Well if variety is the spice of life than this exotic variety of grain cooked with sweet spices must be a winner! Any healthy diet must contain a wide variety of foods containing fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains and healthy fats. A great way to prompt variety is to try some different, exotic, ancient or heirloom ingredients.  

Freekeh fits the bill here. Made from roasted green wheat this Middle Eastern cereal (grain) has a wholesome texture and earthy/nutty flavour. It’s high fibre content makes it low GI which means it’s stored energy is released slowly, in your body, preventing blood sugar spikes. Perfect as a warm pilaf but equally as versatile cold as a salad ingredient. 

freekeh pilaf

Mushroom & Snow Pea Freekeh Pilaf
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  1. 2 brown onions
  2. 2 cloves of garlic
  3. 2 tablespoons rice ban oil
  4. 1 cup freekeh
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 4 cloves
  7. 4 cardamom pods
  8. 1 cinnamon quill
  9. 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  10. 10 button mushrooms
  11. 2 large handfuls of snow peas
  12. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  13. 1 handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
  14. 1 lemon
  15. salt and pepper
  1. Finely dice the onions and garlic and sauté over a medium-low heat, with 1 tablespoon of oil, in a large heavy-based pot (stirring occasionally) for 10 minutes or until soft and brown.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the freekeh in cold filtered water for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain with a sieve and rinse well under cold running water.
  4. Add the freekeh and spices to the onions and garlic, followed by the stock, then stir.
  5. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to the lowest temperature and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. While the freekeh is cooking dice and sauté the mushrooms, with 1 tablespoon of oil, in another pan over a medium heat until soft and brown.
  7. Top and tail the snow peas and slice.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat, quickly add in the sliced snow peas, replace the lid and leave it covered for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the lid, stir in the mushrooms, zest from ½ the lemon and the sesame seeds and leave the pilaf to cool down a little.
  10. Once cooled slightly stir through the roughly chopped parsley.
  11. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  12. Garnish with sesame seeds and parsley and serve warm with a squeeze of lemon.
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