Salmon & Freekeh Salad with Sweet Peppers, Dates, & Olives

Salmon & Freekeh Salad

with Sweet Peppers, Dates, & Olives

40 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

For tonight’s dish, we’re pairing simple pan-seared salmon with a vibrant Middle Eastern grain salad. Nutty, smoky freekeh (a type of green wheat popular in the region) provides a hearty base for sautéed spinach and sweet peppers, plus olives, dates, and almonds for even more contrasting textures and flavors. To spoon over it all, our salsa verde calls on sesame seeds and citrusy sumac to evoke the classic flavors of dried za’atar.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    810 Cals (est.)
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fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the freekeh and cook, uncovered, 23 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems. Transfer to a bowl. Pick the oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems and finely chop the leaves. Transfer to the bowl of parsley. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the pepper stems; halve lengthwise, then remove and discard the ribs and seeds. Cut the peppers crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Using the flat side of your knife, smash the olives; remove and discard the pits, then roughly chop. Pit and roughly chop the dates.

Make the sesame salsa verde:
3 Make the sesame salsa verde:

While the freekeh continues to cook, to the bowl of parsley and oregano, add the spice blend, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, up to half the garlic, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the vegetables:
4 Cook the vegetables:

While the freekeh continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and softened. Add the spinach and remaining garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the juice of 1 lemon wedge. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pot of cooked freekeh. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the salmon:
5 Cook the salmon:

Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned fillets, skinless side down. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, or until lightly browned. Flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Turn off the heat.

Finish the freekeh & plate your dish:
6 Finish the freekeh & plate your dish:

While the salmon cooks, to the pot of cooked freekeh and vegetables, add the olives, dates, almonds, the juice of the remaining lemon wedge, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished freekeh between 2 dishes. Top with the cooked salmon fillets. Serve with the salsa verde on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Cook the freekeh:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the freekeh and cook, uncovered, 23 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems. Transfer to a bowl. Pick the oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems and finely chop the leaves. Transfer to the bowl of parsley. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the pepper stems; halve lengthwise, then remove and discard the ribs and seeds. Cut the peppers crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Using the flat side of your knife, smash the olives; remove and discard the pits, then roughly chop. Pit and roughly chop the dates.

Make the sesame salsa verde:
3 Make the sesame salsa verde:

While the freekeh continues to cook, to the bowl of parsley and oregano, add the spice blend, the juice of 2 lemon wedges, up to half the garlic, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 Cook the vegetables:

While the freekeh continues to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and softened. Add the spinach and remaining garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the spinach has wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the juice of 1 lemon wedge. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pot of cooked freekeh. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the vegetables:
Cook the salmon:
5 Cook the salmon:

Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned fillets, skinless side down. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, or until lightly browned. Flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Turn off the heat.

6 Finish the freekeh & plate your dish:

While the salmon cooks, to the pot of cooked freekeh and vegetables, add the olives, dates, almonds, the juice of the remaining lemon wedge, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished freekeh between 2 dishes. Top with the cooked salmon fillets. Serve with the salsa verde on the side. Enjoy!

Finish the freekeh & plate your dish:
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