Freekeh is made by roasting young (green) wheat and contains more proteins and nutrients than you'll find in fully matured wheat. It is low GI, low carb, high in fibre and low fat. It's also been found to be good for diabetics and those suffering from IBS. It also contains Lutein which has been shown to be helpful in the prevention of macular degeneration.
Freekeh is sold as either wholegrain or cracked - I'm using cracked and the only real difference between the two is cooking time. Tastewise, it has a lovely nutty flavour to it.
Cooking Freekeh is very straightforward - to one cup of freekeh use 2½ cups cold water. Place in a pot and while stirring occasionally, bring to the boil. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat so it gently simmers and place a lid on the pot. For cracked freekeh, it should take about 15 minutes for the water to be absorbed and the grain to be tender. If using wholegrain freekeh, the time increases to around 40 minutes.
1 cup cracked freekeh, cooked as described above, cooled
fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
baby roma tomatoes, seeded, diced finely
cucumber, seeded, diced finely
1 lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon allspice powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the dressing:
This is based on a dressing by Greg Malouf from his book Saha. Make the dressing ahead of time to allow the flavours to develop but only dress the tabbouleh when you are ready to serve it.
Whisk the lemon juice, allspice, cinnamon, pomegranate molasses together with a little sea salt and ground pepper. Continue whisking as you drizzle in enough olive oil to make a thick emulsion. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You'll probably find that there is more dressing than you'll need for the tabbouleh - just keep it in the fridge and use in a regular salad.
Make the tabbouleh:
I've kept the quantities vague as this can really be made to suit your own preference - use as much or as little as you like of each.
Once the freekeh has been cooked and cooled, place it on paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
Place the cooked and dried freekeh in a bowl and tumble in the parsley and mint - stir this well to ensure the grains are well coated. Now add the tomatoes and cucumber but gently stir these through. Drizzle in the dressing a spoonful at a time until the grains are well moistened.
Serve at once.
Enjoy this on its own. with falafel or as a side to grilled meats.