Freekeh (free-kah) is wheat that’s harvested while young and green, roasted over an open fire, and then the straw and chaff are burned and rubbed off. The grain, on the inside, is too young and moist to burn, so you're left with a firm, slightly chewy grain with a distinct flavour that's earthy, nutty, and slightly smoky.
Health benefits –
· Freekeh is low in fat and high in protein and fibre, in fact it has more protein and twice as much fibre as quinoa.
· Freekeh is also low in glucose, high in iron, calcium, and zinc, and acts like a prebiotic which promotes the growth of good bacteria in your digestive system.
FREEKAH ROAST VEGETABLE SALAD W BLOOD ORANGE DRESSING
1 cup freekeh
½ butternut pumpkin
7 baby beetroot, or larger beets cut in quarters
5 kale leaves
2-3 tablespoons za’atar
1 blood orange, juice and zest
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Rinse the freekeh twice in a pot and drain. Add 2½ cups water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220’C (430’F/Gas 7). Cut butternut pumpkin into 2 cm (1 inch) wide rings, peel rings and cut into four pieces, then into 2 cm (1 inch) wide sticks. Cut baby beetroot in half. Place pumpkin pieces into a plastic bag with a dash of olive oil and mix well. Add za’atar to bag and mix to cover pumpkin pieces. Repeat for beets. Place a sheet of baking paper on the baking tray, add pumpkin pieces to one side of tray and place in oven to bake for 35-40 minutes. When 20 minutes have elapsed, place baby beets on baking tray and continue to roast for another 20 minutes. Meanwhile, wash kale and remove stem, and cut into 2 cm (1 inch) wide slices. Bring water to the boil in pot and boil kale for 2-3 minutes. Drain water and place on a plate to cool. To make dressing, squeeze juice from blood orange into a jar, add maple syrup, replace lid and shake. In a bowl combine freekeh, roasted pumpkin and beets, cooked kale, blood orange zest and chia seeds. Pour dressing over salad mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve on a platter.