Here’s a comforting and nutrient-rich recipe that you can have for meals throughout the week. You can combine all of these ingredients together, or use them separately in other dishes. In this particular recipe, the highlight is freekeh. I became intrigued by this grain after seeing it available at my local farmers’ market.
Freekeh is a wheat grain that is harvested when young and green. It has a nutty, earthy, and subtly smoky flavor and has been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine for hundreds of years. Freekeh is high in protein and fiber, while being low in fat. One serving of freekeh (~42 grams or 1.5oz) contains 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. It’s low on the glycemic index as well, meaning it doesn’t cause large increases in your blood sugar. It’s also high in iron, calcium, zinc, B vitamins, and magnesium. Freekeh has prebiotic properties, which promotes growth of healthy bacteria necessary for digestion. It can be used in all kinds of dishes, including sweet and savory, similar to other whole grains.
*Note: freekeh contains gluten as it is in the wheat family
Warm Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Freekeh Pilaf with Tahini Dressing
- Makes 4 meals for the week -
For the Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in halves or quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
For the Freekeh
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small red onion, minced
¼ cup sunflower seeds (could also use sliced almonds)
1¼ cups cracked freekeh
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 cups vegetable broth and/or water
For the Tahini Dressing
⅓ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
⅓ cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup cilantro, chopped to garnish
Optional toppings: dried cranberries, sesame seeds
To Roast the Brussels Sprouts:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil. Add the maple syrup and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway, until the Brussels sprouts are crispy (but not burnt).
To Cook the Freekeh:
1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat.
2. Add the red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the sunflower seeds and continue to cook until they are golden brown.
4. Add the freekeh and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt, and sauté until fragrant.
5. Add vegetable broth or water, raise the heat and bring the mixture a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until freekeh is tender; 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste.
To Make the Dressing:
1. In a bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic and red pepper flakes.
2. Whisk in the water until the tahini dressing is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1. Start with a base of cooked freekeh in a bowl or plate and top with the roasted Brussels sprouts.
2. Drizzle tahini sauce generously over the dish and top with cilantro to garnish.
Recipe inspired by Cookie & Kate
By Reena Panjwani, M.S., R.D. - Expert Dietician