I strongly debated whether or not to include the ingredient ‘freekeh’ in the title of this post. It’s not exactly a mainstream ingredient, and I’m embarrassed to say that I actually just learned how to pronounce it, let alone cook with it! I decided to throw caution to the wind and throw it in there. What a rebel.
Quinoa has been centre stage for a couple of years now as a ‘superfood’, and rightfully so. It’s a nutrition powerhouse. So my attention was peaked when I heard that freekeh (pronounced ‘freek-hey) is actually superior nutrition-wise compared with quinoa, and is set to be the next super-grain. Because it’s harvested when it’s young, the grain retains more protein, fiber and minerals than mature wheat. It’s even a source of beneficial prebiotics (the healthy food for the good bacteria in our guts) and is low on the glycemic index which can help control blood sugars and assist with weight loss.
While new to our North American culture, freekeh is made from durum wheat and is an ancient grain that’s been a part of Middle Eastern diets since Biblical times. I have been meaning to try it for ages, and was reminded of this during my last shopping trip to Nature’s Fare (they always have those unique ingredients I’m searching for). I loved the idea of incorporating it into a recipe, and decided to put it into a veggie burger, thinking that the texture may work well. My hunch was right. These were a hit, even with my meat-loving husband!
Note: freekeh is NOT gluten-free. So it appears that quinoa still has it’s competitive advantage. Whew, says quinoa!
All that being said, you can substitute brown rice for the freekeh if you wish. As I mentioned, I found freekeh at Nature’s Fare Market in Kelowna to save you the headache of trying to hunt it down if you live in the area. They now have a new location in White Rock which is fabulous news for those living on the Coast! If you haven’t shopped there, go check it out. They pay special attention to the products they bring into the store and source ethical, healthy, wholesome and sustainable foods.
Makes 8-10 burger patties
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 portabello mushroom caps, gills removed*
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 large (or 2 small) clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 c. finely chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 c. cooked and cooled freekeh (1/2 c. uncooked, cooked according to package directions)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 c. bread crumbs (I used panko)
- 1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- Pepper to taste
- 2-4 Tbsp. vegetable oil (for cooking the burgers)
- Chop the mushrooms into fine pieces. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Turn to medium-low heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid has cooked out. Add the parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
- In a large bowl combine the mushroom mixture with the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.
- Form into patties and heat 2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan. Cook the burgers in batches (don’t crowd the pan) until each burger is golden brown on one side and flip. Repeat with the remaining burgers and serve on a bun (or between lettuce leafs) with your favourite burger toppings!