Try wholegrain freekeh, the “new” ancient grain, the next time you make risotto.
So, let’s just dive right in to the elephant in the room….what the heck is freekeh?!
First things first, it’s pronounced free-kah. And, it’s an ancient grain, along with the likes of quinoa, amaranth, spelt, teff and kamut. It’s a “new” ancient grain, if you will. Freekeh is somewhat new on the scene here, but this grain has been a staple in a handful of countries since 2300 BC. Kind of a long time.
In short, freekeh is wheat. Wheat that’s that been harvested while still young and green, then it’s roasted and the outer layers are rubbed off. This is what wholegrain freekeh looks like.
Freekeh is really versatile, and can be used similar to quinoa, barley, farro, brown rice or wheat berries. It has an earthy, nutty taste, and the wholegrain variety has a similar chewy texture to wheat berries or barley, while the cracked variety is more similar to bulgar.
The nutritional benefits of freekeh are also pretty awesome!
* High in fiber (4 times higher than brown rice!)
* High in protein
* High in calcium (yay, healthy bones!)
* Rich in prebiotics (fueling the growth of healthy bacteria)
* High in lutein (yay, healthy eyes!)
Last month Freekehlicious contacted me to see if I’d be interested in trying this “new” grain. Forget knowing anything about it, I’d never even heard of it, but whole grains are a big part of my diet, so I was really intrigued.
Since then, I’ve stumbled across several articles and blog posts about freekeh and I found it on a few different menus while I was out in San Francisco.
As you might imagine, freekeh isn’t sitting on the shelves of all your local grocery stores. I’m just waiting for the day I finally spy this in the bulk bins! For now, you can find it at Whole Foods, Wegmans and of course, you can order it online. I’m sure you can find freekeh at a lot of other markets and grocery stores, these are just the ones in my area where I know it’s available.
Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon is my way of ever so slowly easing into fall. This meal is earthy, warm & comforting, and while it doesn’t take too much prep work, the cook time is long enough that I’d prefer to keep it as a weekend dinner. Using wholegrain freekeh, in place of arborio rice, adds a little bit of a fun crunchy, chewy texture.
Disclosure: I was given samples of freekeh by Freekehlicious. I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are of my own.