Palestinian Traditional Food: A Wheat Culture

In Palestine, wheat is a very important part of the culture since thousands of years. You can find multiple varieties of ancient wheat growing here on the land, and you'll also notice just how many ways Palestinians use wheat in daily life.  

To name a few, Palestine is home to bulgar (cracked wheat), whole wheat berries, green wheat, ground wheat made into taboon bread, and semolina. This variety of wheat showcases the fact that Palestinian culture is historically a culture of wheat. Ancient grains were cultivated and protected in this part of the world. And this grain is still celebrated today. 

And now it’s freekeh season! This beloved grain is the centerpiece on so many tables this time of year. Its versatility means it can be made into soup, side dishes, your main meal, and so much more. What could be better than that?

Freekeh is made by fire-roasting wheat while it’s still green and rubbing the grains together to make that signature smokey flavor. After this process, the edible freekeh makes its way into whatever dish you want, while the rest of the plant can be recycled for a number of other things. That can be anything from making straw trays or any other item for your house or land that you may want to create.

Freekeh has a long-standing relationship with Palestinians, weaving its way into a multitude of recipes, clothing patterns, and songs. We’ve even seen some very beautiful thobes around Palestine that celebrate wheat in their intricate embroidery!


This super grain is popular outside Palestine too. Freekeh makes up a number of dishes enjoyed around the Levant and Northern Africa, making it one of the more loved grains to enjoy! And it has a wonderful array of nutritional benefits. With its high fiber content and loads of antioxidants and probiotics, what more could you ask for?

Our friends at Fufu’s Kitchen have a wonderful recipe for freekeh soup that everyone should try! This recipe celebrates the beauty of this grain while adding just the right amount of heartiness to your dinner.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 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


  1. Start by rinsing the freekeh like you would rice, several times and check for any impurities such as tiny stones. These are harmless but inconvenient.
  2. Then soak the freekeh for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, have your other ingredients prepped and ready.
  3. In a pot, add the olive oil and onions. Sauté together for 5-7 minutes until aromatic and translucent on medium heat.
  4. Then, add the chicken cubes and sauté with the onions for 5-8 minutes until it appears completely white on the outside of the chicken pieces.
  5. 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.
  6. Then, add the boiling water. It should just cover the components of the soup. You can add more water towards the end if you want the consistency thinner.
  7. 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.
  8. Ladle your soup into bowls and enjoy! For a pop of color, you can always garnish with chopped parsley.


Celebrate freekeh season with us and enjoy this meaningful ancient grain in your next meal!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

From Palestine to You