The Shorba Freekeh of Algeria


This is a traditional soup recipe from my Algerian side of the family. Shorba is like a generic word for soup; this recipe uses the roasted wheat called freekeh which gives this tomato and meat based soup a deep and original flavor. Like many traditional Mediterranean-style foods it is garnished with plenty of cilantro and fresh lemon juice.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
8 servings


  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into chunks

  • 2 onions, cut into chunks

  • 1 serrano pepper, cut into chunks

  • 1 Anaheim pepper, cut into chunks

  • ½ zucchini, cut into chunks

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • ¾ pound ground beef

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 cubes vegetable bouillon, or more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander

  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 ½ quarts water

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

  • ½ cup finely ground freekeh

  • 2 cups green peas

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, or more to taste


  1. Blend tomatoes, onions, serrano pepper, anaheim pepper, zucchini, and garlic together in a blender until vegetables are completely pureed.

  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook lamb and beef with a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, until lamb is cooked through and browned on all sides, about 25 minutes.

  3. Stir vegetable puree, vegetable bouillon, cumin, black pepper, paprika, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper into lamb mixture. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors begin to blend, about 35 minutes.

  4. Pour water and tomato paste into lamb mixture. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until lamb starts to tenderize, about 1 1/2 hours. Add freekeh; simmer until freekeh is incorporated into the soup, about 30 minutes.

  5. Stir peas and butter into soup. Remove pot from heat and stir cilantro into soup. Ladle soup into bowls and squeeze lemon juice into bowls.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

375 Calories
23g Fat
24g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 375
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 62mg 21%
Sodium 835mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 39mg 196%
Calcium 63mg 5%
Iron 4mg 19%
Potassium 725mg 15%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.