Food Trend Alert: 4 Healthy Recipes With Freekeh

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78629654Low and behold – a new super grain is hitting the mainstream and it’s freakishly good for you. Freekeh really isn’t new at all. This ancient grain, one of the It Foods of 2014, is common to the Middle East and is just wheat that’s harvested when still green.

The berries are rubbed and roasted to create a grain that cooks up chewy with a nutty, almost smoky flavor. The result is an undoubtedly healthy food that is high in protein and fiber. The grain also boasts other healthy nutrition, such as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Since freekeh is wheat, it won’t be considered a healthy food for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. You can find freekeh in specialty stores and some mainstream markets. It  looks similar to wheat berries, but with a greener hue.

For each of these recipes, rinse the freekeh first and soak for about 30 minutes. This will keep the cooking time to a minimum so you can enjoy your healthy food sooner.

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1. Freekeh Tabouleh

Bulgar wheat is the common base for this Middle-Eastern salad, but freekeh adds a new twist. Tabouleh packs plenty of healthy nutrition, especially if you’re generous with the chopped parsley.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil187167505
1 cup freekeh
2 cups water
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
10 grape tomatoes, halved
¼ to ½ cup Italian, flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
Juice of one large lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium pot, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the freekeh. Stir constantly until all the grains are coated and the freekeh is slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes – or until the water is fully absorbed and the grains tender. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Cool to room temperature. Stir in the cucumber, tomatoes and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil – season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold into the salad. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for several hours. Serves 4.

Nest healthy Recipe With Freekeh: Freekeh Risotto…

2. Freekeh Risotto

Creamy risotto is usually made with short-grained Italian rice. Using freekah instead ups the nutritional ante, making this risotto a healthy food. Serve alongside grilled meat or add grilled zucchini, yellow squash or eggplant to make this a complete meal.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups freekeh186984152
4 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Zest of one lemon
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Warm the broth in a large pot. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sweat until translucent – 3 to 5 minutes. Add the freekah, stir to coat the grains with the oil. Add the white wine and simmer for about 1 minute.  Spoon in about 1 cup of the hot broth. Simmer until most of the broth is absorbed and then add another cup of broth. Reduce again and repeat with the remaining broth until the freekeh is tender. All of the broth should be absorbed. Remove from the heat and add the thyme, lemon zest and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Next Healthy Recipe With Freekeh: Warm Freekeh Pilaf…

3. Warm Freekeh Pilaf

Rice pilaf is so 1970s. Bring it into 2014 by using freekeh instead. You’ll get all sorts of healthy nutrition in this warm, salad-like side dish.

Ingredients:

1 cup freekeh116478974
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup toasted walnuts

In a large pot, combine the freekeh with 2 cups of well-salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and allow to cook until the grains are cooked through and the water is absorbed – about 20 minutes. Stir in the sliced garlic and allow to cool slightly.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and the white wine. Simmer until the wine is mostly reduced – approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the freekeh, sage, thyme and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Next Healthy Recipe With Freekeh: Freekeh Chicken Soup…

4. Freekeh Chicken Soup

Freekeh is an unexpected alternative to noodles in chicken soup. This dish cooks up quickly and offers healthy nutrition for cold winter days – especially if you’ve got a cold.

Ingredients:

1 cup freekeh178395736
10 cups chicken broth, low-sodium preferably
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 ½ cups cooked chicken, shredded

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook until the veggies are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the freekeh and stir to coat with the oil for a minute or two. Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the freekeh is tender, but still chewy. Stir in the cooked chicken. Serves 5.

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