Freekeh, also called farik or frikeh is a roasted green wheat cereal that packs a punch. It is an ancient supergrain, not unlike quinoa or spelt which have been making waves in mainstream and speciality grocery stores, with a cult following among the health conscious. Here’s what makes freekeh so special and how you could consider incorporating it into your daily diet.
A super grain that’s packed with goodness
Freekeh is believed to contain as much as thrice the amount of protein and fibre as regular brown rice, as a result of being harvested when the grain is young. Its low glycemic index and mineral content make it superior to traditional grains we consume. In fact, it has twice the amount of fibre than quinoa. So, you get the goodness you’d normally need to get from supplements from an all-natural source.
Cracked freekeh is quick and easy to cook and is ready in about 20 minutes. A great substitute for rice and barley in soups, risottos, pilafs and salads, its nutty taste and chewy texture add a lovely element of interest to any meal.
Importance of Freekeh
The great thing about consuming a fibre rich food source is that it keeps you feeling full for longer, making it perfect for anyone who is trying to get fit and stay healthy. The presence of resistant starch adds to this feeling of fullness, as it mimics the effects of a fibre while giving you the satisfaction that comes with eating a carbohydrate.
As the NHS and other authorities have been telling us for years, eating a diet rich in fibre is linked to a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and bowel cancer.
Freekeh rich diet
Freekeh has been used in countries in the Middle East and North Africa for centuries, with the Iraqis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Jordanians, Syrians, and others in the region combining it in hearty stews with chicken and other proteins. Health experts have been suggesting we trade our processed modern packaged cereals for healthier alternatives like freekeh and quinoa.
Here are some other ways to incorporate it into your meals.
Start your day with a bowl of whole cooked freekeh topped with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, layered with fruit and yoghurt.
Boil freekeh with vanilla, cinnamon and butter for a sweet breakfast that warms the cockles of your heart.
Mix some cracked freekeh into your tabbouleh recipe for a hearty salad.
Add a touch of texture to your spicy Mexican style chili with a handful of freekeh.
Turn out a twist on a Spanish paella, replacing rice with freekeh for a delicious meal that’s great for parties too.
Enjoy a nutritious main meal of stuffed red and yellow bell peppers, filled with freekeh cooked with tomatoes, onions and even some meat or beans.
Trade rice in your pilaf or jambalaya or risotto with freekeh for a power packed and delicious meal.
Where to get freekeh
Freekeh is not yet as widely available as grains like quinoa which hit the scene earlier, but it is only a matter of time. For now, you are likely to find freekeh in speciality stores, larger groceries and health focussed stores.