Freekeh is an ancient grain that is roasted over an open fire to give it a nutty flavour, it is great alternative to your more traditional grains. Baking it with stock and Chermoula creates a fluffy, citrus flavoured that makes a great mid-week supper.
½ Celeriac, washed and cut in to large pieces
½ Butternut squash, seeds removed, cut into large pieces
1 Aubergine, stalk removed, cut into large pieces
250g Shallots, peeled and left whole (if you cannot find shallots, use 2 red onions cut into wedges instead)
Salt and pepper
3 Cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
5cm Piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
3 tbsp Tomato paste
1-2 vegan stock cube (depending on brand)
60g Mix of soft herbs, e.g. parsley, mint, coriander, basil and rocket leaves, stalks removed.
After cutting the vegetables, place in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper, then add 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside until ready to use.
Heat an oven to 180C. Place a medium frying pan on a medium heat and when hot, add 2 tbsp sunflower/olive oil, followed by the garlic and ginger. Cook gently for a 2 -3 minutes, making sure it doesn’t colour, then add the Chermoula and tomato paste and continue to a further 2-3 minutes. Add the Freekeh, season with salt and pepper then stir well to coat. Pour into a medium sized baking dish or tray (approx. 25cm x 35cm). Add the water and stock cubes to the pan, bring to the boil, allow the stock cube to dissolve then pour over the Freekeh.
Lay the vegetables on top of the freekeh in a random pattern, keeping them close together and overlapping if necessary. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. By this time the vegetables should have gained colour and look crispy at the edges and the Freekeh should have absorbed all the stock and have crust around the edge.
Whilst the Freekeh is cooking, make the salsa, which can be done by chopping the herbs finely with a knife or using a small food processor. If using the latter, place the Tapenade, herbs and the rest of the olive oil in the bowl and blitz till combined. Season with a little salt and pepper then set aside.
When the Freekeh is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. When ready to serve, squeeze the lemon over the top and if using, drizzle with the Balsamic Vinegar. Divide between plates then serve with a spoonful of the salsa on to side or on top.