Pomegranate season is drawing to a close. I’m trying to make the most of it, sprinkling arils over a bowl of hummus, substituting it for tomatoes in tabbouleh, adding handfuls to bowls of yogurt, and including it in simple grain dishes like this one with freekeh. This is a perfect make ahead sort of lunch that can be prepped the night before and enjoyed over the next few days. Freekeh, a whole grain made from green wheat, has an earthy and nutty taste with a chewy texture. It’s worth picking up if available in your neck of the woods. Freekeh can be found at specialty and Middle Eastern groceries. Here in Portland, I’ve spotted it at three stores with mysteriously similar names – World Foods (love this place!), Whole Foods, and World Market. If freekeh isn’t available in your area, farro, wheat berry, bulgur, and even brown rice would make good substitutes.
Freekeh with Chickpeas and Pomegranates
1 cup freekeh
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, roasted
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pistachios and walnuts)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F. In a small baking dish, coat the broccoli florets lightly in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place it in the oven. Set an alarm for 15 minutes.
Fill water in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Once boiling, add a couple pinches of salt to the water and add the freekeh. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook according to package directions. Set aside once it’s ready.
Once the kitchen timer/alarm goes off, check on the broccoli. If the broccoli has caramelized around the edges, it’s ready. If not, pop it in the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes. Once the broccoli is ready, set it aside and let it cool.
In a medium sized skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, chop an onion. Add the onion to the skillet, and stir frequently while chopping the garlic, prepping the pomegranate, rinsing the chickpeas, chopping the nuts and parsley. Add the garlic to the skillet stir until fragrant, or about 15 seconds. Transfer the onion and garlic mixture to the sauce pan containing the cooked freekeh. Add the broccoli florets, chickpeas, pomegranate arils, nuts, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the sauce pan as well. Mix thoroughly. Turn the heat on medium-low and heat until warm. Season to taste, and add more olive oil, salt, and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side