No, freekeh is not a derogatory term, it’s actually a grain—a young green wheat that has been toasted. It reminds me a bit of farro (a grain typically used in Italian cooking) and it's chock full of fiber, essential nutrients and protein.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across freekeh (pronounced free-kah) at the Union Square Greenmarket. Remembering how much I enjoyed tasting my friend Carly’s freekeh entree at Northern Spy Food Co., I snapped some up to experiment with at home.
And then the other day, knowing that I had to create a healthy meal (per the instructions of my husband, who had just returned from a debauched bachelor party weekend in Las Vegas) I decided to make a freekeh salad served with seared tuna for dinner.
I used fresh dill and mint in this recipe, but parsley or basil could easily be substituted if you have trouble finding the former. Freekeh is the perfect grain for a summer or spring salad because it has a pleasant nutty flavor, but it can be a tad bland on its own. I’ve already thought of a few other combinations that I would like to try, for example a salad of freekeh with goat cheese, beets, dill, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette—mmm, perfect for a picnic perhaps!
Either way, I’m happy to include freekeh in my rotation of weekly grains. Have you ever tried feekeh?
Freekeh Salad with Radishes, Snap Peas and Fresh Herbs
Freekeh is sold either cracked or whole. I used cracked freekeh. I was instructed to soak the freekeh before cooking it to reduce the cooking time. Make sure to reference the package instructions if you buy whole freekeh. If you can’t find freekeh, farro is a good substitute.
- 2 cups cracked freekeh
- 6 cups of water
- small pinch of salt
- 5 small radishes, thinly sliced using a knife or mandoline
- ½ lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed if necessary
- ¼ cup scallion greens, thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, julienned
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rinse the freekeh with cold water and then place it in a medium-large pot covered with water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and return to the same pot.
- Fill the pot with 6 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Drain and reserve.
- Place the sugar snap peas in a steamer set over boiling
water and steam for 3-5 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer to a bowl and
allow the beans to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the freekeh, radishes, sugar
snap peas, herbs, lemon zest, vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and
pepper to taste. (Add additional vinegar or olive oil as necessary as well)
- Serve cold or at room temperature.