WHAT THE “FREEK” IS FREEKAH?!
Benefits of Freekeh
Freekeh is young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It’s a healthy whole grain food, much like bulgur wheat and other whole grains. The incredibly high fiber content of freekeh has been credited with weight loss. In general, on top of helping ward off diseases, dietary fiber is extremely important in a healthy, well balanced diet. Reason being, fiber- rich foods take longer to digest and it will keep you feeling full for a longer amount of time, reducing food intake. If you’re not eating a healthy well balanced diet already, you could probably use more fiber in your diet.
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
There are two different types of fiber, and both are great for you. Soluble fiber is soluble in water. When mixed with water it forms a gel-like substance and swells, providing that feeling of fullness. Soluble fiber has many benefits, including moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol. Insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in the body, but rather as known as “digestive steel wool”. As it passes through your digestive tract, it drags along the leftover undigested food and bacteria, cleansing your Gastrointestinal Tract (aka the entire pathway from when the food goes in, to when it comes out).
Methods of Cooking
The flavor of freekah is nutty and lightly smoky, while the texture is pleasantly chewy. It is super easy to prepare and takes only about 20 minutes to cook. Serve it on its own as a side, turn it into a pilaf, or toss it with your favorite veggies to make a freekeh salad. Many local Whole Foods stock cracked freekeh along with the other packaged whole grains. It’s occasionally found in the ethnic foods aisle, along with other Middle-Eastern foods.
Freekan Awesome Freekah Salad
A delicious whole grain warm salad dish using freekah, feta, dried cherries and sun dried tomatoes with a shallot vinaigrette. Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 30 min
2 cups raw freekah
1/4 cup dried cherries, no added sugar
1/2 medium red onion, minced
8 sun dried tomato, chopped
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
4 oz part skim feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
1 Cook the freekah as per package directions. Drain any excess water and place in mixing bowl.
2 In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
3 Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl of freekah. Pour in the vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
KOSHER CLEANSE APPROVED RECOMMENDED SERVING PER MEAL: 1/2 CUP
By Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN