Ancient grains describe grains that have been relatively unadulterated over the millennia. Unlike grains like corn and wheat that have been selectively bred over time. Many ancient grains originate from parts of the Middle East. At the Co-Op we stock two particular ancient grains, maftoul and freekeh. These grains are not dissimilar to the more popular quinoa from South America. They make a great addition to salads, bulking them up and creating a meal in themselves.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium clove garlic

1/2 small eggplant, diced

1 cup maftoul (also called pearl cous cous)

3/4 cup freekeh

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon chilli seeds

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Pinch salt

3 cups of vegetable stock

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

1/4 cup chopped dates

1/4 cup inca berries

1 small zucchini, diced

1/4 bunch coriander

1/4 cup almonds (or I used pistachio nuts in this version, both are good)

Yoghurt (optional)

Za’taar (optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the chopped onion, crushed garlic and diced eggplant, stirring occasionally until all softened (approximately five minutes). Add 1 cup of maftoul until toasted and fragrant (approx. 4 minutes). Add freekeh, cumin, chilli seeds, allspice and a pinch of salt.

Bring to boil in 3 cups of vegetable stock. Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally (approx. 15 minutes). Remove from heat. 

Add 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas. 1/4 cup of chopped dates and 1/4 cup of Inca berries. Allow to stand in pot with lid on for 15 minutes. Add 1 small diced raw zucchini, fresh chopped coriander and nuts. 

Serve either with or without a drizzle of yoghurt and garnish with the flavour of an extra sprinkle of za’taar. 

Serves 4. Eat as a warm salad on its own or with any protein of your choice.

Total cost of this recipe for non-members is $21.60 for 4 people.

For an alternate yummy salad check out this recipe.

This recipe is a creation by Jennifer Sargent from Zing Fresh, using only organic ingredients that are all available at your Co-op. 🙂