Bringing together two hot culinary trends—plant-dense eating and Middle Eastern cuisine—these Freekeh and Leek Stuffed Peppers with Onion Oil are a celebration of bulbs in all their glory. Leeks imbue smoky freekeh with earthy sweetness, while the vibrant onion oil is a fanciful finishing touch.
Tip: Super freekeh
Freekeh is an ancient grain that’s harvested while still underripe, then sun-dried and roasted for a smoky flavor and chewy bite. Because it’s gathered in adolescence, freekeh is believed to retain maximum nutritional value. You can find freekeh in any well-stocked natural grocer on the same shelf where other healthy grains like quinoa or teff live—and often in the bulk section.
- 1 Tbsp + 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or sunflower oil divided
- 1 white and light green parts, chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt plus extra
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2/3 cup freekeh
- 1 cup cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) chickpeas
- 1 medium carrot shredded
- 1/3 cup sliced dried apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 2 green onions, green and white parts sliced
- 4 red bell peppers
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt dairy free if desired
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp za'atar spice mixture
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- In medium saucepan, warm 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add leek and 1/4 tsp salt; cook until leek has softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- In small saucepan, place 1 1/2 cups water and freekeh. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until freekeh is tender and water has been absorbed, about 16 minutes. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes, and then fluff with fork. Stir in chickpeas, carrot, apricots, and pistachios.
- Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add green onions and let sizzle just until green parts darken slightly, about 1 minute. Transfer green onion and oil mixture to blender and let cool. Puree with 2 Tbsp water and a couple pinches of salt until as smooth as possible.
- Halve each bell pepper lengthwise, from stem to base, removing white veins and seeds. Place peppers on microwave-safe dish, cut-side up, cover with paper towel, and microwave on High for 5 minutes, or until tender. (Alternatively, preheat oven to 400 F, place peppers on parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until they soften, about 25 minutes.)
- Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, za'atar, and cayenne.
- Stuff bell pepper halves with freekeh mixture and top with dollops of yogurt sauce.
- Drizzle on onion oil and garnish with parsley.
Per serving: 444 calories; 15 g protein; 22 g total fat (2 g sat. fat); 49 g total carbohydrates (16 g sugars, 12 g fiber); 202 mg sodium