One of my biggest pet peeves is the misconception that all carbs are bad for you. Yes, white refined carbohydrates have no nutritional value, but there are many carbs out there that are high in protein, fibre, vitamins & minerals such as: brown rice, quinoa, wheatberries, bulgar, and my new favorite – freekeh. These healthy carbs help keep you satisfied after a meal because they are high in fiber, and provide necessary fuel for your body & brain.
Freekeh is a relatively new grain on the nutrition scene. It is derived from green wheat, and is high in protein & fibre; ½ cup of cooked freekeh has 7g of protein (more than an egg!), and 4g of fibre. It has a chewy texture, and nutty flavor.
I had a box of freekeh sitting in my cupboard for a while, and was finally inspired to cook with it after I tried the new Summer Cous Cous & Farro Salad from Costco (farro is similar to freekeh). It’s delicious, but unfortunately cous cous is a type of white refined pasta, which spikes your blood sugar and can cause excess belly fat.
I looked at the ingredients, and decided to make my own healthier version using quinoa, freekeh, and extra virgin olive oil (opposed to genetically modified canola oil). The Costco salad also includes goji berries, which are awesome for you, but a bit on the expensive side so I opted for organic raisins instead. Their salad also includes whole flax seeds, which I decided not to include – it’s kind of a waste because they just pass right through you (in order to get the health benefits from flax, it should be ground).
I think my healthier version is pretty darn close in taste to the Costco version, and is higher in protein & fibre, which means it will keep you satisfied longer. Store this salad in the fridge, and enjoy it as a side to dinner or a quick, healthy lunch.
Whole-Grain Freekeh Salad
1-cup dry quinoa
1 package freekeh
½ cup organic raisins
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. real maple syrup
Cook quinoa & freekeh according to package directions.
Combine dressing ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa & freekeh with a fork until mixed. Stir in the dressing, and add spices, salt & pepper.
Stir in raisins and pumpkin seeds.
Serve warm or cold.