I first had a salad like this at a sun-drenched café in Melbourne on a hot summer’s day. Like most food (and drink) served in the city’s cafés, it was fresh, bright and inspiring, although the mix of orange, cranberries and walnuts did remind me of dark Christmas nights in Scotland. Still, it’s a cracking and memorable flavour combination and one to keep in mind for whenever roast carrot kind of weather arrives wherever you are. Leftovers can easily be popped in a tub for lunch the next day.
Orange Carrot Freekeh with Cranberries and Walnuts
zest and juice of 1 orange
½ tsp sea salt flakes
5 carrots, peeled or 300g baby carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
20g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
small bunch (20g) dill, leaves only
1½ tsp red wine or cider vinegar
30g dried cranberries
First, place the freekeh in a medium pan. Top up with three times the volume of water, bring to the boil then cook over a high heat until tender but still retaining some bite (check the packet instructions for exact cooking times, around 13-15 minutes). Refresh under plenty of cold water, drain then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the orange zest and salt.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a large frying pan over a high heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and releasing their natural oils. Transfer to a plate to cool. Next, slice the carrots into 2cm thick coins on an angle. (If using baby carrots, as pictured, leave them whole.) Heat the oil in the frying pan then cook the carrots for 2 minutes until beginning to colour at the edges.
Pour in 120ml of water and the orange juice then add the ginger and boil for 4-5 minutes, or until the water has evaporated into a sticky glaze.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Finely chop the dill and walnuts then toss through the freekeh along with the vinegar and cranberries. Transfer to a large platter then top with the sticky carrots and glaze to finish.
brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley
radishes, precooked beetroots
sultanas, sour cherries
Extracted from Salad Feasts: How to assemble the perfect meal by Jessica Elliott Dennison (Hardie Grant, approx €20). Photography © Matt Russell.