Meet Freekah

The New Must-Try Super Grain

Are you tired of rice? Bored with barley? Has even quinoa or teff become too passe? If so, I would like to introduce to you freekeh. Pronounced freek-ah. This little super grain is new to the West but has actually been around for thousands of years. 

I have been trying to experiment

 with some super nutritious but less known grains and I had heard of Freekah but never made anything with it. So a few weeks ago I came across Freekah while shopping at Black Cherry Market and decided to give it a go. And holy cow, was I surprised and pleased! 

I decided to try a Freekeh with Sumac and Labne salad out on the lovely woman in my

Live More Weigh Less group program

 and it was a hit! Check out the recipe

here

!

Freekah was discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean region around 2300 BCE. and has been a favorite crop in Australia for many years. It's only recently begun to pop up in the U.S. health food stores prompting many people to ask the question: So what the heck is freekeh? Unlike its super star sister quinoa, freekeh is wheat. So I wouldn't recommend it  for folks with celiac disease. However, because it's harvested while still young and green, it contains less gluten than other grains and may be easier for those with gluten intolerance to digest according to Australian studies. This early harvesting also means that freekeh retains key nutrients and fiber making it super nutritious. The flavor of freekeh is very unique and took me by surprise initially. When I first smelled it, I thought of a smoky campfire and it took me by complete surprise! The grains are roasted which create this nice crunchy texture and nutty flavor different from any other common grains. Now that you know what it is, you may be asking yourself why you should add freekeh to your pantry. Well, here is the low down on some of the many reasons.

Freekeh is bursting with minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Like quinoa, freekeh is a quick cooking grain. Cook time is about 20 minutes making it an excellent time saving swap for brown rice, farro or other longer cooking seed and grain options. Freekeh is tasty hot or cold and is perfect ingredient in many dishes including breakfast but might take some getting used to initially. I personally can't wait to try it in a Mexican infused chili or in a Middle Eastern tabbouleh. 

The resistant starch and high fiber in freekeh will help keep you feeling satiated making it excellent for those looking to lose weight. It is low on the glycemic index meaning it slowly turns to glucose in the bloodstream. This makes it an excellent choice for those who need to keep their blood sugar in check. Young wheat has been proven to maintain more protein than wheat harvested at a later stage. Research is showing that freekeh may have two to three times more protein than quinoa and brown rice so vegans an vegetarians can rejoice at finding a new source of the essential macronutrient! Although freekeh may be slightly hard to find now, I suspect it will continue to show up in more grocery stores as it becomes more widely know. I found it at

Black Cherry Market

and it was very inexpensive. But you can also order it online or find it in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market. 

Have you tried freekeh? I would love to hear how you're using it! 

Tell us in the comments below!