Monday Meals: Freekeh, Chickpea and Herb Salad
Ancient grains have enjoyed an explosion in popularity in the last several years. They have benefitted from an expanding curiosity about world cuisines, a growing market for gluten-free grains and an appetite for whole and “super” foods. Among the rediscovered grains is the form of wheat called freekeh. The young wheat is harvested green, the chaff is removed through roasting and thrashing. The healthy whole grain retains a nutty, slightly smokey flavor from this process. Put it to work in salads, soups and casseroles or swap it out for rice (or even everybody’s Superfood darling – quinoa.)
Freekah (pronounced free-kah) boast some serious healthy food credentials. It has a loads of fiber, 6 grams per 1 cup serving; compare that to 3.5 grams of fiber in a cup of brown rice. It even beats out quinoa in fiber and protein. All that fiber is great for the health of your gut microbiome and improves your satiety, keeping you feeling satisfied longer. It is low in fat and high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that support eye health. Freekeh is wheat, so it is not gluten free.
If you are convinced to add some freekah to your menu this week, why not start with Martha Rose Shulman’s Freekeh, Chickpea and Herb Salad from the New York Times Cooking column? Quick, fresh and satisfying – serve it as a side or a vegetarian main dish.