Welcome to another work week, friends! Whew, what a fun weekend I had, though! Have you ever looked forward to and waited seemingly forever for an event to arrive and then before you know it, it’s over and you wish you could go back and experience it all over again?
That was my weekend and I’m slightly disappointed that all the anticipation and excitement of the weekend is over. Thankfully, Philip and I have a few more exciting and fun trips planned for the summer and fall…don’t you just love it when one adventure ends, you automatically have another one to look forward to?
So what was I so excited for this weekend? One of my closest friends from college got married this weekend in Colorado (the one I had a bachelorette party for a few weekends ago)! For one, it was a nice mini-vacation from work, but mostly, it was just a joy to be able to celebrate such a special and fun day with her.
The wedding was absolutely beautiful, the bride was radiant, and the location couldn’t have been better. I mean, Colorado…in the mountains. Yes, please.
While Thursday and Friday were busy days preparing for the wedding and dancing the night away, the fun just kept going into Saturday (see why I was so excited for this trip?!). Some of Philip’s family lives in Denver, so we spent the day hiking and enjoying the beauty that Colorado has to offer, with the great company — as well as the help and expertise — of Philip’s brother and his soon-to-be-wife. :)
If a sign of a fun, jam-packed weekend is complete exhaustion, then this trip was definitely a good one. Despite all the fun, it was nice to finally make it home yesterday (although, with the instant realization that humidity is in full force right now in Madison, I miss Colorado’s no humidity weather).
While the trip was a great one, my body was in dire need of returning to some sort of normalcy in the area of food (and sleep, but mostly food). A perfect “recovery-from-vacation” meal in the summer is this Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta with grilled chicken. This meal is fresh, light, full of whole grains, and is something that will get
you me right on track again after having one too many Scotcheroos this weekend.
Now don’t freak out about this freekeh in the salad. ;) It’s simply another ancient grain — meaning it’s old and hasn’t been modified over the years like wheat or rice have. It’s similar to quinoa or farro (also ancient grains) and cooks up almost exactly the same way you would rice. It tastes about about the same as rice with a slightly nuttier flavor and contains slightly more protein and fiber. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, feel free to use quinoa, rice, or even whole grain couscous or orzo pasta.
The vinaigrette that lightly coats the freekeh and the other ingredients is so simple to make, it’s almost ridiculous. It’s light and refreshing with the lemon juice, but doesn’t take away from the wonderful flavors of the grapes, feta, or mint. Mint is by no means just for mojitos, folks! This is a great way to use up some fresh mint if you have it growing like a weed this summer in a pot or garden. It adds so much brightness and compliments the feta perfectly. This salad is definitely not short on flavor!
Add some grilled chicken, fish, or even shrimp to it and you have yourself a filling, yet light, meal. Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta is a healthy, go-to salad after an extra fun weekend, but tastes as though you’re sacrificing nothing.
Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta
1 cup freekeh (or other whole grain, such as quinoa, farro, brown rice, whole grain orzo or couscous)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups quartered or halved seedless grapes
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- Add 2 1/4 cups of water to a medium saucepan along with 1 cup of freekeh. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover to continue simmering. Once the freekeh has soaked up the water and is tender (may need to add more water if freekeh is not completely tender yet), remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add grapes, feta, mint, onion and the cooled freekeh. Toss to combine and enjoy. (I served this as a side with grilled chicken. Chicken was drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper.)