This freekeh pilaf is one of my favourite staples to cook as an alternative to rice. Freekeh is cracked wheat that’s packed full of fibre and a healthy choice to for heart and gut benefits. It has a wonderful nutty taste and a soft, slightly chewy texture that I just love.
Freekeh is widely eaten across the Middle East and Mediterranean, and features in delicious pilafs, stews, salads and more. It’s amazing with meats and fish as the grains take on flavour so well. But because they are so hearty and filling they’re an excellent vegan ingredient to ensure you fill up without pigging out!
Is bulgur the same as freekeh?
Bulgur and freekeh are both wheat grains, they’re similar but have different harvesting processes which make them distinctive nutritionally, in appearance and in taste.
Bulgur are grains that are harvested when fully developed and ripe. The grains are left whole or cracked into various sizes and then part-boiled or steamed and re-dried. This process helps speed up the final cooking process. Like freekeh, bulgur is a good choice for pilafs, salads and soups. Try my delicious Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Lamb & Silverbeet. You can also use bulgur, instead of freekeh, for this recipe.
Freekeh grains are harvested when under-ripe and still green, meaning they retain more of their nutritional value. They are sometimes left whole but more commonly cracked to help with digestion. Freekeh grains take a little longer to cook (about 20 minutes), but absorb liquids well creating a wonderful soft and toothsome texture.