When it comes to fashion, we’re no trendsetters. But when it comes to all things food and nutrition, we know what’s up. And right now, what’s up is freekeh!
In terms of grains, everything old is new again, and this grain is positively ancient. With a ton of nutritional benefits, freekeh is poised to become the next supergrain, knocking quinoa out of the rice cooker.
First things first, it’s pronounced free-kah. And, in short, it’s wheat.
Think of freekeh as a “new” ancient grain. It’s been a staple in Middle Eastern diets for centuries, but only recently started surging in popularity stateside.
Freekeh (sometimes called farik) is wheat that’s harvested while young and green. After getting roasted over an open fire, its straw and chaff are burned and rubbed off. In fact, “freekeh” is derived from the Arabic word for “to rub.”
The grain on the inside is too young and moist to burn, so what you’re left with is a firm, slightly chewy grain with a distinct flavor that’s earthy, nutty, and a little smoky.
Aside from tasting delicious, it’s loaded with nutritional benefits.
When it comes to nutrition, there’s no question that supergrain freekeh has the upper hand over many other grains, like farro, millet, and bulgar. It even dominates quinoa! (Wait, seriously?)
It’s true. Freekeh is low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Serving for serving, it has more protein and fiber than quinoa. A 1 cup serving of freekeh has 16 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein, versus 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein in the same amount of quinoa.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, freekeh is a great way to easily up your protein intake. One caveat: If you’re gluten-free, freekeh isn’t a match for you, as it’s a wheat product.
Freekeh is easy and versatile to incorporate into your diet, and it works well in both savory and sweet dishes. Use it anywhere you’d use whole grains, like quinoa, brown rice, farro, bulgur, or wheat berries.
It’s basically like cooking with rice. To cook, mix 1 part freekeh with 2.5 parts liquid (like water or broth) in a pot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Serve hot or cold, depending on your preference. (See, we told you it was easy!)
It’s easy to imagine you’re on vacation in the Mediterranean with this recipe. You’ll love the combined smokiness of freekeh with the fresh pop of herbs on your plate. Don’t forget to add fresh mint or parsley!
Oh, humble cauliflower. How we love thee. From pizza crust to “rice,” is there anything you can’t do? Carb-lovers will adore this dish. Plus, the garlicky tahini sauce is good enough to lick right off the plate.
This recipe has all the spring feels, with sweet, caramelized carrots and a zesty lemon drizzle over a bowl of fluffed freekeh. The dill and freshly ground black pepper add the perfect finishing touches.
Whip up a big batch of this hearty recipe and you’ll actually look forward to leftovers for the next 3 nights.
The za’atar spice blend is what makes this recipe shine, a blend of sumac, marjoram, oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and salt over tender beef. Top with feta cheese and cucumber-yogurt sauce. It’s freekehn delicious.
Cool fall weather is a great excuse to cozy up in the kitchen, especially with this recipe. It’s as gorgeous as it is delicious, with squash, apples, pecans, and dried cherries. The Dijon balsamic vinaigrette makes the perfect topper.
If you’re ready to mix up your grain options with something new (or, actually, old) reach for freekeh. While it may not be as prevalent as pasta or rice at mainstream supermarkets, you can find it in the bulk or natural foods section at many stores.
With its charming nutty taste, protein count, and next-to-no-effort kind of prep, one thing’s for sure: Freekeh is freakin’ good to have lying around.