Squash stuffed with freekeh pilaf

March 14, 2010  •  Category: ,


Roasted green wheat or freekeh is a wheat berry that has been harvested early and smoked in the fields; it used to be the main cereal for the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Syria before the introduction of rice; it is currently experiencing a revival of sorts amongst the foodie crowd in Lebanon because of its amazing nutritional properties.

I like to go roaming in Asian markets near my house and when I saw this beautiful Kabocha squash, I could not pass it up! It is so sweet, so mellow, so wonderful to eat alone with a pat of butter or with a bowl of freekeh.


  • 1 Kabocha squash
  • 1 cup of roasted green wheat or freekeh (can substitute other whole-grain of your choice)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of a cut up peppers (green, red, yellow and orange)
  • 1 lemon
  • Spices: cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, black or white pepper, paprika, to taste.
  • 3 cloves of garlic mashed with a dash of salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 cups of water or broth


  1. Place the squash in a 375F oven for 30 minutes or longer until a knife inserted in its flesh comes out very easily.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the freekeh:
  3. Rinse the green wheat and let it sit in a bowl of water for a few minutes to dust it off and get rid of any tiny stones or particles.  Pour into a strainer.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a big pot and fry the onion and some of the bell peppers for a few minutes; add the freekeh and stir-fry it for a couple of minutes, adding the spices to the mixture.
  5. Add three cups of water and the tomato paste, close the lid, let it simmer for 30 minutes or more until the freekeh is thoroughly cooked and soft.
  6. When the squash is cool enough, cut it in half lengthwise with a serrated knife. Scoop out the seeds and filaments. Place a pat of butter on the surface and swirl it around to cover the cut surface. Place the freekeh mixture, adjust seasoning, and serve.


  • Freekeh is 4 times more nutritious than brown rice.
  • You can add the diced peppers raw after cooking the freekeh.
  • You can squeeze a lemon quarter on your meal.
  • Freekeh needs to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed before using; place in a bowl and cover with water. Rinse and repeat.


42 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. the wicked noodle says:

    This looks absolutely delicious, healthy and it’s gorgeous to boot!

  2. Dinners and Dreams says:

    Delicious presentation and ingredients.


  3. Chef Fresco says:

    Joumana, these look amazing… I’m thinking of these two flavors together, I don’t know why I have not tried it sooner. Great pics too!

  4. The Little Teochew says:

    A beautiful, delicious vegetarian dish! I’d dive into this in an instant!

  5. deana says:

    I first discovered kabocha from the genius pastry chef Pichet Ong in NYC. He steamed it and used it in a brilliant dessert… I have been a fan ever since.. this is a wonderful recipe, and I just saw Freekeh at the store this weekend… thank you!

  6. Arlette says:

    WOw Joumana, this is something I can eat every day………..
    Love all the flavours you used… Great Photos as well.

    When are you going back to Lebanon???..

  7. The Nervous Cook says:

    I absolutely can’t wait to try this — it looks exquisite! Now I’ll have to track down some freekah…

  8. Bonnie says:

    This dish is simply beautiful. I am going to try this one. It looks and sounds delicious.

  9. Sushma Mallya says:

    so beautiful & looks so colourful…

  10. sophia says:

    WHEEEE!!! Kabocha!!! Eeee!! My favorite food EVER!!! I’m so excited to see this humble squahs being featured in your blog! And with freekeh! I got to try it once and loved the chewiness of it. But I can’t find it now, so I suppose wheatberries will have to do!

  11. Rosa says:

    That healthy dish looks so appetizing and beautiful!



  12. Laila says:

    Love this idea … looks really delicious … a definite must try 🙂

  13. MaryMoh says:

    Awesome presentation and looks utterly delicious!

  14. Sophie says:

    Hello Joumana!!

    What a FABULOUS looking dish!! So healthy too!!

    I alqso love the colours in it!!

    That must taste awesome! Oooh,..yes!

  15. Joanne says:

    Stuffed kabocha is the best. It is a dish that never fails to please! I’ve never had freekeh before…have to look into it as a brown rice substitute.

  16. oum mouncifrayan says:

    wawwww!!! un travail de pro! bravo

  17. Natashya says:

    Wild! I have never heard of freekeh before – I will keep an eye out for it.

  18. Mathilde's Cuisine says:

    The recipe looks absolutely delicious. I have always been a huge fan of Lebanese cuisine and funny enough, I went to a Lebanese restaurant in London yesterday. The food is so delicious and tasty. I will try your recipe soon

  19. Aysegul - nysdelight says:

    Joumana – this is on freekeh recipe I must try – I’ve gotten recipes from our customers at the store but each is so different. I enjoy eating recipes with freek but I have not found one that I made that turned outs good.

    I will try this and let you know for sure!

  20. Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) says:

    Mabrouk 3a new layout Joumana! Love it! Love freekeh and what a fantastic recipe!

  21. fimère says:

    jolies photos une belle présentation un plat fabuleux je t”en félicite bravo
    bonne fin de journée

  22. Bria says:

    Love this! It’s easy, healthy, and comforting. What more could you ask for? Stuffed squash are soooo special. I had some amazing ones on my travels. Great job!

  23. Bria says:

    Oops, forgot to add that I, too, love roaming Asian markets. I’d rather do that than hit a shopping mall any day!

  24. Julie says:

    Ca a l’air très bon, et très sain ! J’y planterais bien ma fourchette!
    Gros bisous

  25. Juliana says:

    Kabocha…we love this squash…and I always have it at home…I absolutely love the way that you prepared it…looks delicious…will have to try it 🙂

  26. Ivy says:

    Haven’t heard of freekeh before but sounds very healthy and love your presentation.

  27. Rachana Kothari says:

    Now thats something really delicious and healthy… and I loved your presentation:)

  28. RazorFamilyFarms.com says:

    Oh, how I love the presentation! Gorgeous! Thank you for stopping by my website and bookmarking one of the recipes. I love your website. Off to explore!

  29. Erica says:

    Love the presentation! This is an interesting and delicious dish….:)

  30. Joie de vivre says:

    This is my kind of recipe!

  31. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Sounds really excellent! I’m looking forward to trying roasted green wheat!

  32. TastyTrix says:

    I have had wheat berries, and now I am so curious to know how the freekeh differ in taste? This looks so great!

  33. Faith says:

    I knew freekeh was healthy, but I had no idea it was 4 times more delicious than brown rice! Wow! It looks like the perfect stuffing for kabocha!

  34. Lindsay says:

    This is gorgeous! I’m going to have to try find the green wheat around here! Thank you for the inspiration.

  35. PJ says:

    Lovely presentation!!!!!

  36. marla says:

    Now this is a full & complete meal that I would love!! The spices you use sound fabulous, especially the cinnamon. xo

  37. domi says:

    Une recette originale et bien dans sa saison estivale….

  38. Lee says:

    I can’t wait to make this tomorrow night with some galeux d’eysines squash we have!

Add a Comment