Life After Bariatric Surgery Group Recipes of the Month – April

Grilled Chicken Salad with Freekeh, Preserved Lemon and Dried Cherries

Serves 8

Freekeh is young wheat that is harvested, roasted and then cracked into a grain that is similar to bulgur.  Preserved lemons are lemons that have been soaked in salt and sugar for more than 30 days. You can find both of these items in well-stocked grocery and specialty stores.

Ingredients for Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts, trimmed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, grated or minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper


Ingredients for Salad

½ cup dried tart cherries

¾ cup freekeh

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 ½ tablespoons chopped preserved lemon rind, or more to taste

½ cup torn fresh mint leaves, divided

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided



  1. To marinate chicken: If you are using chicken breasts, cut them in half crosswise or, if they’re particularly thick, cut them in half horizontally. Mix ¼ cup each oil and lemon juice, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt and pepper in a dish (or gallon-size sealable plastic bag). Add the chicken and turn the pieces to coat.  Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.  About 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
  2. To prepare salad: Put cherries in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then remove from heat and let stand until plump, about 30 minutes.
  3. Put freekeh in a medium saucepan, cover with 2 inches water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain.
  4. Whisk oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the freekeh, the cherries, preserved lemon and all but 1 tablespoon each of the herbs; stir until combined.
  5. To prepare chicken: heat a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat until it is very hot or preheat a grill to medium-high.
  6. Remove the chicken from the marinade. For a grill pan:  Cook for 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, turning once or twice more,  until an instant-read thermometer inserted in to the thickest part registers 165°F, 4 to 6 minutes more.  For a grill: Grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side.  Serve the chicken on top of the salad, garnished with the remaining 1tablespoon each mint and parsley.

Nutrition Facts per Serving (2 oz portion of chicken) : Calories: 270, Total Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 18g


Recipe adapted from Eating Well Magazine:

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