Freekeh and Fava Bean Chickpea Salad

Fava bean (or broad bean) season is always way too short and oh so sweet. Mashing them fresh onto bruschetta is one of the best things that come out of the Spring garden. This fava bean chickpea salad is a bit of a rip-off of one we had for dinner one night as part of a mezze feast at a Lebanese restaurant in Dubai last month. It’s fast, fresh and flavoursome.

a bowl of freekeh and fava bean chickpea salad on a green tile background with a charred lemon on the side.

A bit of a backstory…

On our way to Ireland last month we stopped in Dubai for a few nights. We’ve had overnight stopovers before through the UAE before but this time we treated ourselves to a mini break full of sun, sand, and to be honest, sweating. After breaking out in a hideous heat rash I now know that 40+ degree weather does not agree with me!

On the other hand, the food was out of this world! I’m a sucker for really good food and wow did it deliver. I’m a huge fan of mezze. Is there anything better than grazing over a table of food with with and good people? Anyway, we went to “Ayamna”, a Lebanese restaurant at Atlantis on the Palm. Aside from the most gorgeous monochrome interior, dish after dish of sublime mezze was delivered to our table. Total heaven… and I had totally forgotten how much I love baba ghanoush. Obsession reignited!

What you are going to love about this Mediterranean fava bean salad

It is SO easy to make. I love a good chopped vegetable freekeh salad. Vegies plus grains. It’s a win win.

It’s got BBQ season written ALL OVER IT!

It can be a meal in itself or use it as a component as part of a bigger dish. I swear this recipe is for everyone. Take out the haloumi and you’ve got an easy vegan salad. For meat lovers, you can easily add some protein like chicken or lamb.

All the ingredients you need to get started

  • Canned Chickpeas – If you have dried chickpeas in the pantry, then go for it! I love the convenience of canned chickpeas, so that’s what I used in this recipe.

  • Freekeh

  • Fava Beans / Broad Beans – If you can’t get your hands on fresh broad beans, you can normally find frozen ones at the supermarket. Just defrost them at room temperature before adding.

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Fruit and Vegetables – Tomatoes, lemon, red onion, Lebanese cucumber

  • Fresh herbs – continental parsley, mint

  • Halloumi – the BEST halloumi in Australia hands down is Aphrodite halloumi. It’s proper Greek haloumi and it’s SO good. Find it in good cheese stores.

The deets

  1. Cook the freekeh to packet instructions. Once cooked (about 35 minutes) make sure all the water is absorbed and leave to cool.

  2. Dice the tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Pop them into a large salad bowl.

  3. Add the fava beans, chickpeas and chopped herbs.

  4. Once the freekeh has cooled, add to the chopped salad.

  5. Heat up a frypan on medium heat. Cut the lemon in half and put both lemon halves (cut side down) in the frying pan to grill for 5 minutes. Remove the lemon from the pan. Let the pan get up to a medium heat again and pop in the haloumi. Grill both sides for a few minutes each until sealed and golden. While the haloumi is cooking…

  6. Squeeze one lemon half of all its lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil over the salad. Season with seas salt flakes and freshly ground pepper. 

  7. Slice the haloumi and serve on top of the salad.

  8. Add the second grilled lemon to the side of the salad for squeezing over the haloumi.

What is freekeh?

Freekeh is young wheat that is roasted over a flame. It has a nutty flavour and firm texture. Use it in soups and salads like this broad bean salad, or as a substitute for rice and pasta. It’s available in good food stores like The Essential Ingredient.

How to serve up this halloumi, chickpea, and broad bean salad.

It can be a meal in itself, however I like to serve it alongside some grilled lamb chops dusted in this Greek spice rub

Cook a simple roast dinner of broad bean salad and a Herbs de Provence roast chicken. Easy and oh-so-tasty! Take it up a notch with a homemade loaf of bacon chive and cheese soda bread.

Cooks notes…

Can’t get your hands on freekeh? Camargue rice is another great option but you could also try cracked faro, pearl barley or spelt.

Freekeh takes about 35 minutes to cook and then time to cool. Feel free to cook the freekeh a few hours ahead and just pop in the fridge until ready to combine with the salad ingredients.

I used frozen fava beans for this recipe. Just leave them to defrost at room temperature before using. Fresh broad beans are in season between Spring and early Summer. To use fresh beans, first shell the pods. You then need to blanch the beans in salted, boiling water for one minute. Cool the beans by plunging them into icy water for a few minutes.  Drain the beans. Then remove each bean from their individual shells. They are now ready to eat!

They say you don’t make friends with salad. I do, and here is a few of my favourites…

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Halloumi Fava Bean and Chickpea Salad

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 serves 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Medditeranean

Description

This fava bean chickpea salad is a bit of a rip-off of one we had for dinner one night as part of a mezze feast at a Lebanese restaurant in Dubai last month. It’s fast, fresh, and flavoursome.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 c wholegrain freekeh
  • 1 c fava beans (broad beans), shelled and peeled
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained
  • a handful of finely chopped continental parsley
  • 5 large mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • 250g halloumi

Instructions

  1. Cook the freekeh to packet instructions. Once cooked (about 35 minutes) make sure all the water is absorbed and leave to cool.
  2. Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion. Pop them into a large salad bowl.
  3. Add the fava beans, chickpeas, and chopped herbs.
  4. Once the freekeh has cooled, add it to the chopped salad.
  5. Heat up a frypan on medium heat. Cut the lemon in half and put both lemon halves (cut side down) in the frying pan to grill for 5 minutes. Remove the lemon from the pan. Let the pan get up to medium heat again and pop in the halloumi. Grill both sides for a few minutes each until sealed and golden. While the halloumi is cooking…
  6. Squeeze one lemon half and the extra virgin olive oil over the salad. Season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper. 
  7. Slice the halloumi and serve on top of the salad.
  8. Add the second grilled lemon to the side of the salad to squeeze over the halloumi.

Notes

I used frozen fava beans for this recipe. Just leave them to defrost at room temperature before using. Fresh broad beans are in season between Spring and early Summer. To use fresh beans, first shell the pods. You then need to blanch the beans in salted, boiling water for one minute. Cool the beans by plunging them into icy water for a few minutes.  Drain the beans. Then remove each bean from their individual shells. They are now ready to eat!

Keywords: salad, freekeh, halloumi

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