Recipe: Freekeh, kale and smoked butternut


Freekeh, fire-roasted green wheat, is a perfect canvas for the season's vegetables. The grain's smoky notes are enhanced with smoked paprika (pimentón in Spain) and smoked salt.

This colourful and delicious dish is great if you are entertaining guests, as it can be served at room temperature or made a day ahead and then reheated.

Serves: 6


155g, preferably finely cracked, freekeh

1 small butternut squash, about 570g

1 small bunch tender kale, such as cavolo nero, about 170g, or 115g loose-leaf baby kale

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

Kosher or sea salt

1 small onion, chopped

600ml hot water

Smoked salt for finishing


● If using whole or cracked freekeh, soak in water to cover for at least 6 hours or overnight, then drain well. If using finely cracked freekeh, skip this step.

● Halve the squash and discard the seeds and fibres. Peel the squash halves, then cut into cubes no larger than 2.5 cm. You should have about 420g. If using a bunch of kale, strip the stems from the leaves and discard, then massage the leaves to tenderise, if you like. If using baby kale, skip this step. Roughly chop the leaves.

● In a wide pot, heat a tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash, the smoked paprika, and a little 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 a tablespoon of 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 2 minutes. Push the kale and onion to the side of the pot. Add the remaining oil and the freekeh and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat the grains with oil. Stir in the water, squash, and about ½ teaspoon 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 5 minutes longer.

● Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the smoked salt.

● Serve warm or at room temperature.

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