It’s grape season! Even though grapes are available year-round, fall is one of the only times I buy them. Domestic grapes are in season, which means they’re tasty and affordable. (Grapes are always on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, so I only buy organic.)
This fall, I’ve noticed a lot of recipes with cooked grapes, which are delicious. I found a lovely-sounding panna cotta in MS Living, and this easy sausage and roasted grape main course from Bon Appetit. In my freekeh salad recipe, you roast the grapes pretty much like you’d roast any vegetable–tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pop into the oven until they’re wrinkled, juicy, and a little bit golden.
Freekeh Salad with Roasted Grapes, Red Onion, and Feta
1 cup cracked Greenwheat freekeh
Coarse kosher salt
2 cups red grapes, halved
1 small red onion, large dice
3 sprigs thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 to 3 ounces crumbled feta, preferably sheep’s milk
- In a medium pot, combine freekeh with 2 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil, stir, reduce to low and simmer, covered, until freekeh is tender and water is absorbed, 30 minutes. Transfer to colander to cool. (Both times I made this, the freekeh didn’t fully absorb the water as per the instructions on the box–I just cooled it in a colander to make sure it was dry.)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, toss grapes, onion, and thyme sprigs with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and roast until grapes are lightly golden and releasing some juice and onions are completely cooked, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine red-wine vinegar and honey; whisk in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add freekeh, roasted grapes and onions, parsley, and minced thyme to bowl; mix well. Gently stir in feta, adjust seasoning and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Note: Freekeh is roasted green grain that can be cooked and served much like rice, farro, wheatberries, etc. Made from young wheat, freekeh has a nice, rich flavor that comes from the roasting process. You can find it in specialty markets and at some Whole Foods. I’ve only ever seen the Greenwheat Freekeh brand, which has cooking instructions on the box (cooking ratio is 1 cup freekeh to 2 1/2 cups water.)