I recently started experimenting with Freekeh, which is an ancient cracked wheat grain. It is similar to bulgur but I find that it has a richer flavor. Researchers in Australia found that because freekeh is harvested when it’s young, the grain retains more protein, fiber and minerals than regular wheat. Freekeh is also said to have more fiber than brown rice or quinoa. These meatballs are inspired by a recipe on www.freekehlicious.com. You can serve them with spaghetti and homemade or store-bought marinara sauce. I also enjoy them accompanied with a green salad.
- 1 cup cracked freekeh
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup sourdough breadcrumb*
- 1/2 cup Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Combine the freekeh and vegetable stock in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot and let cook for 20 minutes. Let cool. This step is best done ahead of time.
- Combine freekeh and remaining ingredients except for olive oil in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
- Form golf-ball sized meatballs with freekeh mixture and place on baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn meatballs over and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Meatballs should be nicely browned on both sides.
NOTE: You can make your own breadcrumbs by taking some old bread and rubbing it with your fingers so it makes crumbs, and then toasting the crumbs in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. For finer breadcrumbs, use a mortar and pestle or grinder to grind the crumbs.