Also called farik or frik (yes!), another ancient grain is eating its way through history to update us in modern times. Middle Eastern born and raised and pronounced like it looks [free-kah], this grain’s fun name might have something to do with the hype. Or maybe we’re just immature. Actually, freekeh is totally on par with present darling, quinoa, and is proving itself Superfood-worthy in dishes around the country. Freekeh is made with plain old wheat. Here’s why it’s different: it’s made using a gentle-roast process that allows the grain to keep its protein and mineral contents deftly intact. The wheat is harvested while it is still a bit green, is laid out to dry, and is then roasted and cracked. The resulting kernels have a smoky aroma and nutty, toasty, and herby taste. These things just reek of unprocessed wholesomeness.
Why I Should Get My Freekeh On:
Fiber, people! Oh, also the freek’s big on: selenium, potassium, and magnesium.
Quietly popular in its homeland. Freekeh's nutritional baggage is what’s moving it towards a Superfood ranking. Much higher in fiber than rice and super slowly digested, the grain has also been credited to aid in weight loss. However, all the gluten-frees will want to steer clear of this one. She’s made of pure wheat.
Think of it like a smoky substitute for bulgur wheat. Freekeh is easy to cook and is prepared like any other grain. It may be simply boiled and drained (and rinsed if destined for a salad). It comes in a whole and a cracked from—the whole taking slightly longer (maybe 10 to 15 minutes longer) to cook. If new to freekeh, think of it as you would bulgur wheat, and use it in place of recipes calling for bulgur.
Use these in veggie burgers and grain salads (be sure to check out our favorite freekeh salad recipe). Their nuttiness also works really nicely against dried fruits, freekeh’s smokiness adds depth to chicken soup, and the green-meets-smoke notes works well with dishes containing intense cheeses.
Find freekeh packaged next to other grains at supermarkets, find imported brands at your local Middle Eastern grocer, and find the pre-cooked variety, called Greenwheat freekeh, at Trader Joe’s.