Freek This!

Freekeh is the newest-oldest superfood.

For the past year or two, quinoa has been considered the king of the grains (although it’s actually a seed) as a higher protein alternative to brown rice, couscous, and sweet potatoes. However, it may be at risk of being dethroned. Freekeh, a grain found in some health food stores and Middle Eastern markets, is hungry for the title. An ancient grain native to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, this roasted green wheat boasts a nutty/toasty smell and taste and carries a seriously strong nutritional profile.

(3/4 cup cooked)
Calories: 120
Carbs: 24g
Fiber: 5.5g
Protein: 4.2g
Fat: 0.9g

Freekeh is actually not the name of the grain (even though referred to that way), but a process. In most cases, it begins with harvesting wheat while still young, soft, and green. It is then dried in the sun prior to being roasted over an open fire. Due to its high moisture content, the seeds do not burn in this process, only the straw and chaff. Once roasted, the wheat goes through a further thrashing and rubbing process to give it uniform color, texture, and flavor. It is from this process that the word “freekeh” was derived, from the Arabic word “farik,” meaning “rubbed.”

Free of chemicals, preservatives, and anything genetically modified, freekeh’s health and nutritional benefits make it worthy of being the newest supergrain.

Some of freekeh’s health benefits include:

Low glycemic index—for slowly released sustained energy.
High in fiber—up to four times the amount of brown rice.
Acts as a prebiotic—nutrient able to fuel the growth of healthy (good) bacteria in the digestive tract, which is important for bowel health and immune function.
Rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin—phytonutrient carotenoids known for supporting vision and eye health.
Good source of plant based protein
Low in fat
Rich in calcium, iron, and zinc

Easily cooked in boiling water like rice or quinoa, it comes in both whole grain or cracked (faster cooking) forms. The whole grain, although taking longer to cook, has a moist, chewy texture and light, nutty taste. Season freekeh with garlic, sea salt, and pepper as you would brown rice, or prepare as a cold “pasta salad” with freshly chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumber, parsley, and mint, tossed in an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. It’s also great as an ingredient in homemade veggie burgers or as a breakfast cereal mixed with cooked apples, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts or pecans.

Salad Ingredients
4 cups cooked freekeh
6 medium tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
4 scallions
1 small red bell pepper
1 cup fresh parsley
1 1/4 cups fresh mint

Dressing Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon French
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and black

For the salad, dice all vegetables and herbs and combine in a large bowl with the cooked freekeh. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients and add to the salad. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator to allow flavors to integrate. For a protein pop, add a cooked chicken breast or salmon filet. Serves 4-6.


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