Whole Grain Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus #Unprocessed

Several weeks ago I spent the entire week snuggled in to bed with a sick child and two dozen of his favorite stuffed animals. No amount of coaxing could get him to move from my lap, so I gave in and took the week off from writing. On the first day I caught up on reading some of my favorite blogs while he slept, but eventually boredom set in. I'm not the type of person who can sit still for long and little man only woke up when I the thought crossed my mind that I may want to get out of bed at some point. A distraction was in order, so I started entering some of the great giveaways my fellow food bloggers had going on that week. I ended up winning a lovely cake stand from Clayton Family Kitchen and a bag of freekeh, a type of roasted green wheat, from Lisa Living Well.

The giveaway Gods were definitely smiling on me that week.

The timing couldn't have been better; one of my goals for October #Unprocessed has been to continue my education on alternative grains. Freekeh is new to me, but it looks very similar to other grains I've played with recently like einkorn, kamut, and farro. The flavor is a little nutty, almost like wild rice. It apparently tastes enough like wild rice that my husband assumed I'd run out of arborio, the traditional short-grain rice used in risotto, and switched things up so we could still have my favorite dinner.

It's never been easy to switch out my husband's favorite ingredients for something a little more healthy, but freekeh tastes enough like something he's already familiar with that it went unnoticed until I said something. In fact, he made me go get the package just to prove I wasn't messing with him when I said his risotto was made with roasted green wheat. It almost reminded me of the time I told him I was pregnant and he didn't believe me. He won't ever live that one down (but in his defense the doctor did say it was unlikely I'd ever be able to have children.)

So much has changed in our lives since that day nearly five years ago. We've made a lot of progress on living a healthier lifestyle and both my guys are fans of freekeh, the grain I'm still not sure how to pronounce. If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought we'd be enjoying a meal meal like this I would have laughed and said probably not, then picked up the phone to order a pizza (our traditional don't want to cook tonight meal.) Boy how times have changed!

Whole Grain Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus - a quick and healthy weeknight meal  | Not Starving Yet

Whole Grain Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus
makes 2 - 3 servings


2 cups cold water
1 cup dry freekeh
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thin
1 cup asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 - 3 Tablespoons whipping cream
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmesan cheese


  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil before adding dry freekeh. Turn the temperature down to low, cover the saucepan, and allow the freekeh to cook until most of the water has been absorbed, or approximately 20 minutes.
  • In a skillet melt salted butter, add garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus. Cook until the onions are translucent and the asparagus has softened. This should take approximately 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Combine the sautéed veggies and freekeh. Add whipping cream, salt and pepper (to taste), then top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


When it comes to salt everyone has different tastes, so I've left the decision on how much to add in your hands. I find that I use roughly ¼ teaspoon of sea salt per cup of freekeh, but you may want to add half that amount, taste, and add more as necessary. 

Having trouble tracking down freekeh? Visit the Freekeh Foods website to find which stores near you stock it.