Looking to try new alternatives to rice, pasta or potatoes? Wondering how to incorporate supergrains into your everyday dishes? It’s easy! Supergrains have been around for centuries but are enjoying a revival over these past 4-5 years. They’re great for your health, low in GI, full of protein and dietary fibre and are very versatile. Not only are these supergrains great in salads, soups or stews but they can be used as you would rice or pasta, to enjoy something new.
When I bought freekah the first time, I was immediately taken back to this freekah and bulgar salad I had a couple of years ago. Ever since then, I was always intrigued by this nutty grain and I wanted to experiment with it a little more. Now I just love freekah for something different to eat with proteins. I’m looking forward to sharing with you the versatility of freekah and bulgur and how easy they are to cook with. I’ll step outside the box with my dishes and show you how you can incorporate them into your meals too.
So what is freekah? (pronounced free-ka) Freekah is wheat that is picked while green then roasted. It has been around for centuries and is a popular grain in the Middle East. I think of freekah as a brown rice, chewy with a nutty flavour. Whole-grain freekah contains high levels of protein and dietary fibre compared to regular wheat and is a great food for diabetics and low-GI diets. Freekah is available whole-grain or cracked and can be enjoyed in salads – replacing rice, couscous or quinoa; in soups and stews – replacing barley or lentils. Thank you to Chrissy Freer from her Supergrains cookbook for the information about freekah.
So what is bulgur? It’s a cracked wheat that has been partially cooked. It looks similar to couscous and cooks just the same as couscous. Bulgur is the grain that makes tabouleh. Like quinoa, bulgur can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This pilaf is easy enough for anyone to make and you’ll love the delicious nutty flavour it brings to your meals, as well as being healthy and good for your body. The other supergrains I’ll be testing over the next few months will be spelt, amaranth, millet and faro as well as couscous, chia and quinoa. I look forward to sharing with you my tasty dishes, that aren’t bland or boring. You’ll definitely want to give these grains a try for yourself – your body will thank you for it 😉
For a gluten free option, replace with quinoa.
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For a vegetarian option, replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.
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1 tablespoon olive oil
4 button mushrooms, halved then sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup freekah
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup bulgur
6 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
1 dessert spoon Greek yoghurt per bowl (optional)
Heat oil in a frypan. Ensure you frypan has a lid for later.
Add mushrooms and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms turn golden brown. Remove the mushrooms, leaving as much oil in the frypan as you can and set aside in a bowl.
Add onion to frypan and fry for 4 minutes until translucent.
Stir through the freekah and cumin seeds, ensuring the grains are coated in oil. Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, until some of the rice grains turn golden – toasting the grains is my secret to a good pilaf.
Stir through the chicken stock and cover immediately with a lid. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and to simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn of the heat and sprinkle the bulgur over the top of the freekah. Replace the lid and allow the bulgur to absorb the remaining chicken stock for 15 minutes.
Stir through the mushrooms and parsley and serve immediately, topping with Greek yoghurt.
Enjoy this pilaf by itself or enjoy with your favourite protein – we enjoyed ours with slices of steak. Chicken or lamb would also work well with freekah.