Freekeh is a roasted green whole wheat from the Middle East. It is a high-fibre food that will leave you feeling full and satisfied, which is helpful for weight management. You can now find it in health food stores and most supermarkets. If you’ve never tried it before, you’re in for a wonderful treat!
Use organic ingredients when possible
4 cups vegetable stock
1 pinch saffron (optional – for a vibrant yellow colour)
1 tbsp avocado oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated or chopped
1 large bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (saving leafy fronds for garnish)
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups cracked freekeh
2 cups cooked chickpeas (can substitute with kidney beans or other beans of your choice)
¼ cup dried apricot, sliced
3 tbsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)
¼ cup pistachios
½ bunch of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
In a pot, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer and add the saffron. Set aside.
Put a large sauté pan on medium heat with the avocado oil. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, fennel, cumin, coriander, good pinch of sea salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft but not coloured, stirring regularly.
To the sauté pan, stir in the freekeh and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the cooked chickpeas and dried apricots. Pour over the warm vegetable stock and lemon juice, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has absorbed and the freekeh is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Lightly toast the pistachios, then chop. Serve pilaf sprinkled with the parsley leaves, reserved fennel fronds, green onions, and chopped pistachios. Excellent served with pickled vegetables on the side.