Freekeh is a healthy grain - Picture by Hein Van Tonder/Freekeh SA
Freekeh, an ancient Middle Eastern type of wheat, has been on my radar for quite a while as a new "it" grain, but I had not gotten around to trying it until now. 

I wish I hadn't waited so long, because it is a treasure on both nutritional and culinary fronts.

It is a whole grain that is exceptionally rich in protein and fibre (it has more of both than quinoa does), and it has a lovely chewiness with a nutty, subtly smoky taste that is the result of the grain, which is harvested when it is young and green, being roasted over an open fire.

This salad showcases freekeh's delights by pairing it with ingredients typical of its Middle Eastern roots.

Freekeh South Africa has more info about the grain and a list of suppliers countrywide.

Freekeh Salad With Raspberries. Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post.

Recipe: Freekeh salad with raspberries

6 servings (makes a generous 6 cups)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked freekeh
  • Water, for the freekeh
  • 1/2 cup shelled, roasted unsalted pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup/half of a container raspberries, each berry cut in half 
Method
  1. Cook the freekeh according to the package directions (your package might suggest using 5 cups of water; we thought 3 cups were sufficient). 
  2. Drain and cool completely.
  3. If your pistachios aren't already roasted, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. 
  4. Cool completely, then coarsely chop and place in a mixing bowl.
  5. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a liquid measuring cup, to form an emulsified dressing.
  6. Add the freekeh, parsley, mint, celery, scallion and the dressing to the bowl with the pistachios; toss to coat evenly, then add the raspberries and toss gently to incorporate just before serving. (If they are quite ripe and soft, they may break down a bit; that's okay.)
Adapted from food nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.