Recipe by Amelia Saltsman

Freekeh with Kale and Butternut Squash

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Parve Parve
Easy Easy
6 Servings


- Wheat - Gluten

Freekeh, fire-roasted green wheat, is a perfect canvas for autumn vegetables. Freekeh is the product of an ancient processing method for wheat used throughout the Levant. Traditionally, the wheat is harvested while still green, dried briefly in the field, and then fire-roasted, yielding a nutrient-rich grain with grassy and smoked flavors.   The grain’s smoky notes are enhanced with smoked paprika (pimentón in Spain) and smoked salt. This dish is great for entertaining, as it can be served at room temperature or made a day ahead and reheated. It is also delicious made with farro or red or black quinoa. This cooking method for freekeh comes from Orie Habshoush, grandson of the founder of a spice, legume, and grain shop near the Levinsky market in Tel Aviv.


Main ingredients

  • 1 cup freekeh, preferably finely cracked

  • 1 small butternut squash, about 1 and 1/4 pounds

  • 1 small bunch tender kale, such as cavolo nero, about 6 ounces, or 1/4 pound loose-leaf baby kale

  • 3 tablespoons Bartenura Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • kosher salt or Tuscanini Sea Salt

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2 and 1/2 cups hot water

  • smoked salt, for finishing


Prepare the Freekeh


If using whole or cracked freekeh, soak in water to cover for at least six hours or up to overnight, then drain well. If using finely cracked freekeh, skip this step. Halve the squash and remove and discard the seeds and fibers. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the squash halves, then cut into cubes no larger than one inch. You should have about three cups. If using a bunch of kale, strip the stems from the leaves and discard, then massage the leaves to tenderize, if you like. If using baby kale, skip this step. Roughly chop the leaves.


In a wide pot, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash, the smoked paprika, and a little kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is golden in places and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.


Add one tablespoon oil, the onion, and a bit of salt to the same pot and sauté until the onion is soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the kale and cook for two minutes. Push the kale and onion to the side of the pot. Add the remaining one tablespoon oil and the freekeh and cook for one minute, stirring to coat the grains with oil. Stir in the water, squash, and about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until almost all the water is absorbed and the freekeh is tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and cook until all the water is absorbed, about five minutes longer.


Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the smoked salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Freekeh with Kale and Butternut Squash

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