Some days call for ditching plain rice and giving something more exciting a try. This Moroccan freekeh pilaf recipe is just the thing you need. Full of warm spices and sweet dried fruit, it will be the perfect side to your meal.
Let’s first talk about the color of this. I feel it needs to be addressed. It’s bright. Almost neon. I’m looking at it on my new BIG iMac screen and it’s kinda screaming at me at 6 AM while I write this. It’s almost making me think I should open it back up to edit and tone it down a bit. But truthfully, it’s pretty bright in real life too, thanks to turmeric.
Turmeric is definitely God’s yellow crayon and has actually become wildly popular lately due to its great health benefits. It gives this Moroccan freekeh pilaf its bright color in addition to lending its flavor. Combined with a rainbow of other spices: warm cinnamon, cumin, ginger, cloves, cardamom, coriander, allspice, and a touch of cayenne, this pilaf is certainly not lacking in flavor.
I use freekeh in this recipe because I love the flavor and texture of it and it is a great source of protein. If you’re not a fan of freekeh or cannot find it in your grocery store, you could make this with quinoa or rice and still produce great results. The only change to the recipe will be that in step two you’ll follow cooking directions for whichever grain you’re using, so cooking time may vary slightly. You’ll also want to adjust the amount of liquid used — check the package of the grain you’re using, the orange juice and broth added together should be the amount of liquid directed on the package.
This Morocan freekeh pilaf could easily be adapted to make a meatless main dish. I would add chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to make it a little more hearty.
Used in this recipe:
I love the layers of warm spices in this Moroccan style recipe, don’t you?
Here’s a few more recipes that you could try:
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup diced dried apricots
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- grated zest of one orange (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 1 cup uncooked cracked freekeh
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, ginger, cloves, cayenne, cardamom, coriander, and allspice; toast until fragrant, stirring, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in oil, raisins, apricots, salt, orange zest, chicken broth, orange juice. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in the freekeh and reduce to simmer (medium-low). Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Keep covered and remove from heat – let stand 5 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork, and fold in chopped mint. Serve warm or cold.
Serving size: 1/2 cup as a side dish.
Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this recipe vegan or vegetarian.
Use low sodium or no salt added broth to reduce sodium content.
You may substitute rice, couscous, or other grains for the freekeh. Follow package directions for cooking time and use a mixture of broth and orange juice that reflects the amount of liquid called for on the package.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 1001mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 6gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g
Husband’s take: I’m honestly not sure if he has ever tried this. I quite often make it and eat it for lunches.
Changes I would make: None are necessary.