Trendy health food du jour: Freekeh


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We hope you’ve had your fill of quinoa, because it’s already yesterday’s news now that freekeh has stolen the spotlight. Pronounced “freek-ah,” this ancient grain is actually green durum wheat that’s harvested young, while the grains are still green and soft, and is then sundried, roasted, polished and cracked.

A cousin of bulgar wheat, freekeh is native to Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt, and it’s loaded with protein, fiber — four times as much as brown rice! — and antioxidants. Compared with other grains, “it is higher in protein, fiber, vitamins [and] minerals, and lower in glycemic index,” according to Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Freekeh’s nutty, smoky flavor comes from the roasting process, and it’s great for pilafs, adding to casseroles or as a substitute for rice or couscous. The best part: It only takes 20 minutes to cook!

Need some recipe inspiration? Try these:


There’s a widespread misconception that freekeh is gluten-free — it’s not, so those with celiac disease should avoid it. It does have a low glycemic index, though, so it may be suitable for a diabetic diet — check with your doctor or registered dietitian first.

Freekeh is popping up in health food markets around the country and is currently available at Trader Joe’s.