Freekeh Friday

10 Jan

Happy Friday y’all!  I don’t know about you, but after being sick for two days and a tough work week, I’m SO glad it’s finally Friday.  Especially because I’m declaring today freaky freekeh Friday!

Freekeh!

Freekeh!

What the heck is freekeh?

I’m so glad you asked!  Pronounced “free-kah”, it is an ancient grain “superfood” that despite being over 2000 years old, is predicted to be a trend in 2014.  It is a green wheat that is harvested young and roasted.  It is comparable to bulgur or barley, but has a nutty/smoky flavor similar to wheat berries.

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Freekeh=fluffy, nutty & nutritious!

So why should you be eating it?

Freekeh packs a serious nutritional punch when compared to other grains.  While brown rice contains about 3 grams of protein and 1.5 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup, freekeh boasts 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber for an equivalent serving!

Besides for you gluten-free folks (sorry, it is wheat!), this ancient grain is the perfect addition to most meal plans and is a great source of plant protein for vegans and vegetarians.  The high protein and fiber content means it can help with weight loss/management as it will fill you up and keep you fuller longer.  It cooks quickly (only 20-25 minutes) and is super versatile.  Freekeh  can be added to soups, mixed into side dishes or sprinkled onto salads.  Because it’s fairly chewy, it can even be made into a breakfast dish (think swapping oats for freekeh) or a sweet treat!  There are tons of recipe ideas available for freekeh, but be sure to check out my recipe for an Apple Cinnamon Freekeh Parfait below!

I was first introduced to freekeh back during my food-service rotation of my Dietetic Internship program with the North Shore LIJ Health System.  A food vendor gave samples to the chef at our hospital and he handed it over to some of the interns to figure out what to make of it.  We ended up creating a breakfast parfait using seasonal fruit, which inspired me in my recipe below.  😉

Where can you find freekeh?

As of now, freekeh can be somewhat difficult to get your hands on, which I’m sure will change as its popularity grows.  Look for it in health food stores and more popular grocery stores like Whole Foods, Stop & Shop and Shop Rite! When preparing for this post, I even struggled to find it, so I reached out to the good people at Freekeh Foods for some guidance! They pointed me to stores in my area (Click here to find freekeh near you!) and even sent me samples of their Original, Tamari and Rosemary Sage freekeh.  I used original in my parfait recipe, but can’t wait to try the others soon.

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Thanks, Freekeh Foods!

So if I haven’t convinced you to try freekeh yet, let me tell you how I prepared it!  I love the idea of using freekeh at breakfast to create a high protein and high fiber meal to kickstart the day!  Enter my friends:

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Parfait Partners

Apple Cinnamon Freekeh Parfait

Makes: 2 servings

1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (plain)

1/2 cup freekeh

1 apple

~2 Tbsp honey

Cinnamon to taste

1.  Cook freekeh according to directions, about 20-25 minutes.

2.  While freekeh cooks, wash and chop apple (I used a Gala) into small bits.

3.  Combine cooked freekeh with honey and cinnamon and let cool to room temperature.

4.  Build parfait by alternating layers of Greek yogurt, apple pieces, and freekeh.

5. Enjoy! 🙂

Freekeh (not freaky) Parfait

Freekeh (not freaky) Parfait

Nutrition facts (per serving): 270 calories, 14g protein, 2g fat, 6g fiber

Have you ever heard of freekeh?  Tried it?  Want to now?  Tell me about it!

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Disclosure: Freekeh Foods provided me with complimentary samples, but I was not compensated for this post.  As always, all opinions are my own. 

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2 Responses to “Freekeh Friday”

  1. Beth January 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Yet another excellent post with awesome new ideas for those of us that are, dare I say, getting a little tired of quinoa. Thanks for being the best dietitian ever! Can’t wait to try this and add it into my weekly meal planning. Sounds like a great addition as I start training again.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. NNM: 5 Ways to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right | KH Nutrition - March 6, 2014

    […] too!  Some of my current off-the-beaten-path food suggestions? Spaghetti squash, farro (or freekeh!) and […]

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