Growing up in Egypt, our holiday turkey (served typically at Christmas) was usually stuffed with a hearty freekeh stuffing. As a kid, I frankly ignored the actual turkey and went for the freekeh.
Some of you may be thinking, what the heck is freekeh? Freek what? Freekeh is essentially roasted green wheat; I think of it as greenish rice. It’s an ancient grain that is recognized now as a “new” superfood. Freekeh compares to other grains like quinoa, farro and rice. However, because freekeh is basically wheat harvested so young, it retains more protein, fiber and minerals. If you compare the fiber content alone, freekeh packs three times as much fiber as brown rice. And watch out, quinoa; freekeh beats you by twice as much fiber!
As far as taste, freekeh has a subtle smokiness to it, which I really enjoy. I use freekeh occasionally in place of rice. I typically make more of a savory freekeh with onion, garlic and herbs. But as I thought about my thanksgiving menu, I figured why not do a freekeh stuffing with some of my favorite Thanksgiving ingredients: cranberries and apples?! I finished my cranberry apple freekeh stuffing with scallions, parsley leaves, and walnuts.
Where can you buy freekeh here in the U.S.? Besides Mediterranean grocery stores, it is likely available in the grain aisles at places like Whole Foods. But you can also look in the international section of large grocery stores. One brand I use often on is Freekeh Foods, it is high quality freekeh, clean and tasty.
You don’t have to give up grandma’s stuffing this Thanksgiving, but add this wholesome cranberry apple freekeh stuffing next to it! It’s a hearty vegan option that anyone will enjoy.
Here is the step-by-step for today’s Cranberry Apple Freekeh Stuffing :
(Print-friendly recipe to follow)
Chop red onion, two small Granny Smith apples, and a couple of celery ribs.
Heat two tbsp olive oil in large and deep skillet. Add the red onions, celery, and apples; saute for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
Add garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper; toss together briefly. Now mix in the freekeh (which has been soaked in water and drained), and top with vegetable broth.
Bring the broth to a boil, and continue to cook on medium-high heat for 3-4 more minutes or until broth has significantly reduced (you could see moisture, but the broth should no longer cover the freekeh).
Turn the heat to low. Cover the skillet and let everything cook for another 5 minutes or so. Then stir in the cranberries; cover again and let cook for another 7-10 minutes or until the freekeh is fully cooked. Test to make sure it is not too moist or too sticky. If neither, then you’ll know your freekeh is ready. Remove from the heat, and mix in the scallions and parsley. Garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!