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. It’s almost making me think I should tone the photos 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. 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.
About this freekeh pilaf:
Try freekeh for this recipe. It is a great source of protein, and you’ll love the slightly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture of this grain. Freekeh is a newly “discovered” ancient grain. It’s wheat that’s harvested while young and green, roasted, and then the chaff is rubbed off.
If you’re not a fan of freekeh or cannot find it in your grocery store, you could make this dish 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. 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.
Make this pilaf your own:
- This Morocan freekeh pilaf could easily be adapted to make a meatless main dish. Add chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to make it a little more hearty.
- Serving meat lovers? Try adding already cooked chicken, ground lamb, ground beef, or turkey.
- Instead of freekeh, substitute quinoa, couscous, or rice.
- Stir in chopped spinach, or other veggies.
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.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.