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Asparagus Pancetta Freekeh

Asparagus Freekeh Recipe

I would hazard a guess that Spring is the most anticipated of all the seasons. It signals the end of the cold, fresh bursts of life as new leaves burst forth from bare branches and color and fragrance as the trees blossom. The light begins to dim slower at the end of the day and there seems to be a renewed energy and enthusiasm all around as everyone embraces the promise of warmth, days at the beach, no coats and no shoes, lighter food, warm weather produce and eating and entertaining outdoors. I eagerly anticipate Spring as the signal to get outdoors again and back into my vegetable garden.

Spring also means the addition of new seasonal produce to our family meal table and nothing says Spring more than asparagus. I admit I am not a huge fan but I love seeing those straight, neat little bundles of spears at my  local grocer.  The fact that there was new seasonal food to choose from when planning meals for the week was all it took for me to add some to my basket this week. Also Mr Fresh does love it so that did maybe tip me into purchase mode.

Food has been low on my priority list lately – you may have noticed the reduced number of recipes I have been posting? That is because I have been working on finalising the Kitchen Garden Box – my first physical product. It was launched last week has had such positive feedback and many heart warming images sent to me from families who are beginning to use it and start their own vegetable gardens. It has been months and months of hard work to pull together the content, and design and source suitable materials.  In addition to this I am studying, writing my first book and am a mum to two little boys who need my attention and ….You get it, I’m a mum. I’m busy like all mums are. Anyway, my point is that dinner has been dumped for many months at the very very very end of my priority list. I am sure that I am not alone in this, but it has been a new experience for me. Usually dinner is the first thing I start to ponder almost straight after I have had breakfast.  I spend time checking what is in the garden, visiting my local grocer or farmers market, combining and trying flavors. Pondering, crossing things out, writing lists and checking ingredients. Not lately!

This recipe is the first that I have been inspired to create for some time. Seeing the fresh asparagus spears in the grocer got my mind ticking over and it felt GOOD to be back in the kitchen with some joy and inspiration.

sparagus Pancetta Freekeh

Thank you Spring!  My creative juices had been sucked dry by writing my book, maintaining a schedule of content here, study and the Kitchen Garden Box creation and launch. I do apologise to you if you have been waiting for a new recipe and thank you for hanging around. Here it is….

Asparagus Pancetta Freekeh
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Asparagus Pancetta Freekeh. A Spring inspired side dish that could also be served as a light main meal if desired.
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 2 and ½ cups water
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • drizzle olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
  • 1 shallot - finely diced
  • 100 grams pancetta - chopped roughly
  • 1 small finely sliced capsicum
  • To Serve:
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • fresh Vietnamese mint leaves (optional)
  • Dressing
  • 2 teaspoon Black Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 lime - juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon water
  1. Set the water to boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and add the freekeh
  2. Once the water has absorbed (about 8-10 minutes) remove from the heat and place the freekeh on a serving dish
  3. While the feekah is cooking turn on the oven to heat to 140 degrees
  4. Place the asparagus into a piece of foil, drizzle with a little olive oil and cook for approximately 15 minutes until just tender
  5. To make the dressing - simply combine the ingredients and set aside
  6. To a hot pan add the coconut oil, garlic, shallot and pancetta and cook on medium heat until they begin to color
  7. Remove from the heat and stir through the freekeh, add the cooked asparagus, capsicum and fresh herbs for serving. Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve.
I used a gorgeous bright orange capsicum in this recipe, use any color you choose.
Black Vinegar is available from Asian grocery stores.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as a side dish with fish.
It will also work well with any protein
This dish makes a great work day lunch
While this recipe was the first inspiration I have had to cook in a little while it is something that is aligned to my usual approach of putting things together for ease of creation and serving. I prefer to have one side dish with a few simple elements combined than to have a plate full of different vegetables served separately. I like to combine flavors, I like to have a dressing or something that makes it interesting.These things make me want to eat the chosen vegetables that are included. I would happily eat this dish as a main meal (Mr Fresh would have other ideas!) It also makes a great work lunch as the freekeh is satisfying without sitting heavily in your stomach after eating it.

Tell me – do you struggle to be motivated to cook at the end of the day? If so have you noticed what it is that does spark your inspiration and motivation? I’d love to hear. Please share in the comments below.




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