Easy Freekeh Salad
Before you think about making this easy freekeh salad you might be wondering about this grain. What is freekeh, you might be thinking, and that is a very good question because a lot of people have never heard of this particular grain. Freekeh can also be spelt frikeh, and it is known as farik as well. This cereal food is made from green wheat which goes through a roasting process. It is traditional in Arabian cuisine along with North African and some other cuisines.
The wheat is harvested while the seeds are soft and the grains are yellow, and then it is sun-dried. Piles of freekeh are set on fire and the straw and chaff burn, leaving the seeds intact. The roasted wheat is then thrashed and dried more in the sun to get the right color, flavor and texture. The seeds are then cracked to resemble green bulgur and this is what goes into our easy freekeh salad recipe.
The earliest mention of freekeh was in the early 1200s in a Baghdad cookery book. In that particular recipe, meat is fried in oil, then braised with water, cinnamon bark and salt.
Next, dried coriander is added and then the dish is served with cinnamon, cumin and lamb fat. Freekeh is served as a pigeon stuffing in Egypt and it is made into a soup in Tunisia. One famous Syrian freekeh dish is made with roast lamb, spring peas and pine nuts. This grain is also enjoyed in Israel. So there are many alternatives to our easy freekeh salad.
Nutritional Benefits of Easy Freekeh Salad
Freekeh has 4 times as much fiber as some similar grains which are mainly comprised of insoluble fiber. Another benefit of freekeh is that it has a low glycemic index (GI) which means it is a suitable food for diabetics because it will not spike the blood sugar.
The following easy freekeh salad teams cooked freekeh with shallots, celery, hazelnuts, bell pepper, lemon, garlic, mint and more. The flavor is really good and this makes a nice side dish for chicken or meat, or you can serve it by itself, perhaps with pita bread, for lunch.
- 2 oz (60g) butter
- 1 finely diced celery rib
- 3 finely diced shallots
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 bay leaf
- 7 oz (200g) freekeh
- ½ cup (10g) chopped fresh mint
- 3½ oz (100g) chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 3½ oz (100g) finely chopped red bell pepper
- 6 finely sliced green onions
- 1 cup (20g) chopped parsley
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3½ fl oz (100 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomato (optional)
- 11 oz (310g) feta cheese (optional)
- Put the butter, celery, shallots, garlic and bay leaf in a pan and sweat them over a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the freekeh under cold water then add it to the pan and stir it well with the butter mixture.
- Add 8 fl oz (230 ml) of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cover the pan.
- Keep cooking and check after 12 minutes to see if it's cooked.
- When it is soft but still a bit al dente (firm to the bite) take it off the heat.
- Spread it over a tray so it cools down fast.
- You can now keep it in an airtight container for up to 2 days or continue with the recipe.
- Combine the herbs, green onions, hazelnuts and bell pepper with the cooled freekeh.
- Combine the oil and lemon juice and drizzle this over the salad.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and/or feta if using.
Photo by Meal Makeover Moms, on Flickr