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Freekeh with chicken is an easy weeknight meal that is such a delicious, hearty and healthy family dinner. This Lebanese dish is packed full of flavor, high in protein from the chicken and made with whole grain freekeh – it’s perfect for serving a crowd.
If you are looking for a dish that will add some variety to your weekly meal rotation, this Lebanese freekeh with chicken could be just what you are looking for! So flavorful and so easy to make!
What is freekeh?
Freekeh (also called frikeh or farik) is a grain made from green durum wheat that is roasted and then rubbed to create its flavor. Loaded with protein and fiber, this ancient grain is simple to cook and is a great substitute for rice in dishes.
How to make freekeh with chicken
- Cook the onions with some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan until they become lightly brown.
- Add the soaked freekeh to the onions with some water and cook until the water has evaporated.
- Fluff the freekeh with a fork, remove from the pan and set to one side.
- In the same pan, cook the chicken (or you can cook it in a different pan to save time) until it’s golden and cooked through.
The freekeh is cooked when the grains are tender and chewy. This time may vary, so double check the package instructions for any variance. Then you can place the cooked chicken over the freekeh and serve to the table garnished with parsley and toasted nuts.
Tips for making freekeh with chicken
- Cook the nuts and chicken in another skillet to save time. For this recipe I cook everything in one skillet starting with the freekeh, then the nuts and finally the chicken. But you can work with 2 or even 3 pans simultaneously to save time.
- Allow 30 minutes to soak your cracked freekeh. This will help to clean the grains and will ensure that your freekeh is properly cooked as the soaking will help it soften and the texture will be just right. You can soak for up to 24 hours even!
- Let the freekeh stand for 5-10 minutes once you’ve cooked it. This allows the grains to soak up any excess water and let them plump and soften further, similar to cooking rice.
Frequently asked questions
Freekeh is now widely available in stores and you will find it in the grain isle with quinoa or teff. You should be able to find it in your local supermarket. Whole Foods and Walmart both sell it.
Freekeh freezes really well and I often make a large batch when I cook it to grab for easy meals in the future. Cook the freekeh as directed and then let it cool completely to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bags and freeze it. I like to freeze the freekeh in portions and place it in bags to save room in the freezer. You can reheat the grains from frozen in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Whole grain freekeh is the whole grain, and cracked freekeh is the whole grain that has been cracked into smaller pieces. Cracked freekeh is more widely available in stores and easier to cook with. Whole grain freekeh will require a longer soaking time.
I know you will just love this freekeh with chicken recipe. If you haven’t tried freekeh yet, I urge you to pick up a bag of it when you next visit the store. It’s a great addition to your families diet and is so easy to prepare.
More Lebanese recipes:
- Lebanese Lentils and Rice
- Crushed Red Lentil Soup
- Chicken Fatteh Recipe
- Bulgur What Pilaf
- Lebanese Rice Pilaf
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Freekeh with Chicken recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Freekeh with Chicken
For the Freekeh
- 2 cups cracked freekeh
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups water
For the Chicken and Nuts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- ½ cup blanched almonds
- 1.5-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon 7 spice or cinnamon
- Chopped parsley for serving
- Pick over freekeh to remove any debris, and rinse in cold water until water looks clear. Soak the freekeh in cold water for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the freekeh over the cooked onions, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the water, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low. Cook until the freekeh is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a couple times.
- Season the chicken on both sides generously with salt and pepper and 7 spice.
- Transfer cooked freekeh to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.
- Wipe the skillet with a paper towel, then heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. Add almonds and fry, stirring, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove almonds and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet on medium heat and transfer the seasoned chicken to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes on one side without touching, then flip over and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through.
- Lay the chicken on top of the cooked freekeh. Top with reserved fried almonds and garnish with parsley.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
Absolutely delicious recipe and so easy to follow! Thank you so much for a great dish that’ll be in our rotation!!
You’re so welcome! Flattered to have made it on to your rotation!
As a diabetic…freekeh is a friendly grain and soooo delicious. I did not have 7 spice, but despite the difference, I added 5 spice instead which turned out very aromatic. With the blanched almonds, there was a pleasant chewiness to the whole dish. Nevertheless, my first attempt turned out a little dry….so I had a kumquat salsa to hand which did the trick. Thank you for this dish….I will definitely do it again!!
Thank you so much. I am so glad you like it, Jonathan! The kumquat salsa sounds so yummy with it too! I do have a quick DIY 7 Spice recipe you can use for next time if you’d like.
This was so good! Freekah is pretty hard to come by here but I’ll definitely make this again any time I find more. Delicious!
Thank you so much! Hope you continue to enjoy!
I made this tonight and loved it!!
That makes me so happy to hear!
so delicious Food
Great recipe, it was delicious, maybe a little bit more salt, but delicious.
Thank you so much! Definitely adjust to your liking!
You have a massive problem. When someone prints the recipe, and they scale it down with the built-in “servings” tools, it does NOT scale down your amount of water. So I’ve added 3 cups of water to just 1 cup of freekeh. Please change this so the amount of water is an ingredient that gets scaled up/down !
Thanks so much! I’ve been doing this to all new recipes but unfortunately there are older recipes like this one that didn’t have water listed in the ingredient so it doesn’t scale. I updated it now. Thank you!
This was fabulous, and so easy for a sophisticated dish. Disliking cinnamon, I used garam masala, which bumped up the complexity. I can’t wait to share it with others.
So glad you tried it and liked it! Thanks so much for sharing!
Cooked this tonight after seeing it on channel 33 this morning…what a letdown…so bland and tasteless. We couldnt eat it. Will stick to Indian.
I’m so sorry to hear that. How would you recommend improving the recipe?
Hi, I’m about to try this recipe but my freekeh that I picked up from a local market had weevils or some other type of bug in it, it was everywhere, had to toss it. i’m in a new area, picked up Bob’s Red Mill FARRO and I’m wondering, how long should I soak this before cooking it and how would you modify this recipe to use FARRO? Would love to make tonight if there’s enough time to soak, although the back of the bag says to soak overnight in the fridge. HELP!
I would recommend soaking farro overnight as well. If you’re in a time crunch, you can soak less time, like 4-8 hours, but then make sure to leave it on the heat longer. Hope you like the recipe!!
This was so easy to make and my family loved it! I couldn’t find pine nuts so I substituted with sliced almonds. I got distracted, cooked the yogurt too long and it got hot and it started to curdle,but it was still amazing. I’ve forwarded this to several friends! Thanks for the recipe! Going to make Grape leaves today.
Yay I’m so glad that you tried it and liked it! Thanks so much for sharing with your friends. I really appreciate it!
Pine nuts? Yogurt? Not this recipe.
What do you mean?
Your Freekeh and chicken recipe does not call for pine nuts or yogurt so maybe you’re getting your response to recipes confused?
Oh, got it! Thank you for helping clarify.