The customers at my work have been asking for freekeh for a while, and we finally got an organic version from Bob’s Red Mill. I saw the bag and knew that I had to try it, even though it’s not gluten-free and we barely ever have anything in the house that isn’t. Freekeh is young green wheat that gets roasted, which makes it cook quickly (about 20 minutes) and you can use it in sweet or savory dishes. It is high in fiber and protein, and could be a nice addition to your pantry if you don’t need to avoid gluten, because it can be used really easily, almost like quinoa. I was really impressed with how easy it was to cook and I’m excited about working with other grains to create simple salad dishes. I boiled 2 1/2 cups of water, added 1 cup of freekeh, lowered the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, until all of the water was absorbed. This made at least 4 servings of freekeh and it has a nice, slightly chewy texture, but works perfectly with the toasted chickpeas and chard mixture.
Toasting chickpeas is incredibly easy, fun and adds an awesome crunch and flavor to this dish. I used 16 oz of chickpeas, drained and rinsed them, and then laid them flat in between two paper towels to soak up any additional moisture. You want the chickpeas to be as dry as possible so they crisp up in the oven, but I prefer them to only get slightly toasted, but not overly cooked, so that they aren’t too hard to chew with the other ingredients. Once they are almost completely dry, add them to a big bowl with two diced cloves of garlic, drizzle about 1 tbsp olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt. I then added about 1-2 tsp of turmeric powder. I mixed it around to make sure all of the chickpeas were coated, and you can see that some of the outer layer comes off while you do this, which is fine. You can either remove it or leave it on, I don’t find it necessary to remove it, and then lay the chickpeas flat on parchment lined baking sheet. I baked them for about 15 minutes at 400 F. I then added another pinch of salt and let them cool off while I cooked the chard and mushrooms.
The last component is sauteed shiitake mushrooms with rainbow chard and this takes about 5 minutes. Heat a pan on medium low heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and 1 chopped clove of garlic. Let the garlic simmer for a few minutes until it starts to turn slightly brown, then add about 1 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms cook quickly, so in about 3 minutes add a splash of tamari, and then half a head of chopped rainbow chard. Once the chard starts to wilt it’s ready to add to the pot of freekeh. Mix together, top with a pinch of salt, raw unsalted sunflower seeds, and a handful of sunflower sprouts. I also added a watermelon radish for a little bit of spicy and crunchy texture, plus they’re so beautiful!
This hearty bowl is packed full of protein and fiber and is perfect for this beautiful weather we’re having in December.