'Tis the season to lighten up, and that means your diet too. Good thing this vegetarian salad combines a handful of healhty Mediterranean influences, including the so-hot-right-now grain freekeh. Chef Alexandra Manley of Josephine House in Austin, Texas, chose the Middle Eastern cereal for its "sweet, almost smoky flavor" to offset the earthiness of the artichokes. "Roasted tomatoes and pesto made from radish greens complement the artichokes with their tang and color," she says.
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes, plus 10 minutes to cool
1½ cups freekeh
5 cups vegetable stock
Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 lemons, juiced
3 garlic cloves, divided
2 cups radish tops
¼ cup pine nuts or pistachio nuts
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1. Combine freekeh and stock in a medium saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain.
3. Toss freekeh with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Toss tomatoes with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
3. Place them cut-side down on a parchment paper–lined sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes, or until tomato skins begin to char. Set aside to cool.
1. Remove the stems and inedible outer leaves of artichokes.
2. Cut off about 1 inch from the top of each artichoke.
3. Using a paring knife, peel off the outer leaves until artichokes are pale in color. Slice in half lengthwise and place in a large bowl of water with lemon juice until ready to cook. Just before cooking, slice hearts horizontally.
4. Smash 2 garlic cloves, keeping them whole. Heat 3–4 tbsp oil in a heavy skillet and cook artichokes and garlic cloves over medium heat for 5–7 minutes, or until artichokes are soft and turn golden brown. If garlic starts to turn too brown, remove it from the pan. Set aside to cool.
For radish-top pesto:
1. Pulse radish tops, 1 raw garlic clove, and nuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
2. Add ½ cup olive oil and process until smooth.
3. With a spoon, stir in cheese and a pinch of salt. Thin with olive oil to achieve desired thickness.
1. Reserve one third of the tomatoes and artichokes.
2. Toss remaining artichokes and tomatoes with freekeh.
3. Smear one-third of the pesto onto a serving plate, leaving the rest in a small bowl to pass around at the table.
4. Top the smeared pesto with the freekeh mixture, allowing pesto to show.
5. Decoratively place remaining artichokes and tomatoes on top of the salad. Garnish with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.