Hello and welcome to the December ’14 Virtual Vegan Potluck! I loved taking part last year so when the event rolled around again I signed up straight away. I brought Vegan Crepes with Date & Orange Compote and Cinnamon Ice Cream to the last party but this year I’m sharing a side dish. I’m also using the event’s “featured ingredient — citrus!
Have you heard of freekeh yet? The chances are you have if you’re a food blogger as it’s made a big comeback in recent years. It’s an ancient grain ( a form of wheat that’s harvested when young and green) so it’s actually been around for years, and is especially popular in the Middle East.
If you’re an old Coconut and Berries reader you’ll know that I have a bit of a thing for Middle Eastern food so I was bound to discover freekeh sooner or later. But there’s lots to love about the stuff. It has a firm, chewy texture and a distinct flavor that’s earthy, nutty and slightly smoky. It also has some great nutritional benefits: serving for serving it’s higher in protein and fibre than comparable grains like brown rice.
It’s really versatile too. Use it anywhere you’d usually use other grains, in sweet or savoury preparations — go wild!
Today’s recipe is a little nod to the grain’s origins with a slightly Middle Eastern feel. This hearty side dish is full of fun textures and I think the smokiness of the freekeh works wonderfully with the sweet butternut, orange and shallots.
I had intended this recipe to be a side dish but it’s very filling so makes a lovely main course too, served simply with some steamed green vegetables and a dollop of non-dairy yogurt.
- 1 C Freekeh
- 2 Tbsp Coconut OR Olive oil
- 1/2 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Stalk of celery, diced
- 1 Clove of garlic, minced
- 3/4 tsp Ground cumin
- 3/4 C Cooked chickpeas
- 1 heaping C Diced butternut squash (cubes approx 1cm)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 C Vegetable broth
- 6 Shallots, peeled & halved*
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/4 C Chopped parsley
- Non-dairy yogurt, to serve
- Rinse the freekeh well then cover with cold water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté for approx 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic, cumin, chickpeas and butternut and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
- Add the drained freekeh, orange zest, vegetable broth, shallots and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for approx 30 minutes. After 30 minutes most of the liquid should have been absorbed. If not, continue to cook for a few minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and leave to sit, covered, for a couple of minutes.
- Serve, topped with fresh parsley and a dollop of non-dairy yogurt.
*Shallots can be a pain to peel. I've found the best way to deal with them is to cover them in boiling water, leave for 2-3 minutes then plunge into cold water. Slice off the tops and the skins should come off fairly easily.
Please do check out the other contributions to the potluck. Simply click on the buttons below to go backwards, forwards or right back to the beginning.
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