Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different grains and learning all about their health benefits. Today, I’m getting friendly with freekeh.
Freekeh has been consumed in the Middle East for centuries, from Egypt to Africa to Syria, and now this superfood is available in most Western health stores.
Freekeh, also known as frikeh or farik, is a green, or not fully matured, wheat. The soft seeds of young wheat are harvested before being sun-dried and then burned carefully. The high moisture content keeps the seeds from burning, so the end result is a roasty flavor. The beans are then dried again and cracked.
Since the grain is picked when it’s younger, some studies show that it contains a higher nutrition content than regular wheat. Based on nutritional data from Bob’s Red Mill products, freekeh has:
- Almost 4 times the amount of fiber that quinoa has.
- More than double the amount of protein that brown rice has.
- 90% of the daily recommended amount of manganese in one serving.
- A high amount of resistant starch, which can be beneficial to gut health.
Freekeh is a cracked wheat, so it can be used anywhere wheat berries or bulgur wheat is traditionally used: salads, pilaf, tabbouleh, soups or stews. You can cook up a big batch of freekeh over the weekend, and use it in salads, wraps or stews all week long. It can also be frozen once cooked, so you can cook in bulk and keep your freezer stocked.
How to Prepare Basic Freekeh
- 1 cup freekeh
- water (amount varies – see below)
- On the stove: Combine the freekeh with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed. Let the pan sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- In the pressure cooker: Combine the freekeh and 1 3/4 cups water in your pressure cooker basket. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes with a natural release.
This is not a traditional tabbluleh. The freekeh and different herbs create a fresh new twist. There are also no tomatoes, which of course you can add if you like. Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice with a lemony flavor. If you can’t find it, use an extra pinch of the lemon zest.
2 cups cooked freekeh (can also use bulgur wheat, or quinoa for gluten-free option, see cooking directions above)
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley (flat or curly)
1 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup minced red onion (optional)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Generous pinch each sumac, cinnamon and ground black pepper (optional)
- Toss together cooked freekeh, herbs, and onion in a large bowl. Toss to combine well.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt and spices. Toss over salad just before serving, keeping separate if serving later.
Yield: 2 cups salad
Check out these other articles about delicious whole grains and whole grain recipes:
How to Cook with Kaniwa
What is Einkorn Recipes + Health Benefits
What is Buckwheat? New Ways to Love this Old Grain
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