Freekeh (also known as farik or frikeh) is wheat that is harvested when it is young and green, then toasted and typically cracked. It cooks quickly, unlike many other ancient grains like farro, and the roasting it undergoes imparts a lovely, slightly smoky flavor. Like many of its ancient grain cousins, freekeh is loaded with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, and is exceptionally versatile. Try it in healthy casseroles, add to soups, use it as a risotto or pilaf, or toss it with fresh or grilled vegetables for a hearty salad.
Our recipe below is based on one found in a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine. We stayed true to their simple yet boldly flavored fish sauce vinaigrette, but edited the salad recipe a bit to suit what we already had in our kitchen. We also featured quick-cooking cracked freekeh in lieu of the longer cooking (nearly an hour) farro. It’s loaded with crisp cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, fresh herbs, and grilled green onions. Leave it vegetarian or top with grilled fish or meat for a one-dish meal that is loaded with vibrant flavors and gorgeous textures.
Freekeh and Vegetable Salad with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
For the freekeh:
1 cup cracked freekeh
2 1/2 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable)
Assembling the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch green onions, trimmed
16 ounces cherry tomatoes or small heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
First, prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk crushed garlic, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set aside or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Freekeh and salad:
Bring water or stock to a boil. Add freekeh, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, they are ready. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat oil in a large skillet and cook green onions, turning to cook all sides, until tender and charred, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with freekeh.
Add tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley and toss to combine. Add vinaigrette and toss again. Season to taste with black pepper.