Treat yourself to this cozy Winter Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Freekeh! This colorful salad recipe is the perfect combination of healthy and hearty, and it's so delicious!
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This time of year is so tricky. I'm constantly craving my favorite comfort foods, like Frito Pie, Enchiladas, Pizza, and Pasta (give me all the pasta!). But I'm also trying to keep up my healthy habits. Are you feeling the same way?
Luckily, this Winter Kale Salad is the perfect balance of healthy (tons of veggies) and hearty (whole grains), so it never fails to satisfy my appetite. And of course, it's super tasty, too!
You are going to love this flavor-packed recipe! It's loaded with tender kale, savory roasted vegetables, and crunchy pecans, all paired with chewy freekeh, which gives the salad its amazing texture. This recipe is an easy (and delicious) way to get a big serving of greens and hearty grains!
The star of this warm Freekeh Salad is the homemade Curry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing though. It has a scrumptious sweet-savory flavor that's out of this world delicious. You won't be able to resist it!
Ready to dig in? Then, keep reading for all the details.
Frequently Asked Questions
I first tried freekeh at a food show a few years ago. It's not that common here in the U.S., but I immediately fell in love with its wonderful chewy texture and a nutty, mildly smokey flavor! Learn more about this tasty grain:
Freekeh is a 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 nutty, earthy flavor and chewy texture that's similar to bulgur and wheat berries. Because of the ways it's prepared, it also has a distinctive smokey taste.
Freekeh, which is derived from durum wheat, is not gluten free.
If you've never eaten freekeh before, then you're in for a treat! Its unique texture and taste pairs perfectly with the wintery flavors of the wholesome salad.
This recipe uses simple, delicious ingredients! Here's what you'll need
- Freekeh - You can buy two varieties of freekeh: whole and cracked. This recipe called for whole freekeh, however you could easily substitute cracked. Just keep in mind that it will take less time to cook (follow the package directions). The grains are cooked in vegetable broth for extra flavor.
- Veggies - You'll roast a combo of sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts in olive oil until tender.
- Kale - Fresh kale adds a wonderful heartiness to the finished salad that basic lettuce simply could not. You'll massage it with olive oil and a little salt to tenderize it.
- Pecans - Chopped pecans add a lovely crunchy counterpart to the tender veggies. Feel free substitute different nuts or seeds.
- Dressing - This recipe features a wonderful curry vinaigrette that's super tasty and easy to make. If you're not feeling the curry, you can easily substitute a different dressing to change up the flavors. Check out the Variations section below for ideas.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian and dairy free. To make it vegan, substitute maple syrup for the honey in the dressing.
You'll Also Need
To prep the salad, you'll need a medium saucepan to cook the freekeh, a sheet pan to roast the veggies (these Circulon pans are a fave), and a large bowl to mix everything together.
How to Make Winter Kale Salad
This recipe has a few different components, but they're all easy to prepare! 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.
- Prepare roasted veggies. Once the freekeh is started, toss the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the veggies until tender and browned.
- Make vinaigrette. Next, you'll whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garam masala, and honey until well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Tip: This homemade salad dressing is seasoned with garam masala, a spice blend that's typically used in Indian cooking. Its warm, mildly spicy (but not hot) flavor pairs perfectly with the other salad ingredients, especially the sweet potatoes!
- Assemble salad. Place the kale in a large bowl, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Massage the oil and salt into kale, using your hands, for about 2 minutes or until kale is tender. Stir in the freekeh, roasted veggies, and pecans, then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Toss everything together, then serve.
With all of these amazing ingredients, this Winter Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Freekeh is one delicious salad that will keep you full, even on a cold winter day. Serve it for lunch or dinner for a delicious and memorable meal!
This warm Winter Grain Salad is super easy to customize! 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 - Make this salad with your fave Roasted Veggies. Almost anything goes, but butternut squash (or other winter squash), cauliflower, onions, carrots, and other winter vegetables would be especially delicious.
- Nuts + Seeds - Substitute different nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or cashews. Seeds (like pepitas or sunflower seeds) may also be used.
- Dressing - Change up the flavors by using another dressing. Try my scrumptious Maple Salad Dressing or this sunny Lemon Dressing instead.
This Freekeh Salad recipe keeps well, and can even be made in advance ... perfect for meal prep! Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator, where they will stay fresh for about three days.
If you're looking for more freekeh recipes, make sure to check out my Caprese Freekeh Salad next ... it's so delish! You'll love these hearty salads, too:
- Massaged Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing ... this basic recipe has tons of tips for making kale salad, and it makes a great side or main dish salad!
- Warm Farro Kale Salad with Feta
- Superfood Salad with Citrus Dressing
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- Kale Quinoa Salad
- Kale Salad with Cranberries
- Pumpkin Couscous Salad
- Couscous Pomegranate Salad
- Cranberry Feta Wild Rice Salad
Winter Kale Salad
- 1 cup whole grain freekeh
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
For Roasted Veggies:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped (discard stems)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pecan halves, toasted and roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine freekeh and broth in a medium pot.
- Bring broth to a boil, then cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until tender, about 35-45 minutes.
- Drain excess broth from freekeh, then set aside (cool slightly before adding to salad).
Prepare roasted veggies:
- Place sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts on a baking sheet, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well.
- Roast veggies for 15 minutes, then flip. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender and browned.
- Set aside to cool slightly before adding to salad.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garam masala, and honey until well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place kale in a large bowl, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Massage oil and salt into kale, using your hands, for about 2 minutes or until kale is tender.
- Add freekeh, roasted veggies, and pecans to kale; drizzle with vinaigrette.
- Toss salad together, then serve immediately. Enjoy!