Eat & Drink: Freekah with Dates and Nuts

Eat & Drink: Freekah with Dates and Nuts

Try this inspirational recipe, plus the latest culinary news and tips with Food For Thought...

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Freekeh has a nutty and slightly smoky taste and is particularly popular in the eastern Mediterranean region, although it can now be found on restaurant menus from London to New York.

SERVES: 4–6 people as a main dish


For the freekeh:

500g freekeh

25ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons sea salt

100g walnuts

100g pecans

150g Medjool dates

1 celery stalk, with greens

50g flat-leaf parsley

50g coriander

25g mint

1 aci sivri (cayenne) pepper

1 small red onion

500g Greek yoghurt

For the dressing:

40 g (1½ oz) fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves

30 ml date syrup, maple syrup or molasses

25ml lemon juice, plus extra to taste

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

125ml olive oil


  1. Place freekeh in a bowl, cover with cold water and stir well with a spoon. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Then strain the freekeh through a sieve.
  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add the cumin and sauté. Add the freekeh and sauté briefly as well. Add 750 ml (26 fl oz) of water and the salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the freekeh is cooked but still al dente and the water has completely evaporated, around 15–20 minutes. Then leave to cool.
  3. Coarsely chop walnuts and pecans; pit and finely dice the dates. Finely dice the celery and chop the celery greens.
  4. Pluck the herb leaves from the stems and finely chop. Deseed the sivri pepper and slice into thin
    strips. Peel the onion and finely dice. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the salad except
    the yoghurt.
  5. For the dressing, peel the ginger and garlic and chop very finely or grate.
  6. Whisk together all ingredients except the oil. Pour in the oil slowly in a thin stream and whisk the dressing until it is thick. Pour over the salad and toss well. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.

To serve, spread the yoghurt on the plates, arrange the freekeh salad on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Extracted from Tel Aviv: Food. People. Stories. A Culinary Journey with NENI by Haya Molcho. Published by Murdoch Books, priced £25.


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