Freekeh and crabmeat salad

August 4, 2011  •  Category:


Roasted green wheat is a whole grain, with superior nutritional qualities (iron, protein, calcium, minerals galore) and a chewiness and smokey flavor unlike anything you will ever taste. It is available at all Middle-Eastern stores and online. It is also produced in the US and Australia. It is called freekeh and is an ancient food in the Near-East.

One day, the western world will discover this grain and it will be sold everywhere. For now, though, it is still virtually unknown.

One word of caution: Wash it well and watch for bits of stones and debris. It is still prepared in an artisanal fashion, with some brands better than others. Look for plump and clean-looking grains, if possible.

This is wheat that has been smoked and harvested early.

It lends itself to all kinds of dishes; traditionally in the Levant, it is prepared with chicken or lamb shanks and as a soup.

It is terrific as a salad; you can feed it to a carnivore and he or she will feel totally satiated. It is a rustic and hearty grain.

INGREDIENTS: 4 servings

  • 1 cup of freekeh or roasted green wheat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 can of crabmeat, drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
  • 4 large tomatoes, dunked in boiling water for 30 seconds and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley and cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper or paprika
  • 1/4 cup of olives, chopped


  1. Place the green wheat in a bowl and run some cold tap water on it to cover; let it sit and drain, looking for small rocks or debris to discard. Do this a couple times to be on the safe side.
  2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and fry the chopped onions till light golden, about 15 minutes. Add the drained green wheat and stir a bit to coat the grains in olive oil. Add 1 1/2 cup of water and cover the pan. Keep it on medium heat for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender but still firm. If too tough, add 1/2 cup of water and cook a bit longer. Cool.
  3. Drop the tomatoes in a few cups of boiling water to loosen their skins and peel them. Cut the top part off and remove the flesh and seeds with a grapefruit spoon. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. Set aside.
  4. Place the green wheat mixture in a bowl; add the minced herbs, garlic, flesh from the tomatoes (diced), crabmeat and season with the juice of a lemon and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add some paprika and taste to adjust seasoning. Transfer the salad to the tomatoes and cover with the tomato tops. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Keep any leftover salad in a bowl, covered.

NOTE: You can substitute wheat berries for the roasted green wheat, however, add more water (2 to 1 volume) and cook the berries longer.


13 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Lyndsey says:

    It looks wonderful, I really want to try it. I love coming here to your blog to see all the interesting things you make! I just wish I could visit you and try it first hand! 😀

  2. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    This looks fanastic – healthy wole grains and indulgent crab – perfect! Healthy and a treat at the same time!

  3. Jamie says:

    Roasted green wheat looks almost like a green version of what they sell in France under the name Ebly blé. Love the chewiness. And anything with crabmeat. Anything. Now I know what I can make for lunch.

  4. Sutapa says:

    This is healthy, packed with nutrition and very delicious, like the way you presented !

  5. Jumanah says:

    What a great way to make freekeh! I have only made it in the past the traditional way- cooked with ground lamb/meat on top, sprinkled with toasted nuts. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Banana Wonder says:

    I love this! I have never heard of green wheat.. I must find it… always on the lookout for new grains.

  7. Adelina says:

    This sounds soooo good. I love that you are using the pulp with the mix of crabs and herbs. This looks like a nice summer dish.

  8. Nuts about food says:

    I had never heard of green wheat. It sounds super healthy and I like the idea of the smoky flavor.

  9. Margaret says:

    I made this last night….delicious! I’ve also made your freekeh version of mujaddarah many times. Please keep the freekeh recipes coming. BTW, the Middle Eastern store by my house carries Jordanian, Syrian and Lebanese brands. I’m partial to the Lebanese brand.

  10. Vickie H. says:

    Hi Joumana – a question. We are interested in trying freekeh and notice that some stores carry both the whole and cracked versions. Do you prefer one over the other – and what are the differences in the way they are used? Thanks so much!

    • Joumana says:

      @Vickie: I have noticed a wide range in quality from the freekeh available commercially; honestly, the best one is the one I brought back with me from Beirut, bought at Souk el-Tayeb from a local grower. I would buy the whole one, as it is easier to clean and detect some rocks etc when rinsing it. The time to cook should be about the same, if it is still not soft enough, simply add a little more broth and cook a few minutes longer.

  11. Vickie H. says:

    Thank you, Joumana – I’ll check with my local Lebanese grocer and see if he can hook me up with the good stuff. Have a great weekend! =)

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