Freekeh Pilaf

I gave myself two tasks last weekend:

  1. To organize  my many and sundry cookbooks.
  2. To find some recipes that would fit into our current 2017 Challenge.

I have a number of wonderful, wonderful cookbooks and yes, I am a hoarder.

These do not include the pile by my computer(and by the bed and by the couch and on the desk).

I have decided to post at least one recipe from one of my many cookbooks each month.  Today is the first post in my monthly (hopefully) Cookbook of the Month feature.

Drum roll please….

May I present the inaugural post for Cookbook of the Month.

Freekeh Pilaf

Yotam Ottolenghi from Plenty

The key to this dish is good stock with a lot of flavor. Ottolenghi suggests if not using chicken or mutton stock to reduce a good quality vegetable stock by half to intensify flavor.


  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 1 c. freekeh*
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. allspice
  • 1 1/4 c.good-quality reduced vegetable stock
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 t. lemon juice
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 c. finely chopped parsley, plus more to garnish
  • 1/8 c. finely chopped mint
  • 2/3 c. finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 T. pine nuts, toasted and roughly broken


  1. Place the onions, butter and olive oil in a large heavy pot and sauté on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onion is soft and brown.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the freekeh in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Drain well.
  3. Add the freekeh and spices to the onions, followed by the stock and some salt and pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to a bare minumum and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for 5 minutes. Finally, remove the lid and leave the pilaf to cool down a little, about another 5 minutes.
  4. While you wait, mix the yogurt with the lemon juice, garlic and some salt.
  5. Stir the herbs into the warm (but not hot) pilaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon into serving dishes and top each portion with a generous dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley and finish with a trickle of good olive oil.

Yield: 2-4 servings

This stuff is “freekeh” fantastic!   Really.  I am not a big mint fan and I am usually tempted to leave it out of savory dishes.  Do not be tempted.   And, do not serve this dish without the yogurt sauce.  It “freekah” makes the dish!   (Sorry, no more “freekeh” puns.)  Furthermore, the tip about reducing the vegetable stock to intensify the flavor is genius!

Since we started our 2017 Challenge by eating mostly rice bowls, I have had a couple of perplexed commenters:  “Why rice?  Aren’t there other healthy and whole grains you could be eating?”

My answer has always been “yes” but our quest is really about portion control.   My intent was always to include quinoa and other grains into our diet with lots of veggies and little red meat.

This Freekeh Pilaf fit into our diet nicely.   It will “freekah” show up again.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist one more.

Note:  Freekeh might replace quinoa in this house.  It has more depth than regular bulgar.  Freekeh is an ancient wheat that is roasted and cracked when it is green.  If you haven’t tried the stuff, do so as soon as you are able.

*This the brand I used.  I just realized that it was enhanced with a tamari flavor.   I will have to try the recipe again using a plain freekeh and compare.

This is only the second recipe that I’ve used from Plenty.  See, I do not utilize my cookbooks enough.  I tried his Two-Potato Vindaloo way back in 2015.  Since we are de-emphasizing red meat in this household and highlighting vegetables, you can be sure I will be trying out some more recipes.

What was the last cookbook (read “non-internet”) recipe you tried?

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