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Freekeh Recipe

Freekeh is an ancient grain that’s been around since at least 5000 BC.

It has a unique flavor that makes it stand out from other types of grains.

Here we share everything you need to know about how to make this delicious food!

What Is Freekeh?

Freekeh (also known as farro) is a high-protein cereal native to the Middle East.

Its name comes from its shape, which resembles barley but looks like cracked wheat when cooked.

This ancient grain can be used in place of rice, pasta, couscous or bulgur.

It is gluten-free and rich in fiber, protein and iron.

The texture is similar to quinoa and buckwheat – crunchy on the outside and soft within.

The nutritional benefits of freekeh include being low in carbohydrates, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Freekeh Recipe

How to cook it

  • Cooking time depends on the size of your pot.
  • To determine cooking times, use the chart below to find the right temperature range for your burner.
  • To avoid burning the bottom of your pot while cooking, add more water than needed.
  • Stir often so the liquid doesn’t burn.
  • You may also want to cover the pot with aluminum foil during the first few minutes of cooking process.
  • You can either soak freekeh overnight before cooking or prepare it quickly by boiling for 30 minutes.


1 cup dry freekeh

5 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Where Does Freekeh Come From?

The name “freekeh” comes from the Arabic word لاروكة (lāroka) which means cracked wheat.

However, freekeh differs in many ways than regular cracked wheat.

It is actually a whole grain but it doesn’t have any husks like conventional wheat.

It also contains more protein than normal wheat flour which helps boost your health.

In addition, freekeh can be sprouted before cooking to give it even more nutrients.

History of Freekeh

There are different theories on where freekeh originated from.

One theory says that it was brought over by Arabs who crossed into Syria thousands of years ago.

Another theory suggests that it was developed in Egypt as early as 6000 B.C.E.

Freekeh wasn’t widely used until approximately 1000 C.E., when it became popular among wealthy Egyptians.

At first, people were afraid of eating something so new because they thought it would cause them harm.

But eventually, freekeh gained popularity and started being served during religious ceremonies and celebrations.

Types of Freekeh

Today, there are three main kinds of freekeh: green freekeh, red freekeh, and black freekeh.

The color of the freekeh depends on what kind of processing it gets after harvesting.

Green freekeh is unprocessed while red and black freekeh get their distinctive colors through fermentation.

Green freekeh is available year-round and is usually sold dried or fresh.

Red freekeh is harvested in late winter and spring, and then left to mature for several months.

Black freekeh is harvested in fall and is fermented for up to 2 weeks.

Once all the moisture is gone, the kernels are sun-dried and ready to use.

Black freekeh is less expensive than red freekeh and it takes longer to cook compared to green freekeh.

While both red and black freekeh taste great, some prefer one over another depending on personal preference.

Nutritional Benefits of Freekeh

In comparison to white rice, brown rice, and bread, freekeh has higher amounts of fiber, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, vitamin E, and folic acid.

Furthermore, it’s high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, and dietary fiber.

As mentioned above, freekeh is a complete source of protein, meaning it provides all nine essential amino acids needed by our bodies.

Another benefit of freekeh is its low glycemic index value.

Glycemic index measures how quickly carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels.

Foods with a lower GI value will not spike your blood glucose level fast enough to trigger diabetes.

Freekeh Recipe2

How Is Freekeh Made?

The word ‘freekeh’ comes from the Arabic language and means “to break off.”

Freekeh was originally grown in Ethiopia by farmers who broke up the hard outer husk of their crops before harvesting them.

This method gave the grain its distinctive nutty taste because it contained more protein than regular whole wheat flour.

In modern times, freekeh can be found all over North Africa as well as in Israel.

The most popular varieties are Amharic, Ethiopian, and Israeli freekeh.

These three varieties have different tastes due to differences in soil conditions and growing practices.

Amharic freekeh

  • Taste: Nutty and slightly sweet
  • Price: $5-$7 per pound
  • Availability: Available year round

Ethiopian freekeh

  • Taste: Slightly bitter and savory
  • Price: $6-$8 per pound
  • Availability: Available year round

Israeli freekeh

  • Taste: Sweet and nutty
  • Price: $9-$12 per pound
  • Availability: Available throughout the year

If you want to learn more about these varieties, check out our article on which freekeh variety is best for you if you buy locally.

If not, you can always try making your own freekeh using the instructions below.

To start, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).

Then line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

After that, add one cup of water into each pan and set both pans aside until they boil.

Once boiling, remove the pans from the heat and let cool down completely.

Once cooled down, use a potato masher to crush the entire batch of freekeh together.

You should end up with approximately 1/4-1/3 cup of freekeh flour.

Now transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt.

Use your hands to form the dough into small balls and place them onto the lined baking sheet.

Bake the balls for 25 minutes and then flip them over.

Bake another 15 minutes and repeat the process twice more.

After the fourth time, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the balls to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Freekeh Recipe3

What Does Freekeh Taste Like?

The name “freekeh” comes from the Arabic word frekeh which means cracked.

The way that freekeh is processed gives it its distinctive texture and nutty flavor.

Freekeh is also known as farro, einkorn, khorasan, khorasan wheat, and pearl barley.

It is available in three different colors: black, red, and white.

Black-colored freekeh is often used whole while red and white are usually ground into flour.

If you want to buy freekeh in bulk, there are several stores online where you can find it.

You should check their websites before buying to ensure they sell only organic products.

Black-colored freekeh

  • Available in medium (1 pound) bags.
  • It contains more protein than brown rice and less fat than quinoa.
  • A good source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, and molybdenum.
  • Contains no gluten.

Red-colored freekeh

  • Available in 1 pound bags.
  • Contains more vitamin C than blueberries.
  • Good source of dietary fiber.
  • Rich in antioxidants.
  • Has lower glycemic index than most grains.

White-colored freekeh

  • Available in 1 pound bags.
  • Higher in carbohydrates and calories than brown rice.
  • Not recommended for people who have diabetes or heart disease.
  • Low in sodium.
  • Can absorb some nutrients better when cooked in water instead of milk or oil.

How Can I Use Freekeh In Recipes?

You can enjoy freekeh as a side dish, but its best when used in savory dishes so it can be added right into the cooking process.

You can add it to soups, stews, rice dishes, salads, pastas, and even breads.

Freekeh pairs well with tomatoes, olives, onions, garlic, peppers, herbs, spices, and more.

Try these freekeh recipes

  • Spicy Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe | How To Cook Freekeh With Vegetables And Spices (Video)
  • Crispy Fried Chickpea & Freekeh Salad | The Best Of Vegan Recipes (No-Bake) [VIDEO]
  • Mushroom & Freekeh Risotto | Food52 (Recipe)

What Are Some Freekeh Recipes I Can Try?

You can find many different kinds of freekeh recipes on the internet.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Roasted Freekeh Salad Recipe
  • Kale-Stuffed Freekeh Bowls
  • Curried Lentil Soup with Freekeh
  • Greek Yogurt Freekeh Breakfast
  • Herb-Crusted Tofu Roast with Freekeh & Tomato Sauce

How Do I Cook Freekeh?

You can eat freekeh just like any other grain.

You can mix it in your oatmeal or add it to salads or soups.

The best way to prepare freekeh is by cooking it on its own as opposed to mixing it into something else.

However, if you want to mix it up, consider adding different ingredients such as garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, and cheese.

Depending on what you put inside the pot when preparing freekeh, you may end up getting a slightly nutty taste, but that’s not necessarily bad.

If you don’t like it too much, then simply rinse it off under cold water before serving.

If you decide to use it in soup, be sure to first soak the freekeh overnight so the starch will come out more easily.

Then, pour boiling water over the soaked freekeh until all the excess moisture is gone.

Next, place the freekeh back into the pot and bring it to a boil again.

Once it boils, reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 20-30 minutes according to the size of the pot.

Afterward, remove it from the stovetop and enjoy immediately with your favorite condiments.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Freekeh?

The healthiness of freekeh comes from its high fiber content.

The grain has a protein percentage of 14%, which means it contains more than most grains.

Freekeh also contains calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and B3, as well as many other vitamins and minerals.

Freekeh is gluten-free because it doesn’t contain proteins called gliadin.

Gluten is found in some grains like barley, rye and wheat, but not in others like corn, rice, oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa and sorghum.

It can be used as a substitute for whole wheat flour when cooking breads, pastas, pancakes, waffles and muffins.

You may even use it to replace couscous, bulgur (cracked wheat), cracked wheat and farro (an Italian semolina).

Freekeh is higher in antioxidants compared to white wheat flour.

Because of these properties, people who have celiac disease should avoid eating foods containing wheat.

However, if you don’t suffer from celiac disease, then you can enjoy freekeh without worrying about negative reactions.

You can find freekeh in many grocery stores across North America.

Just look for “freekeh” on your store’s ingredient list to see what they offer.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Freekeh?

The biggest drawback to freekeh is its price tag.

Freekeh can be quite expensive if you don’t buy it fresh from your local market.

You may have to pay more than $5 per pound when buying it online as well.

But the good news is that you can still enjoy freekeh even if you eat it frozen or dried.

Here’s what you should know before you start cooking with freekeh.

Flavor profile

Freekeh has a nutty taste that goes great with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, pepper, and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, and mint.

The best thing about making your own freekeh is that you get to customize the flavors by adding different ingredients like nuts, seeds, herbs, and seasonings.

Nutritional value

One cup (250 mL) of cooked freekeh contains 100 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 10 percent protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar, 4 milligrams of iron, 2 micrograms of calcium, and 9 milligrams of phosphorous.

All these nutrients contribute to a balanced diet.

If you want to learn more about nutritional values of foods, check out our guide on how to calculate nutrition facts labels.

Storage tips

You can store freekeh in airtight containers for up to two weeks without significant loss of quality.

To freeze freekeh, wrap the whole batch in aluminum foil and place them inside freezer bags.

Store the bagged freekeh in the freezer until ready to use.

When thawing, remove the frozen pieces from their bag and put them directly into water or broth.

Do not add cold water first – it might cause the freekeh to harden.

How Long Will Freekeh Last In My Pantry?

A lot longer than most grains, which have short shelf lives.

Freekeh can be stored in your pantry for up to two years.

However, if the bag starts to get moldy after several months, don’t worry — just toss it out.

Freekeh Recipe

Freekeh Recipe

Freekeh is an ancient grain that’s been around since at least 5000 BC.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Freekeh Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 198kcal


  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Bowl


  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • lemon Juice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  • Freekeh should be boiled for around 20 minutes in a medium saucepan with 8 cups of water. Strain.
  • In the meantime, let the onions sit in a small dish of ice water for 10 minutes. Good straining
  • In a big bowl, combine the oil, onions, basil, dill, parsley, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cooked freekah should be added and coated. If necessary, season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in the final teaspoon of lemon juice. At room temperature or heated, serve. (Or serve cold, adding a tablespoon more of lemon juice right before serving.)



Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 237IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
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