I’ve been working on eating more vegetarian meals, which is difficult when my husband gets disappointed when there isn’t some sort of animal on his plate. When I told him this freekeh, parsley and garbanzo bean salad was dinner, he said, “No feta cheese? Just this?”
Yes, just this.
I’ve been hearing a lot about freekeh lately. It seems to be the grain du jour—the quinoa of 2014 (quinoa is technically a seed, but I digress). Freekeh is green wheat; an ancient grain popular in the Middle East and North Africa. Harvested early, the moist grains are sun-dried, and then set on fire to burn off the chaff. The roasted grains are then beaten and cracked into uniform pieces.
It’s this early harvesting that is the key to freekeh’s nutrition, retaining more nutrients than grain allowed to fully mature. Freekeh has more protein, vitamins and minerals than brown rice, a low glycemic index and as much as four times the fiber as brown rice.
With all of the positive press, I had to give freekeh a try! It’s easy to cook—just like any grain; I simmered it on low heat in some water with a bay leaf added for flavor. The result was bland, with a texture softer than brown rice, but much like any grain–nothing extraordinary here. I allowed the freekeh to cool and tossed it in a salad with parsley, garbanzo beans, good olive oil and lemon.
This freekeh, parsley and garbanzo bean salad has all the flavors of tabouli—one of my favorite Middle Eastern salads. Garbanzo beans give the recipe more substance. They add a creamy mouth-feel that turns this salad into a main dish–without the addition of cheese. The mint and tomatoes are light and fresh. The texture of the freekeh is just perfect. After a few bites, even my husband was won over.
Give this recipe a shot for Meatless Monday—or meatless any day. You can find freekeh on many supermarket shelves or buy freekeh on Amazon.
Freekeh, Parsley and Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipe
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 4 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups cooked freekeh (cooled)
- 1 1/2 cups (1 16 oz. can, drained) garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 2 cups finely chopped parsley
- 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together freekeh, beans, parsley, tomato, mint and green onion. Toss with the vinaigrette and taste. Season more to taste. Chill for half an hour before serving/