Freekeh soup is one of my favorites, especially this time of year when the weather cools down. It truly nourishes you. This ancient grain from the Middle East has hearty, earthy, and smoky notes. It is not only fabulous in a soup but even on its own as a pilaf in my freekeh with chicken or in the form of a freekeh salad.
This freekeh soup variation is simple as it requires a few ingredients and steps. Often, chicken pieces are added to the soup for even more protein and heartiness. I grew up eating this soup, especially during Ramadan. If we weren’t having lentil soup, then we were enjoying shorabet freekeh (freekeh soup). After fasting all day, we would break our fast with a nourishing bowl of this freekeh soup with chicken. It is easy on the stomach and wholesome.
What is Freekeh?
Freekeh is a fire-roasted baby green cracked wheat. This wheat variety is harvested earlier than most wheat. The name freekeh comes from rubbing the wheat to remove the shells and, in the process, cracking the grain. It is then roasted for that distinct smokey flavor that truly elevates this freekeh soup.
What are the Benefits of Freekeh?
- This grain is high in nutritional value. It is packed with fiber and low in fat. It is full of vitamins like zinc, iron, and calcium. It has twice the amount of protein as quinoa and a lower glycemic index for those who watch their blood sugar. As you can see, it is an impressive grain to add to one’s meals.
- This super grain also helps with lactation since it’s rich in vitamins and minerals. This freekeh soup is a great recipe to incorporate into a breastfeeding mom’s diet, as it will help increase the milk supply.
Main Ingredients to make freekeh soup
- Freekeh– The star of this meal. The freekeh alone will give off immense flavor from its smokiness. You can source this ingredient at most Middle Eastern stores. Be sure to purchase fine freekeh as opposed to coarse freekeh. See the photo below for a comparison between the two.
- Olive oil– Adds richness, especially when using a great quality olive oil. It helps caramelize the onions and flavor the soup.
- Onion- I would use yellow onion for this recipe, but if you only have red or white-that works too.
- Chicken– Any chicken can be used, such as a leftover rotisserie, but I prefer to poach chicken breast and use that for the soup. I also use the leftover broth for cooking the freekeh.
The photo above shows how to make this freekeh soup with chicken. First, you will start by cubing the chicken breast and chopping the onions. Then, the onions will be sauteed with olive oil before adding to the chicken. Once the chicken has cooked for a few minutes, then the rest of the ingredients, like the freekeh and spices, are added. Lastly, it is covered with water to cook for about 20 minutes. It is really that simple!
Be sure to check out my Freekeh Soup video below! For the best viewing experience, watch the video in full-screen mode!
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Onion, large, finely diced preferably yellow onion
- 2 Chicken Breasts, cubed (1 inch cubes)
- 1 1/4 cup Freekeh, fine
- 1/2 tsp Seven Spice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 8 cups Boiling Water you can always adjust the amount and add more to your liking
- Start by rinsing the freekeh like you would rice, several times and check for any impurities such as tiny stones. These are harmless but inconveninet.
- Then soak the freekeh for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, have your other ingredients prepped and ready.
- In a pot, add the olive oil and onions. Saute together for 5-7 minutes until aromatic and transluscent on medium heat.
- Then, add the chicken cubes and saute with the onions for 5-8 minutes until it appears completely white on the outside of the chicken pieces.
- Drain the freekeh and add it to the chicken and onions. Season with salt, pepper, seven spice. Stir together on medium heat for 2-4 minutes.
- Then, add the boiling water. It should just cover the components of the soup. You can add more water towards the endif you want the consistency thinner.
- Simmer for about 20-22 minutes until the freekeh and chicken are cooked through. Adjust the thickness of the soup as you prefer. I typically add some more hot water at this point if I want it thinner. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Ladle your soup into bowls and enjoy! For a pop of color, you can always garnish with chopped parsley.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How should this be stored? Leftovers can stay in the fridge for 4-5 days. The soup can also be frozen, poured into an airtight container, and kept for a month. Then defrosted and rewarmed.
- Can this soup be enjoyed without chicken? Yes, for sure! You can keep this soup vegan/vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable stock.
- Can I use whole freekeh as opposed to fine? You can, but the results wouldn’t be the same. Cracked freekeh is fine, is much better in soups, and cooks much faster.
As always, I would love to hear what you think of this recipe in the comment section below. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions. I am happy to help! Leave a rating once you give this a try and share your creations with me on my Instagram!