Freekeh Out!

by Alexandra Williams, MA on Mar 14, 2013

Food Focus

It’s so tempting to say, “Freekeh Friday,” but freekeh is actually good for you any day of the week. An ancient grain (mentioned as early as the 13th century), freekeh is made from green wheat that’s sun-dried, roasted, thrashed and then further sun-dried.

Mostly used in cereal dishes in the U.S., freekeh is found in a lot of meat-based dishes in the Middle East and Africa. According to popular legend, freekeh was accidentally created about 2,000 years ago when marauders burned a Middle Eastern village and its crop of young, green wheat. Rather than lament their loss, the villagers rubbed the chaff off the burned wheat and cooked up what is now known as freekeh (the word even means “rubbed”)!

With a nutty, crunchy texture and a slightly smoky flavor, freekeh can be used in side dishes, in the same way you’d serve rice or pasta; in main dishes with a Middle Eastern flair; and in soups and salads. When searching for recipes, also try these spellings: frikeh or farik.

One of the first known freekeh recipes was a combination of freekeh, water, salt, cinnamon bark and fresh lamb-tail fat. Egyptians served the grain stuffed in pigeons, and Tunisians were known for their freekeh and bone marrow soup.

Freekeh Facts

  • Freekeh has a low glycemic index, so it’s a good choice for people with diabetes.
  • Freekeh has up to four times as much fiber as comparable grains, such as quinoa, brown rice and farro.
  • Freekeh is high in protein, selenium, potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium.
  • A roasted green grain, freekeh is regarded as a superfood.
  • Wheat is the most common source of freekeh, but it can also be made from green barley, green triticale and other green grains.
  • The high fiber content makes freekeh a good choice as a weight loss food; it also has less than a gram of fat per serving.

IDEA Food and Nutrition Tips, Volume 2, Issue 2

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Alexandra Williams, MA

Alexandra Williams, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Alexandra Williams, MA, is a contributing editor for IDEA Fitness Journal and co-owner of the Fun & Fit blog, column and radio show with her twin sister. Certified since 1986, Alexandra currently tea...


Trending Articles

How to Teach HIIT to Everyone

High-intensity interval training has been riding a wave of popularity, and it seems everyone wants to give it a try. However, intense interval training is nothing new. Group fitness instructors have b...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

The Reason Your Clients Don't Achieve Their Goals

Lots of people hire personal trainers or join group fitness classes hoping to lose weight. Yet many fail to meet their goals. New research suggests that “progress bias”—overestimatin...

Recipe for Health: Picadillo-Stuffed Peppers

If you don’t believe that authentic Mexican cookery is “whole” and healthy, you need to take a deep dive into Mexico: The Cookbook (Phaidon 2014), the first truly comprehensive bible...

Show More