How to Cook Freekah

Want to eat more nutritious whole grains? Here’s how to cook freekah, and ideas on how to use this ancient grain in healthy meals.

How to cook freekah

Move over quinoa, there’s a new grain in town. Freekah might seem trendy, but this whole grain has been around for centuries. And it’s popping up in restaurants and cookbooks as the whole grain du jour. Alex and I started eating it years ago and love its nutty flavor and chewy texture. And the biggest plus? It takes only about 20 minutes to cook. It’s terrific in nourish bowls and soups, but it’s also a great side dish. Here’s how to cook freekah: and a little more about how to serve this unique grain.

Freekah

What is freekah?

Freekah is an ancient grain that hails from the Middle East. Similar to bulgur wheat, it comes from the durum wheat plant, harvested when the wheat is green. It’s been part of Mediterranean and Northern African cuisine for centuries, and is starting to become more popular here in the US.

What does freekah taste like? Freekah always surprised us with its forward flavor: it shouts “look at me!” much more than something like rice. It tastes nutty and almost smoky. The grains are chewy, and it’s got a fluffy texture.

Is freekah gluten-free? No. Since it’s made from wheat, it is not a gluten-free whole grain like quinoa and millet.

Freekah

Tips on how to cook freekah

This is one of those grains that absorbs the liquid that’s in the pot. Instead of draining extra liquid like some grains, the liquid will cook all the way through, leaving the grains tender and chewy.

The freekah to water ratio is 1 to 2.5. That means that for every 1 cup grain, you’ll add 2 1/2 cups of water. After you bring the grains and water to a boil, simmer uncovered gently for about 15 to 20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Taste at the end of the cooking time; you can drain a bit of the water if it’s tender after 15 minutes.

When it’s done cooking, it’s helpful to let the grains sit covered in the pan to steam for about 5 minutes. This makes for a fluffier texture.

How much does 1 cup dry freekah yield cooked? 1 cup dry = approximately 3 cups cooked.

Roasted grain bowl
This Roasted Vegetable Grain Bowl features cauliflower, sweet potato, freekah and a lemon yogurt drizzle

How to serve it

Freekah can be used like any grain: in whole grain salads, stir fries, nourish bowls, soups, and the like. We have a few recipes using it, but most of the ideas below you can substitute it for the whole grain used in the recipe. Here are two of our favorite freekah recipes:

  • In our Freekah Vegetable Soup Recipe, freekah adds a chewy texture and smoky flavor to this vegetable soup: it reminds us of a cozy, healthy version of canned soup.
  • This Roasted Vegetable Bowl stars roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes over a bed of freekah with a lemon yogurt sauce.

You can use the same amount of dry freekah to replace dry quinoa, rice, bulgur wheat, or farro.

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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How to cook freekah

How to Cook Freekah


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x

Description

Want to eat more nutritious whole grains? Here’s how to cook freekah, and ideas on how to use this ancient grain in healthy meals.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cracked freekeh
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • Optional seasoning: 
    • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil, thyme or oregano)
    • 1 minced garlic clove or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon salted butter

Instructions

  1. Combine the freekah and water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then simmer uncovered gently for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the freekah is tender and the liquid is completely absorbed. (Taste at 15 minutes, and if it’s tender, you can drain off a little of the excess liquid.)
  2. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand to steam for 5 minutes.
  3. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Optional: step it up by also stirring in the listed chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, or oregano), minced garlic clove or garlic powder, and salted butter. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: Freekah, How to cook freekah, what is freekah, freekah grain, how to cook freekah

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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