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Spicy shrimp soup with freekeh, the ancient grain you’re not using enough

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

Get an introduction to the hearty ancient grain freekeh with this super-easy shrimp soup

Freekeh is an ancient grain with a slightly smoky flavor and loaded with nutritional value (it’s low in fat and high in protein and fiber). Include freekeh in any dish that you’d typically use rice or other grains in. It’s the perfect choice to include in a spicy shrimp soup with peas and torn romaine lettuce.

This soup is so filling you can serve it as a meal on its own. If you haven’t tried freekeh yet, this is the perfect introduction to its heartiness and versatility. Spicy shrimp tops a bowl of this soup that also includes black beans and peas. It’s not only super flavorful, but it’s interesting too.

If you can’t find freekeh for this soup, then use rice, barley or farro instead. If you don’t have romaine lettuce on hand, then add spinach or another leafy green in its place. To make this soup a real breeze to get on the table quickly, cook the freekeh in advance. It takes only about 25 minutes to make, but when you’re short on time, this really helps.

Get an introduction to the hearty ancient grain freekeh with this super-easy shrimp soup
Image: Patricia Conte/SheKnows

Freekeh and spicy shrimp soup

Adapted from AARP

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 19 minutes | Total time: About 30 minutes


  • 1-1/2 cups cooked freekeh
  • 18 large, precooked, frozen shrimp (thawed)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chili-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups (packed) torn romaine lettuce
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with the nonstick cooking spray, and set it aside.
  2. To a medium bowl, add 1/2 the olive oil and the chili-garlic paste, and mix to combine. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel, and then add them to the mixture.
  3. Use your hands to ensure the shrimp is well coated with the mixture. Place the shrimp on the foil-lined baking sheet, and place under the broiler of the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp over, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove, and set aside.
  4. To a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, water, salt, ground black pepper, thyme, red pepper flakes, black beans and peas to the pot.
  6. Increase the heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat, and add the romaine lettuce. Stir to combine.
  8. Serve in individual bowls, and top each with 4 to 5 pieces of the shrimp.

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