Meatless Monday: Freekeh Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

While I’m back to eating meat (I gave it up for Lent) and have been for some time, I still enjoy the occasional meatless meal. I’d been dying to try freekeh for a while now – after hearing it dubbed the “new quinoa” I knew that I had to give it a try.

What is freekeh? According to Wikipedia, freekeh “is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.” Freekeh Foods says, “Freekeh is a healthy alternative to rice because it has up to 3 times the protein as even brown rice! Freekeh is a roasted ancient grain that is equal to quinoa in protein and fiber … Freekeh has 6 g protein and 4 g fiber per serving.”

Freekeh Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

Anyway, enough about the health aspects of freekeh. You get it – it’s healthy. Now, how does it taste?

It reminded me more of rice than quinoa from the texture and flavor. It wasn’t nutty like some quinoas can be and it had a similar soft texture to rice. And it was just as easy to prepare! The fine folks at Freekeh Foods sent me three packages of Freekeh (original, rosemary sage, tamari) along with a bunch of recipe cards with recipes from freekeh breakfast cereal to freekeh chili. I can’t wait to try all the recipes out. But in the meantime, let me share some recipes I came up with, based on what I had on hand. First, Freekeh Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese:

Freekeh Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

Freekeh Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 c. dry freekeh (I used Freekeh Foods original)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or diced
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 c. goat cheese
  • 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts

Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare freekeh according to package directions (my freekeh said to add to 2 1/2 c water, boil, then simmer for 20ish minutes).
  2. While freekeh is cooking, heat 1-2 TBS olive oil on a pan over medium low heat. Add chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic. Cook onion and garlic for 5 or so more minutes, until onion is translucent and soft.
  3. Remove onion and garlic from heat but keep in pan. Add chickpeas and toss to mix well.
  4. When freekeh is done cooking, drain well. Add to onion/garlic/chickpea mixture. Toss so the olive oil and garlic fully incorporate with the freekeh. Pour mixture into a bowl.
  5. Just before serving, toss with pine nuts and goat cheese. Enjoy!

Makes: 2-3 side dishes or 1-2 vegetarian main meals

20140505_171034

Some questions for you:

  • Have you tried freekeh before?
  • What’s your favorite meatless meal?
  • What other freekeh recipes should I try?

Disclosure: Freekeh Foods sent me three packages of Freekeh to try out. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions/thoughts/photos/other randomness are my own. And I can’t wait to try out my next package and share the info with you!

Freekeh Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

Looking for some more Meatless Monday, vegetarian recipes? Here are a few of my favorites:

more meatless mondays (1)

An Evening Out in Uptown – Being Part of the Community Chandelier Project

Living downtown, B and I don’t get to other neighborhoods on a regular basis. It’s just hard,  you know – when nearly everything you want is just a quick walk away, why hop in the car to drive somewhere else?

Earlier this week, though, B and I spent the night out in Uptown, another one of Cleveland’s wildly changing and developing neighborhoods. We were invited to the Chandelier Project Closing Party at MOCA and took the opportunity to help with the project and visit the area.

Are you familiar with the Community Chandelier Project? For the past few months, members from the community have been helping hand make a beaded chandelier for Trentina, the Amelia and Chef Jonathon Sawyer restaurant opening super soon in the neighborhood.

I know what you’re thinking … my craft-making skills are pretty bad … have you seen the pair of mittens I tired to make? But I was assured we’d just be putting beads on strings, and getting to have some drinks and try some of the new Trentina food – plus get free admission to MOCA for the evening (after hours!) – so I happily accepted the invite.

It was a great, intimate event. MOCA is a gorgeous building – inside and out – and we got to see their current exhibit, Dirge, which had more meaning to me than it would have several months ago. Several other bloggers and members of the media were at the event, along with Chef Sawyer, Amelia and their adroable (and super well-behaved) children. The couple gave a heartwarming thanks to everyone who helped them bring this dream to life. We learned that more than 500 people had participated in this community chandelier project – I can’t wait to see it brought to life in the restaurant in the coming months!

prosecco

We were greeted with prosecco and appetizers! Prosecco the night before a long run = always a good decision.

my beadwork

my beadwork / strand for the Community Chandelier at Trentina

b beading

B busy with his strand

every colored bead on the strands represent a new person who helped out.

every colored bead on the strands represent a new person who helped out.

 

beading

pretending to be crafty

IMG_20140508_185346

polenta crisp appetizer, drink and completed beadwork

The amazing couple - Chef Sawyer and Amelia share their story and thank everyone for helping with the Community Chandelier

The amazing couple – Chef Sawyer and Amelia share their story and thank everyone for helping with the Community Chandelier

After the event and exploring the museum, B and I strolled around midtown.

Selfies outside MOCA (the building is reflective!)

Selfies outside MOCA (the building is reflective!)

Walking around Midtown

Walking around Midtown

And of course stopped for some dessert at Coquette Patisserie.

Dessert from Coquette Patisserie

Dessert from Coquette

 

It was a great, beautiful evening and reminded me I really need to get out and explore more. After all, one of my favorite neighborhoods outside of downtown was just named one of THE up-and-coming neighborhoods in the nation by USA Today. If that’s not a reason to leave downtown on occasion, I don’t know what is!

A few questions for you to answer:

  • Favorite neighborhood near where you live … go!
  • Modern Art – how do you feel about it? Do you go to modern art museums?
  • Is the weather finally getting warm where you are? It was sunny and in the 80s when B and I were exploring the area!
  • What’s one good thing you have going on this weekend/week? This weekend I hope to get back to the Cleveland Flea! We’re also going to a benefit, so B and I can get dressed up and be fancy one evening.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Chandelier Closing Project by MOCA and received free admission into the museum. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions/thoughts/photos/other randomness are my own.

A Dazzzzzzling Weekend

Wow, what a weekend. It was SO awesome that I’m pretty much speechless. Okay, not really – but I am suffering from some minor laryngitis … for real. But at least I can type, right?

Friday started with a 10.5 mileish run BEFORE work. Yes, that’s right – I ran before work with Nicole, a girl I’ve been running with who also signed up for the Cleveland Half Marathon (in less than two weeks!). We both had bus weekends planned so decided to get in a run before work early Friday morning. It was so nice to know that we’d done 10 miles before 7:30 a.m.!

10 early morning miles with Nicole

10 early morning miles with Nicole

Friday night was amazing. My parents were in town (YAY!!!) so we enjoyed dinner at Saigon, and then took in the Dazzle the District celebration. The live music, performances, crowds and of course the actual lighting and fireworks were incredible. For those that don’t know – my neighborhood is now home to the world’s largest outdoor chandelier. And not only did I get to enjoy the lighting of the chandelier, but I got to go with my parents who were in from NY.

Jamie (lives in my building) had a Dazzle pre-party

Jamie (lives in my building) had a Dazzle pre-party

Pho for dinner

Pho for dinner

before

before

Chandelier is lit!

Chandelier is lit!

Saturday I woke up with no voice. Like literally no voice at all. So instead of going for a run and playing tour guide, I took it easy. We went to West Side Market with my parents, then of course I had to take them to Cleveland Tea Revival (my mom’s new favorite place!) and then we walked around a bit and explored Ohio City.

YUM! Bread at West Side Market

YUM! Bread at West Side Market

Pizza at Biermarkt

Pizza at Biermarkt

We enjoyed some pizza for lunch at BierMarkt and then it was on to the Indians game!  B got us great seats (4 rows back on the first base side) AND we won. My parents loved sitting so close – and taking home a win is always great.

All wearing Indians hats

All wearing Indians hats

Indians Win!

Indians Win!

Sunday my parents left pretty early – which was sad, but okay because I had an event to go to. I’m on the board of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Cleveland and Sunday was our annual Scholarship Banquet. Each year, our organization recognizes 100+ local outstanding high school seniors and awards one a $4,000 scholarship. It was a great event and it was so nice to “talk” (my voice was still coming back) to the young students, their parents and hear what they had planned for their future.

Hundreds of people at the PBK Scholastic Awards - Students, Parents, Teachers

Hundreds of people at the PBK Scholastic Awards – Students, Parents, Teachers

Sunday night ended with some work and of course dinner at B’s parents house.

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday … we’re already halfway through this week and soon ready for the upcoming weekend!  Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever lost your voice? What did you do to get it back? I’ve been drinking tons of tea and honey and trying to suck on tons of cough drops to prevent from constantly coughing/clearing my throat.
  • Are you Phi Beta Kappa?
  • Plans for Mother’s Day? We will be hanging out with B’s family. Since I saw my parents last weekend, and I’ll be seeing them again in a few weeks, we won’t be seeing them for Mother’s Day.
  • Have you ever done a long run before a work day as opposed to on the weekend? Would you do it again?
  • What are you looking forward to this May?