On my Costco trip today, I saw something I hadn’t before — freekeh, which the autocorrect kept insisting is “fresh.” Since I have two vegetarians at home, I am always looking to try new nuts or grains. Standing by the grain isle, I instantly googled freekeh. I learned that it is an ancient grain originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and it has been popular for centuries in the Arabian Peninsula. Technically it’s a type of roasted green wheat and the process of making the product seems quite arduous (but definitely worth it!) It contains very high fiber and protein and it also has a relatively low glycemic index, which means its energy is released slowly through out the day. It is loaded with more calcium, iron and zinc than comparable grains such as quinoa. I decided to give this Californian grown exotic grain a try today by putting a twist on Gina Homolka’s Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.
It turned out delicious — perfect for a warm summery spring day. There is something magical about the combination of lemon, olive oil and feta. And the kalamata olives give it a fruity pungent kick. Both girls prefer the nutty, fragrant taste of freekeh to the more earthy quinoa.
Mediterranean Freekeh Salad
1 cup uncooked freekeh (you can also use quinoa or couscous)
2 1/4 cups water or broth
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 – 3/4 lemon, squeezed
1/4 cup (about 10) kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced (from 1 English)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or diced
1/3 cup low-fat crumbled feta
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
Cook freekeh in a rice cooker with 2 1/4 cup water, or according to package instruction. Once cooked, fluff the grain and let it cool.
While the freekeh cools, dice all the vegetables. Add the red onion, olives, cucumber, tomatoes to the cooled quinoa, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over it.
Drizzle the olive oil over the freekeh then add feta, salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Taste for salt and adjust as needed, add more lemon juice if needed.
Eat up! Get freekeh!