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A Warm Embrace in a Bowl: Lamb Freekeh Soup

Craving a hearty and flavourful soup that nourishes the body and soul? Look no further than Lamb Freekeh Soup, a beloved dish, especially during Ramadan. This comforting stew combines the robust flavors of lamb with the nutty earthiness of freekeh, a cracked green wheat with a unique texture.

This recipe offers a simple yet satisfying take on the classic, simmering the lamb and freekeh in a fragrant broth infused with warm spices. The result is a deeply satisfying soup, perfect for a cozy meal or a delightful addition to your Ramadan spread. So, gather your ingredients and prepare this wonderful soup filled with warmth and flavour.

Basic Ingredients for Lamb Freekeh Soup


Cracked Freekeh (Green Wheat): Freekeh is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, known for its nutty flavour and high nutritional value. It adds a chewy texture to the soup and acts as a thickening agent as it absorbs the broth, enriching the soup with fibre, protein, and a unique smoky taste.

Lamb with Bone: Lamb is a common protein in Middle Eastern dishes, offering a rich and slightly gamey flavor that infuses the broth, making it more robust and savory. Cooking the lamb with the bone enhances the soup’s depth, as the bones release collagen, adding body and a silky texture to the broth.

Red Onion: Onion is a foundational ingredient that provides a sweet and aromatic base, essential for building the soup’s flavour profile. It adds natural sweetness and depth, complementing both the lamb and freekeh.

Chicken Broth or Water: The broth serves as the liquid base of the soup, in which all other ingredients are cooked. Chicken broth adds an additional layer of flavour, but water is a suitable alternative that lets the other ingredients shine.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the onions and lamb, olive oil adds richness and helps to release the flavours of the spices and aromatics, contributing to the soup’s overall taste and mouthfeel.

Black Pepper: Adds a mild heat and sharpness, enhancing the overall flavour complexity of the soup.

Salt: Essential for seasoning, salt enhances the flavours of the other ingredients, making them more pronounced and balanced.

Arabic Spice Mix: This blend typically includes a variety of spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and allspice, adding a warm, aromatic character to the soup, which is signature to Middle Eastern cuisine.

Bay Leaves: They impart a subtle herbal flavour that deepens the soup’s complexity.

Cinnamon Stick and Cardamom Seeds: Both spices add sweet and aromatic notes, contributing to the soup’s warm, inviting spice profile.

alternative ingredients

Protein: Instead of lamb, you could use beef or chicken. For a vegetarian version, chickpeas or lentils can be a good protein substitute.

Grain:  Substitute freekah with farro, bulgur, or quinoa, though the flavor and texture will vary.

Broth: You can use vegetable broth, beef broth or even water as an alternative the chicken broth.

Spices: If you don’t have the Arabic spice mix, you can create a simple blend with available spices like cumin, coriander, and cinnamon.

Preparation Tips for Lamb Freekeh Soup

  • Soaking Freekeh: Ensure that you soak the freekeh as it helps reduce cooking time and enhances its texture.
  • Browning the Meat: Properly browning the lamb adds a depth of flavour to the soup; don’t rush this step.
  • Layering Flavours: Add the spices early in the cooking process to allow their flavours to meld with the oil and meat, creating a rich base.

Serving Tips for Lamb Freekeh Soup

  • Accompaniments: Serve the soup with a side of crusty bread or a fresh salad for a complete meal.
  • Garnishes: Fresh herbs like parsley or mint, a squeeze of lemon, or a drizzle of olive oil can be added just before serving to enhance the flavours.

storage tips

Cooling: Allow the soup to cool completely before storing.

Refrigeration: Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: This soup freezes well. Pour it into freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove or in a microwave.

Lamb Freekeh Soup

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cups cracked freekeh (green wheat), washed, soaked for 30 minutes, and drained
  • 1 kg lamb with bone or beef with bone
  • 2 large red onion, diced
  • 8 cups chicken broth or water
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Arabic spice mix
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 pcs cardamon seeds


  • Prepare the Ingredients: Begin by preparing your ingredients as listed. Ensure the freekeh is washed, soaked, and drained before you start cooking.
  • Sauté the Onion and Lamb: In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped red onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Then, add the lamb (or beef) pieces, cinnamon sticks and cardamon seeds to the pot. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned on all sides. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add Spices: Once the meat is browned, season with black pepper, salt, Arabic spice mix, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well to ensure the meat is evenly coated with the spices.
  • Incorporate the Freekeh: Add the drained freekeh to the pot and stir well, ensuring it is fully integrated with the meat and spices.
  • Add Water and Simmer: Pour the 8 cups of water into the pot. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar to allow some steam to escape.
  • Cooking Time: Let the soup simmer on low heat for about 1.5 to 2 hours. The cooking time may vary depending on the type of meat and its size. The soup is ready when the meat is tender and falls off the bone easily, and the freekeh is fully cooked and has absorbed most of the liquid.
  • Final Adjustments: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. You might want to add more salt, pepper, or Arabic spices according to your preference.
  • Serving: Once the soup is ready, remove the bay leaves and serve hot. This hearty and flavourful soup is perfect for a comforting meal.


  • The cooking time can vary; keep an eye on the soup as it simmers to ensure it doesn’t cook dry. Add more water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency.
  • This stovetop method allows the flavors to meld together slowly, resulting in a rich and aromatic soup. Enjoy your meal!

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