Monday, September 3, 2012

Freekah and Pesto Tabouleh

Pin It

Yes, you read that correctly.  We cooked with freekah, cracked freekah, to be exact.  We discovered this unique grain at a Whole Foods demo a few weeks back and loved the flavor and texture of it.  It's somewhere in between bulgur and barley - with a firmer texture than bulgur and an earthier flavor than both.  When we saw this weeks the food matters project recipe, Quinoa Tabouleh, we liked the idea of swapping out the traditional tabouleh grain, bulgur, for something else.  We figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try cracked freekah.

To change things up even more, rather than making traditional raw tabouleh, we decided to roast all of the vegetables and turn the herbs, basil in our case, into a fresh pesto.  The combination of firm freekah, creamy pesto, and roasted vegetables was delicious and a great twist on traditional tabouleh.

We will definitely cook with this healthy and filling grain again (plus it's inexpensive in bulk bins) and see our recipe below to learn how to cook it yourself.  Also, visit Simply Whole Kitchen to see Bittman's original recipe for Quinoa Tabouleh.

Freekah and Pesto Tabouleh

1 cup cracked freekah
2 1/2 cups water

1 bunch basil
2 cloves garlic
1 handful nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts)
Extra virgin olive oil

5 plum tomatoes, cut in half
1 eggplant, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 leek or onion, sliced
2 peppers, diced

Preheat oven to 450*F.

Combine freekah and water in a medium pot over medium heat.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Freekah is done when it is tender and water is absorbed.

Combine basil, garlic, and nuts in food processor and pulse until smooth.  Stream in oil, a little or a lot, until desired consistency is reached.  For this recipe we only added a bit of oil to keep the pesto thick.

Toss the vegetables with oil, salt, and pepper and place in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake, mixing occasionally, until all the vegetables are soft and caramelized, about 45 minutes.

All of this can be made well in advanced and kept refrigerated.  Prior to serving, ideally 1 hour before, combine freekah, pesto, and vegetables and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.