Crispy Chicken Thighs with Freekeh Salad

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Crispy Chicken Thighs with Kumquat Relish and Freekeh Salad.

 Blue Apron Meals Fresh Produce: Beet, Heirloom Carrot and Hazelnut Salad

Today’s post is sponsored by Blue Apron. I’ve recently had the opportunity to try 3 yummy delivered-to-your-door meals and now I’m here to dish about it. All opinions are my own and though I’m dying to keep this short and sweet for you, I may ramble just a tad.

Of course by a tad, I mean a lot! Let’s do this!

How Blue Apron Works

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends you farm fresh ingredients straight to your door. These chef-designed meals are mapped out in easy to follow instructions on the colorful photo recipe cards, making meal prep and execution a breeze. The mix of familiar and not-so-familiar ingredients makes it exciting, and everything is clearly labeled so you won’t mix up Sriracha with tomato paste and spend the remainder of the evening fanning your face.

It kind of reminds me of those craft box subscription services, but instead of having some weird paper crane sitting around the house, you have an awesome meal to enjoy with your family. Depending on the plan you choose, each meal ranges from $8.74-$9.99 in cost and you can pick and choose which weeks you’d like to receive an order without hassle or commitment. You also get a little peek at what’s to come for the upcoming week and can decide based on that. For couples, think of it as a dinner date night delivered to your door. For families? Um hello lifesaver on a busy week with zero time to shop or plan. You can read a little more about the plans and details here.

Blue Apron Box

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Freekeh Salad

my first impression of blue apron

My box-o-goodies could not have come at a better time, I was almost entirely out of fresh produce and failing miserably at meal planning. I’ve also noticed that lately I’ve fallen back into a food rut of sorts. Paul has been requesting more meat dishes “for the blog” [aka for his belly] so when I noticed Blue Apron had both vegetarian and omnivore options for their meal delivery, I jumped at the chance to road test the T-Rex package. I spent so many years as either a partial or a full-fledged vegetarian, that I honestly don’t know many ways to cook meat. Aside from seafood, bacon, and a few simple poultry dishes, I’m utterly clueless.

I vowed that no matter what came my way I would cook it, and relish the chance to try something new. Little did I know that it wasn’t just the meat that would take me outside my comfort zone, but the veggies and grains too! The ingredient lineup for the meals contained freekeh, kumquats, tatsoi, tarragon, rainbow chard, and wakame, all of which I have never cooked in my life. Hello awesome!

I went through the full Jessie Spano range of emotions,

“I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so… scared!”

before settling into a calm, cool, and collected Barney Stinson:

“Challenge Accepted!”

Diving in!

The quality of the produce and ingredients was oustanding! Everything was chilled, crisp, fresh and ready to be scarfed. I was worried when the package arrived that I would have to make all three recipes back to back or risk the produce going bad, but everything kept wonderfully and I was able to space the recipes throughout the week quite easily.

Of course the chickpea did the majority of the work!


Paul made my sassy little sous chef a wooden learning tower so she could help in the kitchen. It’s been very well seasoned by food, paint, and crayons over the past few months and allows my little mini-me to get a hands on experience with food at an early age. Clearly she was super interested in the rainbow chard – can you blame her? It’s so vibrant!

Let’s get cooking!

All of the meals took around 40 minutes or less from start to finish and came with super-detailed recipe cards with step-by-step instructions and photos. With all the guesswork taken out of the equation, all we had to do is follow our handy “cheat sheets” which  made navigating all of these new-to-us ingredients a breeze.

Suddenly the once-intimidating ingredients became easy peasy to work with and I loved learning a few new chef-crafted techniques along the way. In the recipe below, I would have never thought to dice up the stem of the rainbow chard after removing the leaves from it and I adored the foil and pan trick for the crispy chicken. We expected to love the salmon dish the most since it was closest to our usual eats, but holy freekeh, batman – this dish was amazing. I already want to make it again! Especially the freekeh salad – it was freekeh awesome lol!

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Freekeh Salad Recipe

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Freekeh Salad

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Zesty Kumquat Relish and Warm Freekeh Salad :: superfoods that are SUPER good!
5 from 3 votes

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Kumquat Relish and Freekeh Salad

Course Main Course
Keyword Crispy Chicken Thighs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Blue Apron


  • 2 chicken thighs [see note]
  • 3/4 cup cracked freekeh
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard
  • a few sprigs of tarragon
  • 2 oz fresh kumquats
  • 1 oz Pecorino cheese
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 TBSP champagne vinegar
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 cup almonds


  1. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the freekeh. Cook, stirring occasionally, 18 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a bowl.

While the freekeh cooks, prep your produce:

  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Thinly slice the kumquats into rounds. Separate the rainbow chard leaves and stems; roughly chop the leaves and thinly slice the stems, keeping them separate. Pick the tarragon leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Using your hands or a small knife, break the pecorino cheese into small pieces. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Roughly chop the almonds.
  2. While the freekeh continues to cook, heat a medium pan on medium-high until hot. Add the kumquats, shallot, vinegar, sugar and ¼ cup of water; season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Wipe out the pan.
  3. Next pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Using the pan used to make the relish, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned chicken, skin side down; loosely cover with aluminum foil. Place a large, heavy pot on top of the foil to press the chicken down; fill the pot halfway with water. Cook, occasionally pressing the pot down, 10 to 12 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crispy. Set the pot aside. Flip the chicken; cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any drippings and browned bits in the pan.
  5. Next add rainbow chard stems and 2 tablespoons of water to the pan you used to cook the chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute, or until slightly tender. Add the rainbow chard leaves; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to the bowl of cooked freekeh.
  6. Add the pecorino cheese and almonds to the bowl of cooked freekeh and rainbow chard. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the tarragon into the kumquat relish. Divide the freekeh salad and chicken between 2 dishes. Top with the kumquat relish.
  7. Faceplant.

Recipe Notes

This recipe calls for bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. You could also use whichever cuts you happen to have handy as well as easily adapt this dish to work with seared seafood or crispy pan-fried tofu!Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron. For step-by-step photos check out their website!

If you get a chance to try this Crispy Chicken Thighs with Freekeh Salad, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

 Crispy Chicken Thighs with Freekeh Salad and Kumquat Relish

The verdict:

We LOVED it! I’m absolutely making the soup again… and the freekeh salad of course! Ooh and the kumquat relish… and the glazed beets and carrots.. and… I think you get the point. I don’t gush for the sake of gushing, and I am seriously crushing on Blue Apron right now. P and I already decided we’re going to order again before our move, since our fridge will be beyond bare at that point and a little dropbox of food would save us from fast food blah-dom. There’s even a full online collection of free recipes on their site!

Ohmygosh and I cannot write this review without mentioning the fact that BLUE APRON GOT MY HUSBAND TO EAT BEETS AND LIKE IT!!!

I’m scream-squealing. Be very, very glad you can’t hear me right now. I’ve been trying every trick in the book to get him to even lick a beet and nothing has worked. Yet shove him in the kitchen with a Iron Chef-esque box of produce and a challenge and suddenly he’s a beet munching, rainbow chard crunching, aficionado. Hallelujah!

Big thanks to the folks at Blue Apron for the reader discounts and for sponsoring this post. It was an awesome experience full of delicious food and now Paul eats beets! Cue happy dance.

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  • Yummy – I love kumquats… this looks so good. Great combination of flavors

    • Jenn

      Thanks Marye!!! <3 The flavor of the dish was insanely good!

  • Oh my gosh, I LOVE freekeh! This looks absolutely incredible. I had never heard of Blue Apron before, but I’m definitely going to check them out now. Sounds perfect for this new mama. 🙂

  • Maria

    You’ve convinced me to give them a shot before our next move or even when the husband has to go out of town. Also, kumquats are one of my favorites.

    • Jenn

      You’ll love it! Thanks Maria!

  • Wow! That really did look fresh and you did it proud!

    • Jenn

      Thanks Pam! 🙂

  • 5 stars
    What a fabulous post — I love the concept of Blue Apron, I’m going to check them out asap — and that learning tower? Priceless! (You need to market those!)

    • Jenn

      Aww thanks Sue! I’m a total BA fangirl and those learning towers are so easy to make at home that they should be a staple for tots! What a lifesaver!

  • Hahaha Arman’s comment above made me laugh out loud, he’s right Australia sure does 🙂 having said that this looks so good and fancy and healthy too!

    • Jenn

      I heart my Aussies

  • I had to double take when I saw “chicken” in my bloglovin next to your blog.

    I’ve seen several similar concepts opening up here in Australia- although epic combinations involving kumquats and freekah? I think not. Australia just freekahs-out.

  • This looks amazing! I’ve been tempted to try Blue Apron but wasn’t sure if $9.99 would be worth it. And now I want to cook with freekeh just to make jokes. 🙂
    And I LOVE Mia’s kitchen stool. I need to get my hubs to make something like that for our little guy when he gets older. Did he use a pattern or just wing it?

    • Jenn

      You’ve GOT to get your freekeh on Catherine! Haha! We tweaked the learning tower design on <-- it's an awesome plan and so easy to make! It was much cheaper than buying one!

  • 5 stars
    OMG, I need this asap! Thanks for sharing!

  • YUM! Every Blue Apron meal I have seen looks amazing 🙂

    • Jenn

      I was super impressed – and P and I are pretty darn picky!!

  • This is simply gorgeous! I love your photography and the salad looks fantastic.

    • Jenn

      Thanks so so much Julie! <3

  • 5 stars
    Did your husband find the plans to make the learning tower somewhere? My daughter would love something like that. Basically, everything I make is while I’m holding her because she wants to see EVERYTHING I’m doing. It’s great that she wants to be involved (she just turned one) but as she gets bigger it’s so much harder. My two-year-old stands on a chair. We’re pretty much a mini circus every time we’re in the kitchen!

    • Jenn

      Ohmygosh Sharon you NEED one! That learning tower has saved my life time and time again! Mia screams “MUMMMUMMMSS!” [muffins] and slaps the tower to help me make her veggie muffins and always grabs onto the legs squealing “UUUUUUP!” – She adores it! The plans we used were from and were so much cheaper than buying one. Once I cool it with the recipes for a second I’m going to scan his blueprints and changes because it seems like there are a lot of mamas in the same boat as us as ringleaders of a three ring circus =)

  • I’ve got a foodie friend who swears by Blue Apron and now you, so I’ll have to check them out for sure.

    P.S. Love Mia’s kitchen stool. What an awesome idea.

    • Jenn

      I LOVED EVERY MEAL! You can peek at the week to come before ordering and I highly suggest picking a week that is out of the box from what you would normally cook and just have a ball with it! Many of the dishes filled me up so much that I even had a small side dish for the following day.

  • creative recipe! lots of healthy goodness.

    • Jenn

      Thanks David! I would have never thought to combine all these flavors but Blue Apron really has it together! I already have plans to make this again and mix up the proteins to shake things up a bit! Love it!

  • I am beyond intrigued with this kumquat relish and the Freekeh salad. Pinned to try out my hand on this one!

    • Jenn

      It’s so FREEKEH good! Haha seriously though – amazing stuff!

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