Herb & Veggie Fregola
This Herb & Veggie Fregola recipe is an easy vegan dinner that’s packed with flavour and nutrition! You’ll love the nutty, chewy fregola, which is a little bit like Israeli couscous.
What do your everyday vegan dinners look like? Maybe you have pasta once a week, vegan pizza on Fridays, and you can’t forget about Taco Tuesday. It’s easy to slide into a comfortable routine and make the same types of dishes over and over, isn’t it? Well, friends, I’m here to shake things up with this Herb & Veggie Fregola!
What Is Fregola?
Fregola is a type of pasta made from tiny balls of semolina dough. It is often cooked similarly to couscous and it has a slightly chewy texture, with a flavour that’s earthy and nutty.
Fregola (sometimes also known as fregola sarda), hails from the Italian island of Sardinia. It’s quite similar in appearance to Israeli couscous, but because it’s made by hand, the shape is more irregular. And, unlike couscous, it’s toasted in an oven, which makes it taste even better.
Just like couscous and pasta, fregola can be combined with a variety of other ingredients to make all kinds of different dishes, from light summer salads to hearty winter stews. It can be used in soups, pasta dishes, and even risottos, and it can be boiled in water like pasta or cooked like rice or couscous.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Olive oil
- Red onion – I like red onion in this fregola recipe, but you can certainly substitute another type of onion or shallots instead.
- Asparagus – Asparagus not in season? Green beans are a perfect substitute.
- Corn niblets
- Fresh thyme – This dish is all about the fresh herbs! I don’t recommend substituting dried.
- Fresh oregano
- Vegetable stock – Use store-bought or make your own vegetable stock.
- Black pepper
- Vegan butter – Can’t find vegan butter at your grocery store? Here’s how to make vegan butter at home. You can also substitute a good extra-virgin olive oil.
- Cherry tomatoes – Grape tomatoes work too!
What Can I Use Instead of Fregola?
Israeli couscous or a small pasta, like orzo, can be substituted for the fregola if you’re unable to find it locally or order it online. Toasting it in the skillet, as we do in this recipe, will mimic some of the toasty fregola flavour.
How to Make Herb & Veggie Fregola
This is the kind of effortless weeknight dinner you’ll find yourself making again and again. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Warm the oil. Add the oil to a large sauté pan set over medium heat.
Cook the vegetables. Stir in the onions, asparagus, and corn. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently.
Add the next 3 ingredients. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano to the vegetables. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
Toast the fregola. Add the fregola to the pan and stir constantly for 5 minutes, until it’s nicely toasted.
Pour in the stock. Add the vegetable stock to the pan, along with half of the salt. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the fregola is cooked al dente.
Add the tomatoes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes; cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened and warmed through.
Finish. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining salt, along with the black pepper, chives, lemon juice, and vegan butter. Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese and serve.
Tips for Success
As you can see, making fregola is as easy as making pasta or rice! Still, here are some quick tips to help you make sure it turns out perfect.
- Don’t let the fregola burn! Make sure you stir the fregola constantly while toasting it to keep it from burning. As soon as you notice that it’s nicely browned and smells toasty, add the broth.
- Remove the sprigs of herbs before serving. To make it easier, you can tie them together with a small piece of kitchen twine.
- Cook until the stock is absorbed. The fregola shouldn’t be soupy; as you can see from the photos, the liquid thickens to form a lovely sauce for the fregola and veggies.
In the mood for switching things up? Well, you’re in luck because this is the perfect recipe for that!
- Use vegetables that are in season or that you have on hand in the fridge. Stir in a few handfuls of baby spinach, swap the asparagus for mushrooms—fregola is highly adaptable!
- To add a bit of richness and creaminess, stir in some vegan cream or coconut milk at the end.
- Try swapping the fresh herbs for savory spices like cumin, or add some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.
How to Store
Store Herb & Veggie Fregola in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply add a few tablespoons of water or stock and heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. The added liquid will help loosen it up a bit.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes, you can freeze this fregola recipe. To do so, store in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. When ready to reheat, simply thaw the fregola in the refrigerator before heating it on the stovetop or microwave according to the instructions above.
Enjoy friends! If you make this fregola recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Herb & Veggie Fregola
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ red onion, 82 grams, diced
- 10 stalks asparagus, 200 grams, cut into 1 1⁄2” pieces
- ½ cup corn niblets, 75 grams
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5-6 fresh oregano leaves
- 1 ½ cups fregola, 300 grams
- 3 ½ cups vegetable stock, 875 ml
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 small bunch chives, 5 grams, finely chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 124 grams, cut in half
- juice from 1 lemon
- Add oil to a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions, asparagus and corn. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic, thyme and oregano. Cook for another 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the fregola to the pot. Toast it for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
- Add the vegetable stock to the pot and half of the salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring gently for 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente.
- Stir in the cut tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes are wilted and warmed through.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining salt, black pepper, chives, lemon juice and vegan butter.
- Garnish with vegan parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.
Well you stumped me on this one Jessica. Never hear of Fregola. I’m on the hunt. Looks really interesting.
Wow! Amazing as to how wonderful this is. I just happened to have Frego in my pantry. I had asparagus and mushrooms so that’s what I used and left out the corn. My tomatoes weren’t all the good anymore so I left them out. A wonderful all around meal for me, a possibly a side dish when I visit family who still eat meat.
thanks alot of information
Hi Jessica- Have you ever used barley or farrow rather than the fregola as a substitute? Do you think they’d work?
Hi Melodie, I haven’t but it should work. I would just adjust the cooking time and liquid amount according to your packet of barley or farrow. Hope this helps!