Trends: 3 ways with Ancient Grains


Ancient grains are now actually throughly modern. They should be called Renaissance grains.

Millet, Quinoa, Freekah, Teff, Sorghum and Farro, have all been around for hundreds of years, and for many are recognizable as traditional staple foods.

With the  spotlight on  potentially harmful and heavily processed foods, consumers are yearning for simpler times. Informed consumers, such as ourselves *wink* are now turning towards foods that have not  been hybridized or genetically modified.
say NO to GMO people, say NO>
This is bringing awareness to a number of these
 traditional ingredients.  Ancient grains fit in perfectly with this movement, and are now trending among these healthy foodies, and those wanting to eat both sustainably and organically. 

The rising concern over wheat, and gluten based food intolerances has also lead to renewed in interests in these foods, and they are almost mainstream now appearing on restaurant and even fast food menus. When I first started researching ancient grains, over a year ago I could only order Freekah and Farro online from a health food store. Now, a year later they are stocked at my local supermarket,( which is not even particularly trendy.) 

I hope you will give these recipes a try and let me know what you think. Do you cook regularly with any of the above mentioned grains, or are they new to you?

Drop me a comment below, I would love to now.

Until next time.




Firstly, what is Freekah?

Pronounced  free-kuh or free-kah  ( … isn’t it such a cool name))

“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 cuisines, remaining popular in many countries of the eastern Mediterranean Basin where durum wheat originated. Wikipedia” 

How to use Freekah ?

Freekeh works well in a variety of dishes – it’s delicious in casseroles, soups, pilafs and salads like my basic salad bowl below, which you can basically add anything to.  You can also try it for breakfast as a hot cereal or as a parfait that’s layered with yogurt and fruit in the same way you might eat granola or oats.

Besides using it in recipes specifically developed for freekeh, you can also try subbing it in for rice, quinoa, farro, and other hearty grains.

Types of Freekah, Whole & Cracked 

Freekeh is sold as “whole” or “whole grain” and as “cracked.”  Basically,as the names suggest,  “cracked” freekeh has just been broken into smaller pieces, where as the whole is the unbroken grains. Cracked freekeh cooks a lot  faster. and also gives it a slightly different texture to the whole grain.

If you’re have a selection of more type of freekah, choose whichever best fits the texture you’d like to achieve in your recipe.

In the recipe above I used whole grain freekah.

How to cook Freekah

Freekah cooks much the same way as quinoa and other grains. Basically, you combine the freekeh with water (and sometimes a bit of optional salt) in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then cover it and allow it to simmer. However I do recommend following the instructions on the packet for quantity of water and cooking times, because it will obviously depend on the type of freekah you are cooking.


I cooked the Freekah according to instructions on the packet, and when cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water.

I used a combination of whole & cracked Freekah, but did not cook them together.

Toss with ross butternut, chopped kale, and top with a boiled egg, and garnish with pumpkin seeds for extra crunch.

To serve drizzle with Extra Virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon 



Millet is another whole grain, it is gluten free, and a great substitute for couscous.
It cooks easily in much the same way as the other whole grains, and I recommend following the instructions on the packet.

For The Recipe:

Serves 2 

2 cups cooked Millet

2 cups Assorted green veggies, mange tout, snap peas, asparagus tips, and petit pots, all blanched 

10 green olives 

2 tablespoons capers

big handful flat leaf parsley chopped.

For the dressing 

juice and zest of 1 lemon

100ml olive oil

50ml tahini 

To make the salad, toss all the ingredients together.

To make the dressing whisk the 3 dressing ingredients together

To serve, garnish with fresh sprouts and more chopped herbs and drizzle with the dressing.


I saved the best for last, Farro is my favorite whole grain, and this salad is absolutely delicious! 

Farro is an ancient grain, but it is derived from wheat so it is not gluten free. It is shaped like rice ( i think it looks a lot like pearl barley, just darker in colour)  It  has a nutty flavour and a chewy texture once cooked. It is easy to prepare and goes well with a variety of meals, like soups, salads, side dishes and stews.

To make the salad above i simple cooked the Farro according to instructions on the packet, drained and rinsed. 

I placed the faro in a salad bowl with micro herbs, blanched broccoli, sprouts, and avocado.

I served with a simple pesto dressing. Easy right ? 


Recipes and Styling: Taryne Jakobi

Photography: Nicole Louw.

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