This Ancient Middle Eastern Green Grain is Red Hot

Nutrition Unplugged reports on the rising popularity of ancient grains and Freekeh in particular.

Ancient grains are now basking in the limelight — fueled by several forces that have created a perfect storm for the growing popularity of these hot “new” grains, including the demand for whole grains, plant-based entrees and gluten-free options.

Freekeh is a smoky cousin to bulgur wheat, which I also frequently use to make savory pilafs and other side dishes. It’s like a cross between brown rice and barley. I found boxes of freekeh at the Middle Eastern markets in Chicago. But now Trader Joe’s carries packets of a pre-cooked variety called Greenwheat Freekeh, and I’m sure it will be appearing soon on other supermarket shelves. Some natural foods stores may also carry it.

The Village Voice thinks freekeh may be the next big grain. Chef Jamie Oliver calls freekeh his new favorite superfood. And it was mentioned in a New York Times review of the East Village restaurant Northern Spy Food Company. Chef Nathan Foot makes a freekeh risotto that’s described as a “hippie mac-and-cheese.” Love that.

The taste of freekeh is superb, but I also love its nutrition profile. This is a high-fiber, high-protein grain that is more nutrient-rich compared to many other grains. There’s something about being harvested while the durum wheat is still young that makes it such a nutrient powerhouse.

Source: Nutrition Unplugged