The Ancient Arab Grain: Freekeh!

While I don’t subscribe to any rigid dietary protocol, I do follow the mantra of “eat what your grandparents ate” for optimum health. Not only did my grandparents eat the ancient grain called freekeh, but their ancestors ate this grain for hundreds of years.  Freekeh is wheat that is harvested when it’s young, so the nutrients are more intact than than wheat that is harvested when mature.  Therefore freekeh has a unique nutritional profile superior to other grains.

This young green wheat packs in higher amounts of protein and  fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins–all important for bone and muscle health. Freekeh has double the iron of quinoa, three times the fiber of brown rice, and far less carbohydrates than a similar grain like farro.  Whole grain freekeh is also packed with prebiotics, which are indigestible fibers that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your microbiome.  Freekeh also contains insoluble fiber which is beneficial for healthy digestion, and is low on the glycemic index so it makes a great choice for diabetics.

 

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Now that I have extolled all the virtues of freekeh,  here is a tip to make sure the nutrients in freekeh are bioavailable, or more readily absorbed by your body. Try adding healthy fats with your freekeh, like nuts, seeds, or olive oil to optimize the absorption of these vitamins and minerals. One way I do that in this particular recipe is by adding coconut and almonds to the freekeh in a breakfast porridge. Traditionally Palestinians and Lebanese eat freekeh with chicken, or in a soup, however I wanted to give this grain a modern and easy interpretation by preparing a freekeh porridge.  In this recipe you can cook freekeh in any kind of plant milk you choose, along with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for warm and comforting flavors. I also added chewy sweet dates that I got from my Palestinian Farmer’s Box  to round out the naturally sweet and nutty flavor. The freekeh from the farmer’s box is the best I have ever had, a super tender grain with a mild and slightly smoky flavor.

To see how easy it is to prepare this grain for breakfast, click on the video below!

 

Freekeh Porridge (serves 1 as a large portion or 2 smaller portions)

  • 1/2 cup freekeh wheat
  • 1 1/4 cup any kind of milk (I used walnut milk)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp date or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp chopped almonds
  • 1-2 chopped mejdool dates
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • In a saucepan, heat the freekeh, plant milk, cinnamon, and date syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, cooking for about 25- 30 minutes. If it gets too dry add more milk and stir occasionally. Serve with chopped dates, coconut, and almonds on top.  Serve immediately.

2 thoughts on “The Ancient Arab Grain: Freekeh!

  1. Dearest Blanche thank you for this wonderful nutrition breakdown on freekah I want to get a really green colored one somewhere and I want to thank you for not saying madjool but majdool it is braided at top of date plant I saw it as a child in tripoly,Lebanon love the recepies and your very helpfu advise and nutrition help I just learned about Morning it has cured RA rumztory arthritis I have a little in my amazing grass mix to add to smoothies do you know anything about this? Tell me?us about palestenizn zaatar I. Heard from my aunt that it is medicinal what do you think?

    Ruth Stagnitta

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