Freekeh with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Grilled Pineapple Skewers Recipe

How To Make Freekeh with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Grilled Pineapple Skewers

If you haven’t had a taste of Arabian cuisine, these freekeh skewers are for you. Be amazed by the explosion of flavors brought by a simple wheat dish.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes



  • cupsfreekeh
  • 2cupsfresh pineapplecubed, about 1 small pineapple, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 1cupred bell pepperseeded and sliced into about 1-inch square pieces
  • ½cupred onionboth ends chopped off and then sliced into wedges no wider than the bell pepper pieces
  • 2tbspextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tspsalt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½feta cheesecrumbled, for garnishing (omit for vegan/dairy free meal) optional but recommended
  • cupraw pepitasgreen pumpkin seeds
  • ½cupfresh basilpacked
  • ½cupfresh cilantropacked or more basil
  • 2garlic clovesroughly chopped
  • 1tbspfresh lime juice
  • ½tspfine-grain sea salt
  • cupextra virgin olive oil


  1. If you’ll be using wooden skewers, soak 8 skewers in water for 20 minutes prior to grilling. I used these stainless steel skewers instead.

  2. In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, bring 2 3/4 cups water to boil. Add the freekeh, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.

  3. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the water is mostly absorbed about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let the freekeh rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

  4. Preheat your grill to medium heat. Combine the prepared pineapple, bell pepper, and onion in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  5. Toss until the pieces are lightly coated in oil, then thread them onto your skewers, alternating as you go. You should have enough for 8 skewers.

  6. Place each skewer on the grill. Cook, turning 90 degrees once the underside has developed good grill lines until marked and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the skewers to a cooked platter once they are done.

  7. To prepare the pesto, first toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium-low heat until they are fragrant and making little popping noises, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  8. Transfer them to the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Add the basil and cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Put on the lid and process until the herbs are finely chopped, then scrape down the sides.

  9. Process again as you drizzle in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is well blended.

  10. Stir the pesto into the cooked freekeh and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the freekeh into 4 bowls and top with crumbled feta, if you like. Serve with 2 skewers each.


  • Calories: 500.80kcal
  • Fat: 31.20g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.93g
  • Trans Fat: 0.00g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 19.87g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.90g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.06g
  • Fiber: 8.68g
  • Sugar: 11.10g
  • Protein: 10.16g
  • Cholesterol: 3.15mg
  • Sodium: 540.80mg
  • Calcium: 68.83mg
  • Potassium: 494.56mg
  • Iron: 2.69mg
  • Vitamin A: 80.28µg
  • Vitamin C: 91.36mg
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