This Za’atar-Spiced Chickpea and Freekeh Salad recipe was first shared as part of a fun “picnic game” in celebration of International Picnic Day, as you will read below. But it is too good not to share again for a delicious WeekdaySupper!
It’s got enough bite and protein to be a main course, but could also serve well as a side. Best of all, if you’ve got any leftovers, they’d be fabulous in your lunchbox the next day.
Hooray for picnics! One of my favorite things about this time of year is wrapping up sandwiches in wax paper and filling containers to the rim with fruit, salads, and other goodies, and then tucking them safely into a basket or cooler along with some refreshing beverages and fun desserts! I may or may not even have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to the humble act of picnicking.
I’m pretty much of the mind that almost anything can be packed into a picnic basket and transported to your chosen spot. But I’ll agree that some things just travel better than others. Cold salads are one of my favorite things to munch on throughout the day.
This salad is perfect for doing just that. It has nice chewy, hearty grains that are studded with fresh bites of summer (tomato, cucumber, and herbs), earthy roasted eggplant, and a bit of tang from added feta. Plus, spiced chickpeas add protein, which when combined with the freekeh, really help you to feel full. It packs and holds beautifully, and is great at any temperature, though I prefer it at room temp.
A bunch of the Sunday Supper family members have joined forces, and today we are celebrating International Picnic Day by bringing you a basket packed with goodies from A to Z, in the style of the picnic game! Drop by the Sunday Supper Movement to see the whole picnic spread out on our virtual blanket.
I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…
- Asian Chicken Salad from Try Anything Once Culinary
- Beautiful Beet Salad from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Chicken Muffuletta from Nosh My Way
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups from The Dinner-Mom
- Elote from Peaceful Cooking
- Fennel Slaw from FoodieTots
- Greek Farro Salad from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Honey Porter Glazed Chicken and Vegetable Skewers from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Italian Pasta Salad from Casa de Crews
- Japanese Plum Sushi from NinjaBaking.com
- Kudos Kitchen Kolaches from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake from In The Kitchen With KP
- Molasses Lovers Baked Beans from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Northern Bean Salad with Egg and Prosciutto from Family Foodie
- Orzo Salad from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- PICOBLAT from Simply Healthy Family
- Quinoa-Stuffed Grape Leaves from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Roasted Fingerlings with Capers and Dill from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Spicy Southern Fried Chicken from Food Lust People Love
- Tuscan Bread Salad from Curious Cuisiniere
- Ultimate Potato Salad from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Veggie Loaded Sandwiches from Momma’s Meals
- Wild Watermelon Sangria from The Weekend Gourmet
- Xavier Chicken Dumpling Soup from Nik Snacks
- Yogurt Banana Berry Ice Pops from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- 2 small eggplants
- 2 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons za'atar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, drained (or ~2 cups cooked)
- 1 tablespoon za'atar
- big pinch sea salt
- 1 cup uncooked freekeh (roasted green wheat berries)
- 3 cups water
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large english cucumber, peeled & chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- small handful mint, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- juice of ½ a lemon
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 teaspoon za’atar
- sea salt
- few grates of black pepper
- 4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400° F (to roast). Cut the eggplant into 1" cubes.
- Set them on a baking sheet and drizzle them with the olive oil, then sprinkle with the za'atar; toss to coat.
- Roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Set aside.
- Alternately, you could preheat a grill or grill pan.
- Cut the eggplant into 1" thick slices lengthwise.
- Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar; toss to coat.
- Grill until tender and grill marked.
- Set aside and cut into large chunks once cool enough to handle.
- Combine freekeh and water in a medium pot.
- Bring to a boil, give it a stir, cover it and reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Cook for 45 minutes. Drain any extra water. Set aside.
- While the eggplant is in the oven, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chickpeas, za'atar, and salt.
- Toss and toast until the chickpeas are well-coated with the spice mix and golden in spots. Set aside.
- Gently toss all of the remaining ingredients together with the roasted eggplant, freekeh, and spiced chickpeas.
- Add olive oil as needed to keep it loose, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Enjoy at room temperature.
-inspired by and adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
You can see the entire picnic basket from A to Z, with photos, right here at the Sunday Supper Movement website – just click HERE!