Freekeh with Pepita-Cilantro Pesto and Grilled Pineapple Skewers

Freekeh with Pepita-Cilantro Pesto and Grilled Pineapple Skewers |

GOOD AND EASY FOOD ALERT! It’s freekeh, it’s from Cookie + Kate, and it’s easy and delicious. I made this one almost as it is on the recipe, except that I didn’t have red onions, so I put yellow ones, and I omitted the crumbled feta cheese. If you do dairy, Kate recommends putting 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese for garnishing.

Freekeh, or farik, is a cereal food made from green durum wheat that is roasted and rubbed, creating its particular flavor. Nutrition wise, compared to quinoa for example, freekeh wins the battle. Freekeh is low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Serving for serving, freekeh has more protein and twice as much fiber as quinoa.

In this recipe, the grilled pineapple brings in summer with a bang, and the pesto gives that freekeh some brightness. It’s really a winning dish and the family LOVED it! Because of unforeseen circumstances, I had prepared my freekeh and my pesto the day before, thinking this was our dinner. But it ended up being served the night after. But what a time saver. I only had to assemble the skewers and grill them, reheat the freekeh and put in the pesto. What a refreshing idea!

Freekeh and Skewers

  • 1 1/4 cup freekeh
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple (1-inch chunks)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch square pieces
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into wedges not wider than the bell pepper pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/3 raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 3!), roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before grilling. I used stainless steel.
  2. Cook the freekeh according to package directions, with 2 3/4 cups water.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Combine the pineapple, bell pepper and onion pieces in a large bowl, drizzle in 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and mix gently until all pieces are covered in oil. Thread the pieces onto the skewers. I had enough for 4 large skewers.
  4. Place skewers on the grill and cook, turning 90 degrees once the underside has nice grill marks, and keep grilling and turning until all sides are nicely charred, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the skewers to a platter when done.
  5. To prepare the pesto, first toast the pepitas in a small skillet until they are fragrant and start making noise, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and sea salt. Process, scraping down the sides, until the herbs are finely chopped. Process again as you drizzle the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is well blended.
  6. Stir the pesto into the cooked freekeh and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into four bowls and serve with the skewers.


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