Treat yourself to this amazing Caprese Freekeh Salad tonight! You'll fall in love with this scrumptious salad's tasty, fresh summer flavors, all inspired by the Italian classic. So easy to make, too!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
One of my favorite summer treats is a Caprese Salad. Done right, this simple combination of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella is absolute perfection.
I'm always looking for ways to include those summery flavors into other recipes, and this Caprese Freekah Salad is a recent favorite!
If you've never had freekeh before, this easy Mediterranean-inspired recipe is the perfect way to try it! This chewy grain pairs perfectly with sunny tomatoes, rich mozzarella, and fragrant basil, and the result is a healthy, yet delicious salad that's totally irresistible!
Best of all, this tasty grain salad won't leave you hungry an hour after you eat it, and it's super easy to make ... perfect for hot summer days when you can't be bothered to do much in the kitchen!
Okay, are you hungry yet? Then keep reading for all the delicious details!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The first time I had freekeh was a few summers ago, and it was so delish that I couldn't wait to develop some recipes using it! Learn more about this interesting whole grain:
Freekeh is a type of cereal grain that's made by harvesting green durum wheat while young and tender. It is prepared by roasting the young wheat stalks over an open fire, then rubbing off the straw and chaff. This ancient grain, which is pronounced free-kah, originates in the Middle East and Northeastern Africa. You may also see it called freekah, farik, or frikeh.
Freekah has a earthy, nutty taste and chewy texture that's similar to bulgur and wheat berries. Because of the ways it's prepared, it also has a distinctive smokey flavor.
Because Freekeh is derived from durum wheat, it is not gluten free.
If you love quinoa and other whole grains, then you'll most likely enjoy freekeh, too!
Apart from the freekeh, this recipe uses basic ingredients you can find at most stores! Here's what you'll need:
- Freekeh - You can buy two varieties of freekeh: whole and cracked. This recipe calls for whole freekeh, but you could easily substitute cracked. Just remember that it will take less time to cook (make sure to follow the package directions). The grains are cooked in vegetable broth for extra flavor.
- Tomatoes - This recipe calls for grape tomatoes, however cherry tomatoes would also work great.
- Mozzarella - Using mini fresh mozzarella balls (also called ciliegine) insures you have a little fresh mozzarella in every bite. If you can only find a larger ball, simple cut it into pieces before adding to the salad.
- Basil - Fresh basil is a must here! It brightens up the other flavors and give the salad its classic Italian taste.
- Chickpeas - Stirring in a can of chickpeas gives this hearty salad a boost of protein and makes it even more filling.
- Pine Nuts - The pine nuts adds a wonderful nutty flavor that's so delish! Substitute other nuts, or leave them out, if you don't have any.
- Dressing - A bright, sunny Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette (that couldn't be easier to make) ties the summery flavors of this Freekeh Chickpea Salad together!
This delicious vegetarian salad can be served as a stand alone meal or a tasty side dish, so add it to your summer rotation ASAP!
You'll Also Need
To prep this recipe, you'll need a medium saucepan to cook the freekeh, as well as a small bowl to make the dressing and a large bowl to mix everything together.
How to Make Freekeh Salad
This hearty summer salad is so simple to make! You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Cook freekeh. Whole grain freekeh takes a while to cook, so you'll start with that first. Combine the grain and some broth in a medium pot, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Drain any excess liquid, then set aside to cool slightly.
- Prep tomatoes, mozzarella, and dressing. While the freekeh cooks, halve the mozzarella balls and the grape tomatoes. Then whisk together the lemon juice, olive, salt, and pepper to make the easy vinaigrette dressing.
- Combine ingredients. Once the freekeh has cooled slightly, mix in the tomatoes, mozzarella, chickpeas, basil, pine nuts, and dressing.
- Season to taste. Before serving, taste the salad, then adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if needed.
Time to eat your delicious Freekeh Salad ... doesn't it look amazing? And I promise that it tastes even better than it looks!
Tip: This salad can be served warm or cold!
This simple recipe is easy to customize, if you're feeling creative! Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Grains - Swap out the whole freekeh for cracked freekeh, or substitute another grain, such as quinoa, barely, bulgur, or even rice.
- Veggies - Stir in your favorite summer veggies, like sweet peppers, corn, or zucchini (fresh or cooked). You could also swap out the fresh tomatoes for Roasted Grape Tomatoes.
- Beans - White beans would also be tasty here, or you could leave them out for a lighter salad.
- Nuts + Seeds - Substitute different nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or cashews for the pine nuts (or leave them out). Seeds (like pepitas or sunflower seeds) may also be used.
- Herbs - Mix in other fresh herbs, such as dill, flat leaf parsley, tarragon, or thyme.
- Dressing - Change up the flavors by using another dressing. Try my classic Red Wine Vinaigrette or this yummy Maple Salad Dressing instead.
- Vegan - To make this recipe vegan / dairy free, simply skip the cheese.
This Mediterranean Freekeh Salad can be made in advance (perfect for parties!), just make sure to stir in the basil just before serving. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator, where they will stay fresh for two to three days.
If you're looking for more freekeh recipes, make sure to check out my Winter Kale Salad next! You can customize it for anytime of year by varying the veggies.
You'll love these refreshing salads, too:
- Watermelon Basil Feta Salad
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Classic Garden Salad
- Grilled Vegetable and Halloumi Salad
- Superfood Salad
- Chinese Chopped Salad
- 1 cup whole grain freekeh
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large, juicy lemon)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pint (10 ounces / 551 ml) grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ pound (227 grams) mini fresh mozzarella balls halved
- 1 (15-ounce / 425 grams) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Combine freekeh and vegetable broth in a medium pot.
- Bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until tender and chewy, about 35 - 45 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Drain any remaining broth from freekeh and set aside to cool.
- Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined. Taste, then adjust seasoning with additional salt, if needed.
- Add freekeh to a large bowl, along with the grape tomatoes, bocconcini, chickpeas, basil, and pine nuts. Mix well.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad and stir until well combined.
- Serve salad immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!