Incredibly chewy, meaty and healthy, these freekeh burgers are the ultimate plant based treat for your summer outdoor barbecues.
A fantastic healthy alternative to soy for those that are intolerant or that just want to reduce their soy intake.
But let’s briefly see what is freekeh and how to use it in our dishes.
What is Freekeh?
Freekeh (or farik) is a cereal food made from green durum wheat that is roasted and rubbed to create its flavour. It is an ancient dish derived from Levantine and North African remaining popular in many countries of the eastern Mediterranean Basin where durum wheat originated.
The wheat is harvested while the grains are green and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn. Under these conditions, the high moisture content of the seeds prevents them from burning. The roasted wheat is then threshed and sun-dried to achieve a uniform flavour, texture and colour. This threshing or rubbing process of the grains gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed”. Finally, the seeds are cracked into smaller pieces that resemble green bulgur.
Health Benefits of Freekeh
Introducing Freekeh into your diet has plenty of health benefits.
First worth mentioning is indeed its protein content: as much as 14g per 100g, which translates into around 20% of our daily need, and that, my friends is quite impressive!
It is also rich in minerals, such as manganese (143%), phosphorus (75%), zinc (44%), magnesium (41%) and iron (27%), as well as group B vitamins and plenty of dietary fiber.
Where to buy Freekeh and how to cook it
You can easily find freekeh in middle eastern shops and most off-licences (in the UK), although nowadays this grain is largely available also in both health food shops and large supermarket chains.
Cooking time may depend on the type of freekeh you buy.
There are, in fact, two main types of freekeh you can find in the shops and these are whole grain VS cracked. As you can imagine whole grains will take longer time than those that are cracked. It is always best to check the cooking instruction on your pack as time can vary from as little as 15 minutes (for small grains) to even 1 hour (whole grains).
Overall cooking freekeh is as simple as cooking other grains like quinoa: you only need to add the needed quantity of the grain to a pan and double its weight of water. So if we’re making 100 grams of freekeh we have to add 200 grams of water; for 1 cup of freekeh we will need 2 cups of water, and so on.
You can also add some salt or other spices, but I personally find freekeh flavour so fragrant and packed by itself that I don’t need to add any salt whatsoever.
Once you weight both the freekeh and the water, you just need to bring it to a boil and simmer for the suggested time.
Normally you would find freekeh that is already toasted, although some shops (very rare) may have non-roasted one. Toasted freekeh has a deeper and interesting flavour, whereas non-roasted one is more bland and it resembles the taste of the pearl barley. You can definitely play around and experiment which taste you like the most, especially if you can find the non-roasted one; you can roast it yourself before boiling it to bring out all the natural flavours or boil it like that. It’s completely up to you.
After this small introduction on freekeh we can finally start talking about these super healthy and delicious burgers, shall we?
How to make these Ultimate Freekeh Burgers
All we need to replicate these mouthwatering freekeh burgers is:
– Freekeh, of course. If it’s very hard for you to find (make sure to also check online shops if you’re interested in trying freekeh) you can substitute it with pearl barley.
– Beetroot. Super healthy addition that will add a bright purple colour to our patties.
– Onions & Garlic. Caramelized and blended for another layer of flavour.
– Coconut Oil – This will give our patties the perfect amount of fat and moisture. If you’re oil-free keep in mind that your burgers will be on the dry side.
– Rolled Oat – added both for texture and as a thickening agent. We are, in fact, going to keep a part whole for the texture and the remaining part of the oats will be blended to help absorb the moisture and act as a binding agent.
– Agave Syrup – it gives more character, helps with the caramelization and gives a nuttier flavour. It won’t make the burgers taste sweet though, so don’t you worry!
– Spices – to help pack our gorgeous burgers with extra flavour.
First up is cooking our freekeh. As mentioned before cooking time depends on the nature of the freekeh, so make sure you follow the instructions on the packet.
Next we have to caramelize the onion and the garlic. We simply need to chop (finely or roughly, it doesn’t matter as it will all be blended) our onion and crash the garlic, and sauté with a kiss of oil and a pinch of salt in a pan on high heat until translucent and slightly charred.
In a blender bowl add 200 grams of cooked freekeh, the beets, the caramelized onion&garlic and the coconut oil, then blend into a paste-like texture.
Transfer to a bowl and combine the remaining cooked freeked (100g), the rolled oat (both ground and whole), the spices, the syrup, and the nutritional yeast, and mix very well.
Cover with a cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the mixture into four, then shape the burgers and cook in a hot pan with a bit of vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Serve as you please with simply a side salad or in a soft burger bun with your favourite veggies and sauces.
Feel free to double/triple up the doses and freeze the patties to be cooked later on.
Ultimate Vegan Freekeh Burgers Recipe
300 g Cooked Freekeh (120g uncooked)
70 g Beetroot (2 small)
50 g Rolled Oats
25 g Coconut Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
1 + 1/2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tbsp Agave Syrup
1/2 tsp Chicken Seasoning (Vegan)
1/3 tsp Nutmeg
1. Cook the freekeh according to the instructions on the packet.
2. Chop the onion and crash the garlic, then sauté in a hot pan with a splash of oil and a pinch of salt until translucent and slightly charred.
3. Blend 200 grams of cooked freekeh, the beetroot, the caramelized onion&garlic and the coconut oil, into a paste.
4. Add the remaining cooked freeked (100g), the rolled oat (half ground, half whole), the spices, the syrup, and the nutritional yeast, and mix very well.
5. Cover with a cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
6. Divide the mixture into four, then shape the burgers and cook in a hot pan with a bit of vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes on each side.
7. Serve as you please with simply a side salad or in a soft burger bun with your favourite veggies and sauces.
Hope you have fun making these delicious vegan freekeh burgers and enjoy eating them 🙂
If you make this recipe don’t forget to leave me a comment on the section below or tag me on Instagram or Facebook (@avegtastefromatoz or #aVegTasteFromAtoZ ).
See you next time!