This is what I call a green, non-greens salad. Not a side, but a salad. Only because I ate this dish of green bean edamame freekeh as a main. As I often do with these sorts of dishes.
Without being too Socratic, because I know it doesn’t really matter, but what exactly is the definition of a salad? If you think about it, just about anything, whether it be greens of any sort, vegetables, cooked grains, nuts, fruit or…or…or….dressed up and tossed together could be a salad, right? Perplexing. Perhaps it would be easier to define what is not a salad.
So by my own personal definition this is a side dish that makes a fantastic salad. Blanched green beans and edamame are tossed together with freekeh – a grain that I am totally grooving one – in a very tasty miso dressing. And where did the inspiration for this come from? Well ages ago, my friend and Pilates trainer, Anna, sent me a pic she saw on Instagram. A picture from Sami Tamimi, the Palestinian-British chef who can make food smile, the guy who so successfully united with prized chef, Ottolenghi. And in this picture was an interesting combo of freekeh with greens beans and edamame tossed in what he said was a miso dressing. I have no idea how Sami makes his miso dressing, so with a little experimenting, I came up with my own. And a word on miso. I have stumbled across three different types of miso pastes and they are all a little different.
What is the difference between white, yellow and red miso paste?
- White miso paste (Shiro Miso) is sweet and mild and is made from soybeans that have been fermented with a large percentage of rice. It’s a great choice for salad dressings.
- Yellow miso (Shinshu Miso) has a mild and earthy flavor making it a versatile choice for salad dressings or soups. It’s made from soybeans that have been fermented with barley and sometimes a small percentage of rice.
- Red miso (Aka Miso) is more powerful and tart and is typically made from soybeans fermented with barley or other types of grains. It is made with a higher percentage of soybeans and may go through a longer period of fermentation. It’s what you will commonly see used in soups. It can range in color from red to dark brown.
And what is freekeh?
Freekeh (pronounced free-kuh or free-kah) is an ancient grain that is essentially just wheat that has been harvested early, while it is still tender and green. The closest equivalent in Germany is called “grünkorn”, which directly translates to “green grain”, however the major difference is that it is made from spelt rather than wheat. Technically, the term freekeh is actually the name of a process used to prepare grains; a process in which the young, green kernels are parched, roasted, dried and rubbed. Not only does this slightly chewy grain have an amazing nutty flavor, it’s also low in fat and high in protein and fiber, plus it’s packed with a powerful load of iron, calcium, and zinc and – get this — it even acts like a prebiotic, promoting the growth of good bacteria in your digestive system.
If you love a nutty grains, toast the freekeh in the skillet for a few minutes to bring out even more of its naturally nutty flavor.
Green Beans & Edamame Freekeh in a Miso Dressing
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
For the salad:
1 cup uncooked freekeh (green wheat) (200 g)
250 g green beans, trimmed
150 g frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (50 g)
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons white or yellow miso (miso is fermented soybean paste which can be picked up in Asian shops)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (Japanese)
2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
pinch of cayenne pepper
NOTE: White miso and rice vinegar can be found at Japanese markets, some natural food stores, or the Asian food section of well-stocked supermarkets. White miso in found in the refrigerated section and yellow in a package. In Germany, edamame is sold both shelled and in the pod in the frozen food section of Asian food stores and some larger supermarkets.
1. Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and add freekeh. Toast in the dry pan, shaking pan or stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to cook the freekeh according to package instructions. Then set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the green beans and edamame and cook until crisp-tender, about for 3 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Shake out the excess water.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined.
4. Place the freekeh, green beans and edamame in a large bowl. Pour dressing over; toss to coat. Garnish with the hazelnuts, serve at room temperature and enjoy!