There is a new grain in town called Freekeh and it is freekehing delicious! It is actually an ancient grain from the Middle East but is relatively new in western countries. Freekeh is a type of wheat that is picked when green and then roasted which causes the grain to be higher in fibre, protein and nutrients including calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. Freekeh is also great for your eyes as it is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked with a reduced risk of macular degeneration. Freekeh is also very high in resistant starch, a type of fibre that has been shown to increase the production of ‘butyrate’ in your gut. Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that has repeatedly been associated with a reduced risk of developing bowel diseases and is thought to help reduce cholesterol by suppressing cholesterol synthesis. See a CSIRO study on freekeh here.
For the Dressing
- 1 mango diced (or 1/2 cup canned mango puree)
- 1/4 diced eschalot (shallots)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 long red chili de-seeded and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or other)
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- pinch of black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Heat mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until they start to pop. Place seeds along with all the other ingredients except the olive oil into a blender or food processor. Pulse until dressing is well mixed. With the motor running, pour in olive oil until dressing is emulsified.
For The Salad
- 1 1/2 cups cooked freekeh
- 1 large bunch curly kale, washed, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
- 3/4 cup almonds
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
Cook freekeh according to package directions. (I used a pressure cooker which significantly reduces the cooking time). Place kale in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the leaves and massage it into the leaves for 1-2 minutes. Set aside while you wait for the freekeh to finish cooking.
Toast the almonds in a frying pan over medium heat until they start smelling fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
In the same pan, toast the shredded coconut until lightly golden, then set aside.
When the freekeh is done cooking, and is still warm, sprinkle it over the kale salad. Toss in the avocado, almonds, coconut and cherries. Enjoy!