Freekeh is delicious – it is a roasted, green wheat. It is great in salads and pilafs, and today we combine it with burghul (cracked wheat) for a delicious pilaf. It can be served as is, or chopped or grated vegetables and herbs can be stirred through. Use in place of rice or as an accompaniment for dishes from countries ranging from Afghanistan to Greece.
This is a versatile Summer salad. The base can be a grain, dried bean, lentil or even tiny pasta. Indeed you can mix them as well. Use couscous, barley, freekeh, burghul, Israeli couscous, small pasta, horse gram, quinoa, rice, puy lentils, matki beans, butter beans or haricot beans. This is definitely a salad that helps you clean out your pantry – use any grain, lentil or bean that you have available. Today I am using barley mixed with a little tiny pasta.
Just a note about the salad dressing. It uses a curry powder. Either use a good quality one or make your own. My Mother used to make a Curried Rice Salad, and we loved it. This is my take on that salad. Today I have used barley as a base, with a little tiny tubular pasta. It is great alongside an Halloumi Burger and steamed sweetcorn!
Freekeh is so freakin’ good. If you are not familiar with Freekeh, it is a cereal grain made by roasting and cracking immature and soft green wheat. The wheat is parched, roasted, dried and rubbed. It’s an ancient Arabian/North African food that has become trendy to eat in some places. It has an almost smoky, nutty taste and beautiful chewy texture.
Freekeh is easy to cook. Melt a tablespoon of olive oil with a little butter in a pan, toast 1 cup freekeh and add 350ml water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat to very low and let the freekeh steam about 20 to 25 minutes until plumped and tender.
How to Use Freekeh
This grain is all about texture and flavour. Use as you would other grains and rice in such things as pilafs, soups, stuffings and salads. Add it to your next congee. It is also a great Winter alternative for breakfast, either as a hot cereal or as a parfait that’s layered with yoghurt and fruit. It can also be used as an alternative to rice, quinoa, farro, barley and other hearty grains.
Freekeh is also wonderful in stuffings to fill vine leafs, roasted capsicum or rolled slices of grilled eggplant. Or use some in scrumptious veggie burgers. It is wonderful as a base for summer salads; add your pick of cherry tomatoes, olives, grilled vegetables, feta, shallots, and anything else at hand, and dress with a light vinaigrette. It loves a citrusy or mustardy dressing.
Freekeh actually has more goodness than quinoa yet has not achieved the same levels of popularity. It has lots of health benefits including loads of protein and fibre.
Freekeh is a wonderful vehicle for herbs and tart dressings, and I have to say that I love herby salads. This one brings it all together for a wonderful Spring dish. With herbs and spring onions abundant in the garden, all that was needed was to cook the freekeh and defrost the peas.
When Ottolenghi says mix some Broad Beans with Freekeh, you say Ok. It just happened that I had a focus on both Broad Bean dishes (as they are growing in the garden as I write) and on Freekeh (as I got some awesome freekeh from my local Afghan market). Here they come together in true Ottolenghi style. This really is a great Spring dish.
It is said that Ottolenghi created this dish for Red Online.
Similar recipes include: Herby Freekeh Salad with Peas, Broad Bean Salad with Spring Onions, Chopped Salad, Cypriot Grain Salad, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, and Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon.
We’ve been doing Wintery salads lately – rice, pasta, burghul salads. Today’s salad is a grain salad. Use farro, freekeh, wheat berries, barley, coarse burghul or any other grain that is a bit on the chewy side. Surprisingly, the grain is paired with grapes for quite a special salad.
This is a Bittman Salad, one of the 101 Salads from his New York Times article. We have been making them over the past Summers, and are now down to the last few.
Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Burghul, Pistachio and Tomato Salad, Burghul, Walnut and Yoghurt Salad with Pomegranate, Burghul, Walnut and Tomato Salad, Toasted Barley with Pistachios and Raisins, Parsley and Barley Salad with Marinated Feta.
Winter brings more substantial salads – no more Summery cubes of tomatoes tossed with cubes of cucumber and a layer of red onion rings. Enter salads with noodles, grains, lentils, dried beans. Barley, freekeh, chickpeas – all perfect during winter.
Today’s salad uses Burghul or Freekeh. I really recommend exploring your local Middle Eastern shop for their varieties of Burghul – there are at least half a dozen. Select one type that you want to experiment with. There are several varieties of Freekeh too, and you can mix Freekeh and Burghul together if you like.
This salad, almost a pilaf, is tremendous, and the combination of lemon, mustard, garlic and crunch of nuts makes it. It is based on a Bittman Salad. For three years (2016 – 2018) we had a project of cooking through his 101 salads, and this one is in the 90’s. We made all of the vegetarian ones and modified as many of the non-vegetarian ones as possible. After making so many salads, we became committed daily salad eaters.
Similar dishes incude Burghul, Walnut and Yoghurt Salad with Pomegranate, Burghul and Chickpea Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Burghul, Walnut and Tomato Salad, Quick Burghul Salad, Cauliflower and Burghul Kitchari and Mung Bean and Burghul Kitchari.
Also check out Delightful Pilaf Recipes.
You can check all of our Bittman Salads here. All of our Burghul dishes are here, our Freekeh dishes are here, and all of our many many Salads are worth browsing. Or eat seasonally and explore our Early Winter dishes.
There is something about this salad that is reminiscent of Caesar Salad. There are no eggs or anchovies, but the bread, grilled lettuce, lemon and parmesan is enough to have the mind wander back to those Caesar Salad days before we banned non-vegetarian items (including eggs) from our kitchen. It is certainly a lemony salad, but that perfectly suits the grilled lettuce.
The dressing is really interesting, with both maple syrup and Pernod, which nicely balances the fresh lemon and preserved lemon. Neither the syrup or pernod is obvious in the dressing, but the mix is balanced and perfect.
Ottolenghi uses farro in this dish but freekeh can be used equally as well. In fact, any chewy grain could be used.
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. In this recipe we suggest some alternatives for farro, and use Italian friselle (twice baked/dried bread) rather than fresh bread toasted in the oven.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.
Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.
Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.
This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.
Similar recipes include Herby Freekeh Salad with Peas, Grilled Lettuce with Farro and Lemon, Vegetable Pulao from the Beaches of Goa, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.
George Calombaris, well known Australian celebrity chef (how I dislike those words), is in the news for all the wrong reasons right now. But his food is very very good. This Grain Salad is delish, and I have my twitter sister, Jude, to thank for pointing me to it.
It is divine, and perfect for this changeable Spring weather. It is perfect one day, then the weather gods drag us back into mid Winter weather the next. A transitional season.
This recipe uses freekeh, but other grains can be used – couscous, quinoa, barley, burghul, for example). It is one of the best uses of freekeh and du Puy lentils that I know. The flavours in this dish are just right and balance well. It is sweet, sour, tangy, crunchy, soft, earthy, herby, and healthy.
Similar recipes include Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, Red Rice and Quinoa Salad with Orange and Pistachios, Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Crushed du Puy Lentils with Cumin and Tahini, and Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomatoes.