In an attempt to explore more dishes with quinoa and other whole grains, I stumbled upon the ancient food known as freekeh.

Freekeh (pronounced "free-kah," and also known as greenwheat) is an Arab grain made of young green durum wheat that's harvested when the seeds are still immature and therefore soft and moist. They're then sun-dried, roasted, polished, and cracked. The result? A smoky-flavored wheat that's high in fiber, protein, and vitamins, but low in gluten.

Despite its silly-sounding name, freekeh can pull some serious weight around the kitchen, replacing everything from rice to couscous to even pasta. Drop the grain into soups and stews for added heft; toss into a salad as a contrast to leafy greens.

In the morning, serve it with a bit of milk, fruit, and dessert spices for a nice hot cereal, or use it in place of couscous to stuff oven-roasted tomatoes and peppers. If you're craving something a bit richer, consider it as a replacement to arborio or carnaroli rice in an Italian risotto. Have you ever eaten freekeh?

Source: Flickr User jules:stonesoup