Lamb chops with roasted green wheat (freekeh)and tomato sauce

January 18, 2010  •  Category: ,


It is high time to start stocking your kitchen with roasted green wheat or freekeh; it is available at middle-eastern stores, usually in a box, with instructions and recipes on the back. Nutritionally, it packs so much that it is crazy that not more people know about it. This will happen when a Mark Bittman or Martha Stewart talks about it!

Some features of freekeh:

  1. Freekeh is wheat harvested at an early stage when the leaves start to turn yellow; it is left to dry in the sun, then roasted for a few  minutes over an open fire.
  2. Freekeh is greenish-colored and rice-shaped. Its flavor is earthy and smoky.
  3. It is cooked in boiling water or stock at a ratio of 1 part freekeh to 2 parts water, for about 20 minutes.
  4. Freekeh hasway moreprotein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc than mature wheat or brown rice.
  5. It is available ground or whole-grain.
  6. The best freekeh in Lebanon comes from the South.

There is a story about the origin of freekeh. It was discovered around 2300B.C. The attackers of  a mediterranean village  set its green wheat fields  on fire before retreating and to salvage their wheat the villagers rubbed it and discovered that the fire had ripened the wheat and retained its green color; hence the discovery of freekeh.


  • 1 cup of freekeh
  • 8 lamb chops
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, a few tablespoons
  • 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 pound of tomatoes or 1 large can of Italian San Marzano  tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, etc or dried such as ground cumin, allspice, etc
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 to 3 cups of water for the freekeh
  • 1 Tablespoon of veal stock concentrate (optional)


First Step:

  1. Squeeze the juice of a lemon on the chops, sprinkle some spices or fresh herbs if you have them , add a few tablespoons of olive oil. The chops can marinate in this dressing for a day, covered in the fridge.
  2. About 30 minutes before dinner time, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet; dry the chops with a paper towel and pan-fry them for a few minutes on both sides. Remove them from the pan and set them aside.

NOTE: If you bought the green wheat in bulk, make sure you rinse it and clean it well.

  1. Place the green wheat in the same skillet and stir it in order to coat all the grains with the lamb fat and the olive oil.
  2. Add water or broth (adding the veal stock concentrate)  to the green wheat, stir a bit and cover the skillet. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is gone and the wheat is cooked, about 30 minutes.
  3. Serve with the lamb chops accompanied by a dollop of tomato sauce or fresh tomato salsa.

Making the tomato sauce:

  • 1 pound of fresh tomatoes or a large can of San Marzano tomatoes or Pomi
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • salt, white pepper to taste
  1. Heat a skillet add the butter let it melt and add the chopped onion.
  2. Add the tomatoes or the can of tomatoes and seasonings.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Puree in the blender.

Source: From ‘Akkar to ‘ Amel Lebanon Slow Food Trail by Rami Zurayk.

Also, thank you to Dana, from Plano, Texas; Dana, a Lebanese Southerner, knows her freekeh and she gave me the idea of serving it with tomato sauce on the side.


28 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. SE says:

    hey thanks for the info for the freekah…i actually wanted to get some of these !

  2. MaryMoh says:

    I have never seen green wheat. It looks interesting but delicious and healthy. A lovely meal. I would love it.

  3. Asmaa says:

    Un plat bien savoureux

  4. The London Foodie says:

    My gosh, I had never heard of green wheat before, I will make sure to try this recipe to experiment with it. I love trying new ingredients. Thanks for that!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  5. senga50 says:

    Une grande nouveauté pour moi et une belle tentation qui se marie à merveille avec l’agneau… et pour terminer, qqs beignets gourmands !

  6. Rosa says:

    Nice lamb chops! That is an interesting recipe!



  7. lynn says:

    This looks really good! Thanks for sharing and teaching me about an entirely new ingredient. It’s such fun to learn about foods from all over.

  8. rebecca says:

    oh wow I wish there was a Middle Eastern store nr here this dish looks amazing and I adore lamb

  9. Juliana says:

    Yummie, the lamb chops looks delicious…and thank for the info on the freekeh…very interesting 🙂

  10. Léa says:

    J’arrive ici via Tarzile et je découvre. C’est génial, merci! Je vais enfin pouvoir faire de la freekeh! Je vais découvrir tranquillement le reste du blog. Yalla bye!

  11. oum mouncifrayan says:

    waaww, une excellente assiette!! je te piquerai une part!! bisous et merci pour tes passages.

  12. Kirstin says:

    I used to live in Jordan and I practically survived on freekeh! I haven’t had it in years but I’m totally craving it now!

  13. Kate/Kajal says:

    I’m buying me some freekkeh today. Fortunately for me, i have a Lebanese supermarket very close to my place. I love lamb chops, n this is a beautiful recipe. Thanks for showing me something new today !

  14. dana says:

    It is too dangerous checking your blog at work, Joumana, but I simply couldn’t resist. I am off to a meeting now thinking of this yummy Freekeh 😉


  15. sabah says:

    J’ai toujours voulu tester lefrikah, je le vois chez les magasins libanais mais je n’ai jamais su comment le préparer. Merci d’avoir partagé avec nous cette recette.

  16. spice says:

    Looks very delicious…never heard o green wheat before….love lamb….will look for green wheat next time I go to some middle eastern food store…

  17. shayma says:

    i love freekeh and like the way you have paired them with lamb chops. hope youre well, J. x shayma

  18. Jeanne @ Cooksister! says:

    Such an interesting post – I had never heard of this green wheat before. Also, thanks for reminding me that lamb chops are not only for the summer when we can BBQ them 😉

  19. Doria says:

    Tu me fais découvrir des fèves vertes que je ne connaissais.
    Ton plat est très beau !
    Bisous, Doria

  20. Peter says:

    Joumana, if Freekah or any other Lebanese & mid-east ingredient soar – I’ll remember where I first heard of it. Another item to get from Nasr foods!

  21. Sam says:

    I looked all over the country for san marzano tomato can and couldn’t find (Designation of origin or not). Any pointer?

    • Joumana says:

      @Sam: There is a store in Beirut (in Solidère) called La Posta; they should have it and if not they would have canned tomatoes imported from Italy.

  22. Sam says:

    Tkx joumana, I recall going there several months ago. They did carry italian plum tomato except its not grown in the san marzano region on the volcanic soil (the secret of its Yumminess). Next time you find them, stock them in your pantry 😉

  23. Tom says:

    Can anyone tell me where the freekeh wheat is produced ? or can you use any variety of wheat…

    • Joumana says:

      @ Tom: The one I buy is imported from Lebanon; but I found out recently that there are producers in the US; in Australia too I gather. The variety of wheat is specifically roasted (or smoked) and green in color.

  24. Tom says:

    I grow wheat in Australia, the varieties are either “hard” for breads and instant noodles, “soft” for cakes and biscuts, “noodle” for north asian noodles like Udon (japanese) or “durum” for pasta. I’m wondering what quality of wheat is specific for Freekeh, could it be its own variety ? I understand there is a process or technique to value add (roasting) before it is packaged and sold.

    • Joumana says:

      @Tom: It is my understanding that the freekeh came from the hard variety of wheat that was used for bread; it is smoked; when I get a hold of more specifics, I will let you know!

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