Freekeh: The Best Grain You’ve Never Tasted

Who has tasted Freekeh? It is a very old grain, like farro, that is also very good for you (like farro). It is green wheat that has gone through a roasting process.   It is high in protein, insoluble fiber, has a low glycemic index and is tasty, to boot. Freekeh can be prepared like rice, or most other whole grains, and used in similar recipes. It has a nice bite to it, and slightly nutty taste. You can find it in the bin foods section of some grocery or health foods stores, or pre-packaged (harder to find, I think). What’s not to like, right?

I prepared the Freekeh on Saturday and we had it for lunch on Sunday.  I decided on a Freekeh Pilaf, which is a traditional preparation. I added cherry tomatoes  because I had picked up the sweetest, juiciest yellow cherry tomatoes EVER from Wolfe Spring Farm.

Cherry Tomatoes at Wolfe Spring Farm

They were like little jewels, so I used them as the “fruit” in this pilaf recipe to add sweetness and moisture. If you don’t have sweet tomatoes, no worries. Just add some chopped dried fruit. I riffed on this recipe from the This is How I Cook blog that I found over the weekend. This was a big crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion,  chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced and seeded
1 handful walnuts, chopped (or pistachios or almonds)
1c freekeh
2c vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2t cumin
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped  (optional)
Fresh parsley to garnish (or cilantro or mint)
Instructions:
Saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper  in olive oil. When they start to sweat (about 5 min), stir in the nuts. Brown them just a little. Stir in the freekeh. Let cook a minute. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Cover. Check after about 20 minutes. It should be done but if you want it softer add a bit more liquid and cook a little longer.

Freekeh Pilaf

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley (or cilantro or mint – whatever you have on hand). Add chopped tomatoes and/or dried apricots, if available. Think of this as any pilaf recipe because all you have to do is substitute the grain. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Comments

  1. Yum! Making this tonight with either rice or quinoa. Sounds yummy! Will seek out freekah another time!

  2. Debra,

    Now you’re speaking my language! I love this grain. Its so nutty and satisfying. They have it at Guidos as well.

  3. Thanks for posting this recipe. For years I have listened enthusiastically to Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s music but could never understand what she was singing about – “Get Ur Freekeh”? So glad to learn Misdemeanor had my heart-health top of mind.

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