Freekeh with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Grilled Pineapple Skewers
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Entree
Warm freekeh tossed with bold basil-cilantro pesto, served with grilled pineapple and bell pepper skewers. This simple dish is full of flavor and so good for you! If you can’t find freekeh, cook another whole grain (like farro or quinoa) to package directions, then toss with the pesto. Recipe yields 4 servings.
Freekeh and skewers
- 1 1/4 cups freekeh
- 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple (about 1 small pineapple, sliced into 1-inch chunks)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into about 1-inch square pieces
- 1 small red onion, both ends chopped off and then sliced into wedges no wider than the bell pepper pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Optional but recommended: 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, for garnishing (omit for vegan/dairy free meal)
- 1/3 cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro (or more basil)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime, juiced)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- If you’ll be using wooden skewers, soak 8 skewers in water for 20 minutes prior to grilling. I used these stainless steel skewers instead.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, bring 2 3/4 cups water to boil. Add the freekeh, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the water is mostly absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let the freekeh rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Preheat your grill to medium heat. Combine the prepared pineapple, bell pepper and onion in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until the pieces are lightly coated in oil, then thread them onto your skewers, alternating as you go. You should have enough for 8 skewers.
- Place each skewer on the grill. Cook, turning 90 degrees once the underside has developed good grill lines, until marked and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the skewers to a cooked platter once they’re done.
- To prepare the pesto, first toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium low-heat until they are fragrant and making little popping noises, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer them to the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Add the basil and cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt. Put on the lid and process until the herbs are finely chopped, then scrape down the sides. Process again as you drizzle in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is well blended.
- Stir the pesto into the cooked freekeh and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the freekeh into 4 bowls and top with crumbled feta, if you’d like. Serve with 2 skewers each.
Pesto adapted from my cilantro-pepita pesto.
Make it gluten free: Substitute quinoa for the freekeh (you’ll need to use twice as much water as quinoa and adjust the cooking time, see directions here.)