Try This Rare Protein Rich Grain

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Want something else besides Quinoa for dinner? 

This ancient grain has less fat than quinoa and more protein.  It also has 3x the fiber content of brown rice. 

It is poised to become the next super grain as we all continue to look for healthier sources of grains and carbohydrate sources.

It is called Freekeh. 

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Let’s compare it to Quinoa which many consider a superfood.  Let’s see how it stacks up. 

A 1/4 cup serving of freekeh has 6-7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per servings. 

The same amount of Quinoa has only 3 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. 

Right from the get-go freekeh is going to be a good option for anyone looking to lose weight. 

It will help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and it is fairly low on the glycemic index thanks to the high protein and fiber content. 

Freekeh is also packed with iron, calcium and zinc.   Also, a great source of selenium, potassium, and magnesium. 

One other unique benefit of freekeh is that it acts as a pre-biotic.  So it helps to fuel the growth of healthy bacteria that then helps with digestion. 

The great thing about Freekeh is that it is very versatile to add into different dishes or recipes.  You could consume it as a breakfast type oatmeal, soups, risottos, rice type recipes and salads. 

You can find it many Whole Foods stores in the Middle Eastern food section.  If you have a Middle Eastern grocer you should be able to find it there as well. 

How Do You Cook Or Prepare It? 

You can purchase freekeh cracked or as a whole grain.  Cracked freekeh doesn’t change the nutritional content, and it takes less time to cook. 

Uncracked (whole) freekeh takes about 45-50 minutes to cook (simmer), while cracked freekeh only takes about 15-20 minutes.

For every 1 cup of uncooked freekeh, you will want to cook it in 2.5 cups of water or roughly a 2:1 ratio. 

Cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes for cracked freekeh.  When the liquid is absorbed and the grains are soft they are ready to eat. 

Here is a delicious recipe you can try to get you started incorporating Freekeh into your healthy meal plans. 

Mediterranean Freekeh Chicken Salad

1.5 cups Freekeh
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced grilled chicken
1 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 large carrots, chopped
1 cup sliced roasted red pepper
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
5 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup tahini
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 cup lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Cook 1.5 cups freekeh in about 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes if using cracked freekeh or 45 minutes if using whole (uncracked) freekeh.  Cook until the water is absorbed and the freekeh is soft. 

Set aside for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. 

2.  Grill chicken and season to taste. 

3.  In a large bowl toss together the freekeh, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, red peppers, parsley, olives, walnuts and feta cheese. 

In a separate bowl whisk together tahini, 2 tabs olive oil, paprika and lemon juice. 

Final step: Toss the mixed items into the tahini dressing you just put together.

Mix well and enjoy!

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