Freekeh pilaf

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2 medium onions, thinly sliced
25g butter
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
150g freekeh (or bulghar wheat)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
270ml good-quality reduced vegetable stock
100g Greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
10g parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
10g mint, finely chopped
10g coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and roughly broken
salt and black pepper

Today, freekeh is produced and sold commercially, whole or cracked, we use it for making pilaffs, in salads and for serving with lamb or chicken. It’s earthy flavour and slightly coarse texture go particularly well with sweet spices. Read more here

Serves 2–4


Place the onions, butter and olive oil in a large heavy-based pot and sauté on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15–20 minutes. or until the onion is soft and brown.
Meanwhile, soak the freekeh in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Drain well.
Add the freekeh and spices to the onions, followed by the stock and some salt and pepper. Stir well. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to a bare minimum and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for 5 minutes. Finally, remove the lid and leave to pilaf to cool down a little, about another 5 minutes.
While you wait, mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice, garlic and some salt.
Stir the herbs into the warm (not hot) pilaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon onto serving dishes and top each portion with a generous dollop of yoghurt. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley and finish with a trickle of olive oil.

(Plenty, p. 241)

Perfect with

  1. Pine nuts

    These elegant and longer-than-usual nuts are for sprinkling and showcasing

    Pine nuts


{based on 6 reviews}

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  • Recipes Delish
    (04/05/2015) I made this to go with Chermoula Pulled pork and it was yummy, will make again.
  • Recipes so fresh!
    (24/01/2014) i made this using bulgarwheat instead of freekeh and it was still delicious and the textures where lovely. the fresh herbs and spices work well to compliment fish as a main course, or it's lovely as a light lunch - it works with feta crumbled over it too, if you don't have any yoghurt.
  • Recipes Deliciously different
    (14/01/2014) Cooked this yesterday together with the chicken, olive and date recipe. Lovely dish which could be enjoyed warm or cold. If I wanted to cook for 8 people do I simply double all the ingredients and water but use same cooking time?
  • Recipes What a fantastic grain!
    (18/12/2013) I served this with the pork loin - also on this website - and it went down a treat. I left out the yoghurt from this recipe as I thought it would make it all a bit rich. The (very scanty) leftovers were delicious cold the next day. One box of the Moon Valley freekah (I bought it from the Ottolenghi website) was perfect for six as a side dish.
  • Recipes Perfect Summer Lunch
    (09/10/2013) I was thouroughly satisfied with this main course salad. I tend to cross my fingers as I add sweet spices to savory dishes, when it goes badly they lend a discordant christmas taste. But I trusted to Ottolenghi and added the full amount and at the first bite my fears were quite allayed. I enjoyed this for lunch several days running.
  • Recipes Very tasty indeed
    (07/08/2013) I had tasted freekeh in salads and enjoyed it but was really hesitant when I bought it and saw it uncooked. I followed this recipe carefully and was having it with rack of lamb and the tomato and pomegranate salad on this site. I was still a bit hesitant once it was cooked based on how it looked but it tasted nice. Once it had the yoghurt dressing on top though it really was transformed. Very delicious and I will be making this again. It does need the yoghurt dressing so don't leave it out!