Freekeh has been waiting a couple of thousand years for its moment in the spotlight, and it’s finally arrived — at least in my home! Yes, I’m currently grooving on this ancient grain as my new go-to healthy carb. Nutty and slightly chewy, this grain have an amazing flavor and texture. L-O-V-E it! So here’s a simple spring freekeh salad with spring’s very own star, asparagus and oh-so-tasty young peas, edamame, mint and sunshiny lemon.
What is exactly is freekeh?
Perhaps we should chat about freekeh for a moment. First off, freekeh has actually been around for centuries. It is ancient. Ancient as in it hasn’t been altered and hybridized by crossing different strains to generate new characteristics over the years like modern wheat and corn. Freekeh is wheat, young wheat, wheat that has been harvested when it’s still green and then it is roasted over an open fire. Because of this, freekeh contains more protein, vitamins and minerals than mature grains. This is a simplified explanation but this video is great for showing how things are really done.
This power-packed grain is high in fiber and other good things like iron, calcium, and zinc, plus it acts like a prebiotic, promoting the growth of good bacteria in your digestive system. Compared to other grains it is also lower on the glycemic index (wholegrain freekeh GI = 43) and can be used similar to how you’d use quinoa, spelt, barley, wheat berries or even brown rice. Freekeh comes in two forms – whole grain and cracked, and has a wonderfully chewy texture, and nutty, earthy taste. To bring out even more of its smoky flavor, just toast it in a pan for a few minutes before cooking it. And guess what? Cooking it is absolutely idiot proof. It cooks with a 2-to-1 water to grain ration in just 30 minutes. This gives you time to prepare the rest of this delicious spring freekeh salad!
Spring Freekeh Salad with Asparagus, Peas & Edamame
Total time: 35 minutes
1 cup uncooked freekeh (green wheat) (200 g)
1 cup frozen peas (120 g)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (150 g)
1 bunch green asparagus (500 g), cut at a slight diagonal into 3-5 cm long pieces
finely grated zest from 1 organic lemon
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 handful fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (plus some leaves for garnish)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (plus more, if desired)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
NOTE: shelled edamame can be found in Asian markets and some larger supermarkets. If only sold in the pod, you will need about 300 g, and will need to shell them after blanching. Otherwise, you can also use frozen fava beans (also called broad beans), which if not already double-peeled, should be skinned after the podded beans have been blanched.
1. Cook freekeh according to package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus pieces, peas and edamame and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Shake out the excess water.
3. Place the freekeh and asparagus mixture in a serving bowl along with the lemon zest, green onion and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if desired. Garnish with extra mint leaves, serve and enjoy!
For more spring asparagus recipes:
- Asparagus and Fava Bean Quinoa Salad
- Spring Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Artichokes
- White Asparagus and Salmon Ceviche
- Prosciutto Wrapped White Asparagus with Zesty Lemon
- Shaved Viola Asparagus in a Lemon Vinaigrette
- Lemon-Dill Viola Asparagus with Belgium Endive
- Tender Greens in a Champagne Vinaigrette with Asparagus, Strawberries & Avocado
- Asparagus (Purple, White & Green)
- Asparagus 3-Ways
- Shaved Fennel & White Asparagus Salad