh salad recipe, where I keep the seasonings light so its nuances can shine.

Pomegranate molasses adds a slight hint of sweetness offset by the acidity from the lemon juice and the savory flavors of the freekeh, it’s a perfect balance! Serve this recipe as a satisfying vegan main with crispy Falafel or Grilled Veggies. Or add grilled chicken for a healthy, protein-packed lunch recipe. 

Table of Contents
  1. Freekeh Salad Ingredients and Substitutions 
  2. Ingredient Spotlight: Freekeh
  3. How to Make Freekeh Salad
  4. What to Serve with Freekeh Salad
  5. You’ll Also Like: More Grain Salad Recipes
  6. Herby Freekeh Salad with Fresh Veggies and Pomegranate Dressing Recipe
Ingredients for herby freekeh salad including freekeh, salt, green onions, carrots, cucumbers, parsley, mint, lemon, pomegranate molasses and olive oil.

Freekeh Salad Ingredients and Substitutions 

I took a similar approach to my French Lentil Salad for this freekeh grain salad. I wanted a Tabouli Salad vibe with fresh ingredients but with a tart-sweet dressing to tie everything together. You’ll need:

  • Freekeh acts almost like the “greens” for a typical Western salad–the flavor-rich bridge that ties the fresh ingredients together. Farro is a worthy substitute, though you’ll want to add a bit more seasoning since it has a milder taste. 
  • Kosher salt enhances the flavor, but freekeh is so intensely flavorful you don’t need much. 
  • Green onions are mild enough to enjoy raw, but add that classic sweet-and-savory onion flavor. Yellow or white onions would be too overpowering (unless you’re a true onion fanatic), but you can substitute with shallot, chives, or red onions.
  • Carrots add crunch and a nice burst of color.
  • Persian cucumber adds a refreshing quality, lifting the savory and smoky freekeh. If you can’t find Persian, English are similarly sweet and tender. If using standard slicing cucumbers, peel off their waxy skin. 
  • Parsley and mint lift the richness with their fresh and light flavor. You can substitute with other tender herbs, like basil, dill, or cilantro.
  • Fresh lemon juice and pomegranate molasses give the dressing a sweet, tart, and syrupy punch. You can make the pomegranate molasses from scratch, or order our favorite from the shop
  • Extra virgin olive oil enriches the dressing. Use a high-quality extra virgin variety–I love our smooth, buttery Italian Nocellara with this recipe. 
Freekeh from the Mediterranean Dish shop.
Freekeh from The Mediterranean Dish Shop

Ingredient Spotlight: Freekeh

Freekeh, pronounced “free-kah,” is a popular grain where I grew up in Egypt but still hasn’t quite been “discovered” here in the U.S. Green durum wheat is harvested while it’s young and still soft, then roasted and threshed to remove the husks. This process gives freekeh its distinct smoky flavor and tender yet chewy texture.

Freekeh is also known for its high nutritional content, boasting high levels of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The herby freekeh salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils next to a serving of the salad on a plate with a fork.

How to Make Freekeh Salad

Freekeh may sound like a fancy ingredient but it’s as easy to cook as rice. You’ll need an hour or so to put everything together, but since freekeh is so springy it keeps a pleasant texture for a few days, so it’s a great option for meal prep. Here are the steps: 

  • Prep the freekeh. Look through and pick over 1 cup of freekeh to remove any debris or unwanted small stones. Rinse well a few times through a colander.
  • Cook the freekeh. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed freekeh with 2 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil, and season very lightly with salt (freekeh is quite savory on its own). Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat until the grains are tender and slightly chewy, anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. (Our freekeh, which I use here, will take around 35 minutes because it is wholegrain freekeh). Drain any remaining water and fluff the freekeh with a fork. Let cool briefly.A close up of cooked freekeh in a saucepan with a fork.
  • Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice from one lemon and 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses. Drizzle in about ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil while whisking until fully emulsified. (I don't add salt here because it's best to add it to the freekeh salad later and only if needed.)
  • The dressing for the herby freekeh salad in a bowl with a whisk.
  • Prep the veggies and herbs, adding them to a medium bowl as you go. Peel and chop 2 medium carrots. Trim and chop 3 to 4 green onions. Chop 3 Persian cucumbers (peel them first if using standard slicing cucumbers with waxy skin). Chop enough parsley leaves to get 1 packed cup, and enough mint leaves to get ½ packed cup.The ingredients for the herby freekeh salad in a bowl just before being mixed together.
  • Assemble the salad. Add the cooled freekeh to the bowl with the veggies and toss to combine. Pour the dressing on top and toss well. Taste and adjust the salt to your liking. You can serve this salad immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. An overhead photo of herby freekeh salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils next to a kitchen towel and a serving of the salad on a plate with a fork.

What to Serve with Freekeh Salad

You can serve this grain salad for a satisfying vegan meal, perhaps with Grilled Vegetable Kabobs or Falafel—great for a vegan picnic! Or serve as a side to fish or meat–since it’s so full-flavor go for something light like Baked Cod or Lemon Garlic Chicken.

You’ll Also Like: More Grain Salad Recipes

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

Freekeh from the Mediterranean Dish shop.

Try Our Turkish Freekeh!

Nutty, smoky, and rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

No ratings yet

Herby Freekeh Salad with Fresh Veggies and Pomegranate Dressing

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
An overhead close up of herby freekeh salad in a serving bowl with serving utensils.
This simple salad packs loads of flavor and nutrition, particularly for a recipe with so few ingredients. Freekeh is deeply savory, salty, and smoky, a great match for tart-sweet pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and refreshing herbs. Serve on its own as a vegan main, or as a side to simple roast meat or fish.
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 30 minutes
Total – 40 minutes
Cuisine:
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern
Serves – 4
Course:
Entree/Salad

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup freekeh
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 green onions, trimmed and chopped (both white and green parts)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ packed cup chopped fresh mint leaves

For the Dressing

Instructions
 

  • Prep the freekeh. Look through and pick over the freekeh to remove any debris or unwanted small stones. Rinse well a few times.
  • Cook the freekeh. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed freekeh with 2 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil, and season very lightly with salt (freekeh is quite savory on its own). Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat until the grains are tender and slightly chewy, anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. (Our freekeh, which I use here, will take around 35 minutes because it is wholegrain freekeh). Drain any remaining water and fluff the freekeh with a fork. Let cool briefly.
  • While the freekeh cooks, make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Whisk, and while whisking, drizzle about ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Continue to whisk until emulsified. (I do not add salt here on purpose, it’s best to add it later to the freekeh salad if needed. As mentioned, freekeh is quite savory and slightly smoky.)
  • Assemble the salad. In a medium mixing bowl, add the cooked freekeh, green onions, carrots, cucumber, parsley, and mint. Pour the dressing on top and toss well. Taste and adjust the salt to your liking. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 167.7kcalCarbohydrates: 35.7gProtein: 9gFat: 1.2gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 24.9mgPotassium: 224.4mgFiber: 6.1gSugar: 5.4gVitamin A: 5261.5IUVitamin C: 19.4mgCalcium: 51.1mgIron: 1.3mg
Tried this recipe?

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.