Freekah, Tomato & Chickpea Pilaf

By Sabrina Ghayour

Freekah, Tomato & Chickpea Pilaf

Freekah, Tomato & Chickpea Pilaf. The perfect vegetarian comfort food full of fresh flavours.


2 tablespoons cumin seeds

olive oil

4 large onions, 1 diced and 3 halved and very thinly sliced into half-moons

2 tablespoons tomato purée

400g freekeh

50g unsalted butter

400g can chopped tomatoes

400g can chickpeas, drained

400ml chicken or vegetable stock

200ml water

vegetable oil

Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper



150ml Greek yogurt

handful of chopped coriander or parsley


Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the cumin seeds and dry-toast for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan until they release their aroma and begin to brown a little, taking care not to let them burn.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, add the diced onion and fry for 6–8 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato purée and dissolve it into the onion mixture, adding a little more oil if needed, then add the freekeh and butter and stir well until the freekeh is evenly coated in the onion mixture and the butter has melted. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the canned tomatoes and chickpeas and mix well.

Pour in the stock and the water and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20–25 minutes without disturbing the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside, leaving the lid on.

Meanwhile, prepare the fried onions for a garnish. Line a plate with a double layer of kitchen paper. Pour enough vegetable oil into a saucepan to fill it to a depth of 1cm and heat over a high heat. Add the sliced onion and fry for 8–10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy – avoid stirring or they will start to caramelize. Remove the fried onions with a metal slotted spoon and transfer to the paper-lined plate to drain.

Add half the fried onions to the freekeh and, using a fork, gently comb through the freekeh to stir in the onions and fluff up the grains and chickpeas. Arrange the freekeh mixture on a wide, flat platter. Dot with the yogurt and scatter the remaining fried onions and coriander or parsley on top. This is also good drizzled with your favourite chilli sauce.



To make this a vegan recipe, omit the butter, and substitute coconut or soya yogurt for the Greek yogurt.


This is an extract from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, published by Hachette Australia, Hardback RRP $39.99. Photos by Kris Kirkham.



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