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Move Over Quinoa, There's a New Grain in Town: Freekeh

by Paula Gallagher | January 3, 2018

freekehI stumbled over this grain in my local grocery store while I was checking quinoa off my list. To be honest, the name caught my eye first and then I read the side label. High fiber, great source of protein and easy to prepare. I was sold!

Freekeh, also known as farik, is a whole grain harvested while young and green. It's roasted over an open fire, then the straw and chaff are burned and rubbed off. The grain on the inside is too young and moist to burn, so what you're left with is a firm, slightly chewy grain with a distinct flavor that's earthy and nutty.

A staple in Middle Eastern diets, freekeh is gaining popularity over here, not only because it is delicious, but because it's loaded with nutritional benefits. Freekeh is low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Serving for serving, freekeh has more protein and twice as much fiber as quinoa. A 1/4 cup serving of freekeh has six grams of fiber and six grams of protein, compared to quinoa’s three and five-and-a-half, respectively. This means freekeh keeps you feeling full long after you've eaten it, so it's a smart option for anyone focused on weight loss. Freekeh is also lower on the glycemic index, making it a great choice for people managing diabetes or those just trying to keep their blood sugar steady. To top it off, this power-packed grain is high in iron, calcium and zinc, and acts like a prebiotic, promoting the growth of good bacteria in your digestive system.

It is also very easy to prepare. Use it anywhere you'd use whole grains, like quinoa, brown rice, farro, bulgar or wheat berries. If steel cut oats or whole oats are your thing, try a hot freekeh breakfast cereal instead. Add cooked freekeh to your salads, use it in wraps, and add it to homemade soups.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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