Meatless Mondays with Martha Stewart – Earth Bowls

Have you ever gotten a craving for something you’ve never even eaten before? I have. Yesterday morning I woke up and just had to eat some freekeh.

Despite the “freaky” name, freekeh (pronounced free-kah), has been a dietary staple for hundreds of years in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Freekeh is very similar to cracked wheat or bulgur, but has one interesting difference: the grain is made from young green wheat that goes through a roasting process during production. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft and it’s then piled and sun-dried. Even though freekeh can sometimes be referred to as “green wheat,” the color is golden brown with a slight green tinge.

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The health bonus of harvesting immature wheat is that it retains more of its nutrients and proteins than its fully-grown counterparts. It even claims to have fewer carbohydrates than regular wheat because it’s young. It surprisingly has more dietary fiber content than brown rice, plus more calcium, iron, and potassium content. Perhaps that’s why I had a freekeh craving: I was hungry for nutrients.

This salad is incredibly simple and features spring’s amazing flavors. If you can find spring cabbage, definitely try it: the taste is sweeter and the texture softer than the heartier leaves available in fall and winter, and it’s perfect for eating raw like in this dish.

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Instead of plating the salad in a bowl, I thought I’d use the cabbage leaves themselves. The contrast between the soft, smoky wheat and crisp leaves is amazing. The radish adds peppery crunch and the pea shoots deliver bittersweet, earthy taste. One of my more simple recipes, this is a great example of a meal that comes together with just a few elements. It’s freekeh-n delicious!

Earth Bowls with Freekeh
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
1 cup freekeh (available at natural food stores and middle-eastern supermarkets)
2 cups water
1 head spring cabbage (Duncan, Spring Hero, Oxheart)
1 bunch radishes (about 15), washed and sliced very thinly
1 bunch pea shoots (30g/1oz), rinsed

Dressing:
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. honey (or agave)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
a couple pinches sea salt 

Directions:
1. Pour the freekeh into a saucepan and cover with water. Swirl water and rub the grains together vigorously to wash them. Drain and repeat until the water is clear. Add 2 cups water and a couple pinches sea salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the water is completely absorbed (about 15 minutes for cracked grain and 45 minutes for whole grain). Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to halt the cooking process and cool.

2. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.

3. Add the dressing to the slightly cooled freekeh, folding to incorporate. Fold in the radishes and about half of the pea shoots.

4. Remove cabbage leaves for serving. Mound about ½ cup freekeh salad in the center of each cabbage leaf, garnish with remaining pea shoots, and serve. You can also roll the cabbage leaves and seal them with a toothpick for easy transport (a great picnic food).

 

21 comments

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  2. Clarice

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  3. Lotta

    I love your blog! It’s fantastic! I’m going to Copenhagen next weekend, and I’m looking for a great restaurant. It must be at the place you’re working!
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  4. Anonymous

    my grandmother and dad always cook with this grain. my dad makes his signature freekeh soup in the winter with caramelized onions. a staple in the middle eastern home!
    xoxo sommer

  5. Cally

    I’m so excited about you going to Turkey that I can’t concentrate on the recipe! My boyfriend lives in Turkey so I am in love with the wealth of wonderful recipes I have have learned from there.

    Many of them are so perfect for adapting to the way I, and you, make food. I’m totally excited to see what sort of inspiration you will came back with, and all the new ingredients you’ll probably be using. Have a wonderful trip!

  6. Elizabeth

    I was just recently introduced to freekah as well. By the friendly grain grower guys at the farmer’s market who were selling it, along with some delicious looking farro, heirloom popcorn (what?!) and beans. I’m gonna have to go back for it this weekend so I can make this beautiful dish.

  7. Jana

    just looking at it makes me happy+smily! I am sure u will enjoy Turkey with all its delicious spices/dried fruits+yummy dishes! :-)))thanks for keeping us healthy+ making us happy all that time…

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