Almond and Parsley Pesto with Asparagus and Freekeh

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Last year I was obsessed with farro! And I still am, but I’m also equally as obsessed with Freekeh. Have you guys tried this stuff? It’s a delicious roasted grain that works as a substitute for rice, pasta, quinoa, farro or just about any other grain you could imagine. It has a nutty quality to it, which makes it perfect for this Almond and Parsley Pesto side dish!

Almond and Parsley Pesto with Asparagus and Freekeh

I cook up a pot of Freekeh almost every week. Depending on what’s going on, I serve it with any number of sauces and condiments, but nothing beats this almond and parsley pesto plus some sautéed asparagus. It screams summer and it works as an awesome side dish for any number of main courses!

Almond and Parsley Pesto with Asparagus and Freekeh Recipe

And if parsley isn’t your thing, you can substitute in just about any other leafy herb (cilantro or basil are both great) to make this side dish equally as delicious.

Almond and Parsley Pesto with Asparagus and Freekeh

5 from 1 vote


Almond Parsley Pesto:

  • 1/4 cup diced almonds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Asparagus and Freekeh:

  • 1 cup uncooked cracked freekeh* (yields approximately 3 cups cooked)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces (roughly 1 dozen asparagus stems)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes


  • In a food processor or blender, combine diced almonds, olive oil and garlic. Pulse for 1 – 2 minutes until the mixture resembles almond butter.
  • Rinse parsley in cold water and pat dry. Don’t worry about removing all the water, as you’ll need some in the pesto. Add the parsley to the blender and blend for another two minutes until smooth and bright green. Add a few teaspoons of water if the pesto is thick. Add the freshly grated cheese and pulse for a few seconds to incorporate Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, combine freekeh and stock and cook according to the package directions. Once cooked, remove from the heat and let cool.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add asparagus and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until just tender. Once cooked, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a large bowl, toss together cooked freekeh, asparagus mixture and 1/2 cup of the pesto. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Add more pesto if desired, cherry tomatoes and serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with chopped whole almonds.
  • *Freekeh (pronounced “freak-eh”) can be purchased at health food stores in the grain aisle or online.

I created this recipe for the Almond Board of California; check out my other delicious, summery recipes here:


  1. This looks so freekehn delicious (sorrrrry, couldn’t help myself)!! I’m offically keeping my eye out at the grocery store for this lovely little grain.

  2. I absolutely love freekeh! they sell it at costco for not too expensive too! I just made a summer-y salad with freekeh, toasted walnuts, figs and grapefruit on my blog!

    Thanks for the pesto recipe. I might try that with the abundance of walnuts at home.

  3. Ah, I wondered what freekeh was, I bought a salad last week that had some in it and it was yummy. Now to find some to cook and make this…

  4. Love the almond parsley combo! Have never heard of freekeh, but I am walking to the market right now to look for it!

  5. I finally got around to making this yesterday, having had a pack of freekeh hanging around for months. I took it to a pot luck lunch and it proved very popular. It smelt amazing while it was cooking and delicious to eat. Thank you!

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