About a month ago I bought a vegan magazine in Stockmann Herkku. I don’t normally buy cooking magazines but this one looked interesting. In the magazine, there was a vegetable paella with basmati rice and lots of veggies. I decided to change the recipe a little and use freekeh instead of basmati rice. It turned out to be a delicious dish with a rich taste coming from all the different ingredients.
A few months ago I published another freekeh pilaf recipe with onions and some spices. It was delicious too but it was simpler compared to this one. In that one I liked to focus on freekeh’s own taste more so I didn’t mess around with too many different ingredients. It was my first freekeh dish and I wanted to understand its own taste.
This recipe, though, uses many different ingredients and there’s a bit of taste of this and that. Altogether, they create a delicious, healthy and very filling dish – one portion was more than enough for me on a lunch all by itself.
You can find freekeh in ethnic stores like Hauler in Kaisaniemi or Alanya Oriental Market in Itäkeskus. I haven’t yet seen it in other stores, but it may come soon to big ones like K-market in Kamppi. If you cannot find it at all, then you may try to use bulgur or just go with white rice. However, freekeh by its own has a different, smoked taste so when you replace it with something else, then you won’t get that specific taste and it will be something significantly different, be aware.
I hope you can find freekeh and cook not only this dish but more as it is a really tasty addition in the kitchen! Enjoy!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (Easy)
Printable PDF-recipe (no photos)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, mashed
200 gr. freekeh, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes and then drained well
5 dl. (or 2 cups + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) water in room temperature (you can use vegetable broth if you have)
30 gr. sliced almonds
1 tbsp tomato paste
100 gr. tomato puree
200 gr. mushrooms, sliced (I used canned mushrooms)
250 gr. artichoke hearts, canned in brine, cut in 4-6 pieces
20 gr. capers
50 gr. green olives
200 gr. white asparagus in jar, each cut in 3-4 pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pan, warm olive oil in medium high heat for about half a minute, then add onions and sauté them until they start to get translucent.
2. Add garlic and continue to sauté until the onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.
3. Add freekeh and water, stir a little and let it cook until almost all the water is absorbed.
4. In the meantime, in a small pan, roast sliced almonds. Be careful, the sliced almonds may burn quickly so do not disappear while they are roasting.
5. When almost all water is absorbed and freekeh looks cooked, turn down the heat to medium, add tomato paste and tomato puree and stir.
6. Add mushrooms and artichokes and let them cook together while stirring gently, for about 3 minutes.
7. Add capers, green olives and roasted almonds and continue cooking for 3 more minutes while stirring gently every once in a while.
8. Add white asparagus and continue cooking for 2 more minutes, by stirring very gently, trying not to destroy gentle asparagus.
9. When the mixture cooks enough, season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Since we use jarred vegetables, it does not take them to cook long. It is also nicer to leave them not overcooked – for example the green olives should remain quite firm. Serve your pilaf warm and fresh. If you have some more roasted sliced almonds left, you may want to spread them on top before serving. Enjoy!