Have you heard of Freekeh? Well apart from being around for thousands of years this ancient grain has become quite popular over recent times for its high nutritional value earning it a place as a ‘Superfood’. Freekeh is 100% wholegrain so does contain gluten as it is a wheat, it has a similar taste and texture to rice. It is great in soups, pilafs, stirfries etc. wherever you would normally use rice you can replace with Freekeh.
Why Freekeh? It is high in protein and iron much like the ever popular Quinoa making it very popular amongst vegetarians and plant-based foodies. It is very low in fat practically none and very high in fibre which unless you are eating nothing but vegetables we all could do with more in our diet.
How to Cook? 1 cup cracked Freekeh = 1 1/2 cup of water usually
*For this ratio = Bring water with freekeh up to the boil, I like to use a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt and a few teaspoons of olive oil in the water like you would when cooking pasta (or regular salt if you prefer) With the lid on simmer for 15-20mins until water is absorbed and Freekeh is soft.
Freekeh with Feta, Roast Tomatoes and Herbs
credit: This recipe was sourced from iquitsugar.com
- 200 g cracked freekeh.
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for seasoning.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- 175 g mixed cherry tomatoes.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- freshly ground black pepper.
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced.
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), chopped.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated puree).
- 150 g greens such as silverbeet, spring greens, beetroot greens, baby spinach or kale, cabbage thinly sliced.
- finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon.
- 2 handfuls mint leaves, chopped.
- 1 handful parsley or coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped.
- 200 g feta cheese, cut into cubes.
- 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
- 2. Put the freekeh in a saucepan and cover with 4 cups water. Add the salt and 3 teaspoons of the olive oil and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the grains are tender. Most of the water should be absorbed by this time, but drain off any excess. Set aside in a sieve set over a bowl so the grains dry out a little and drain completely.
- 3. While the freekeh is cooking, put the tomatoes in a ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the cumin and paprika, generously season with sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle with another 3 teaspoons of the olive oil. Toss to coat the tomatoes in the spices and oil, then roast for about 10 minutes or until the skins have burst and the tomatoes are just tender. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, warm the remaining 30mL olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat and add the onion and capsicum. Gently cook for about 15 minutes or until the onion is golden brown and soft. Stir in the tomato paste and cayenne pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes until you can smell the tomato paste starting to caramelise. Add the greens and a splash of water and toss so all the ingredients are well combined. Reduce the heat to low, cover (use a baking tray if your pan doesn’t have a lid) and cook until the greens are just tender.
- To assemble, combine the freekeh with the onion and greens mixture, and lemon zest and most of the herbs. Tip out onto a serving platter and check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Gently fold in the feta, then arrange the tomatoes on top and spoon on any tomato juice left in the roasting tin. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle over the remaining herbs to serve.