Kale And Freekeh Soup With Fresh Turmeric

by | May 3, 2017 | 8 comments

Kale And Freekeh Soup With Fresh Turmeric - Cook Republic #vegan #glutenfree #lowcarb

I had a bad work injury a year ago where I sprained my rib and dislocated my vertebra. Coupled with the chronic pain in my leg due to an old fall, I had to virtually give up all forms of strenuous exercise including doing intensive styling sessions and photoshoots. Over the course of the year although I managed to address my injuries through regular visits to the chiropractor and getting back into yoga, I also slowly gained weight. Around this time, I started experimenting with low carb and high fibre plant-based recipes to feel lean and energetic. The discovery of freekeh was a revelation.

Kale And Freekeh Soup With Fresh Turmeric - Cook Republic #vegan #glutenfree #lowcarb

Freekeh refers to the process of toasting and cracking young green wheat. Because the grain is still green and not yet aged, it has more protein and minerals than the more mature grain making it highly nutritious. Freekeh is known to have four times the fiber found in brown rice which makes it an ideal substitute for rice or pasta on the dinner table. It is also low in carbs.


Cooking freekeh is similar to cooking brown lentils. Cracked freekeh will cook faster than the whole version. A gentle simmer for 20-30 minutes in stock or water will yield a bowl of nourishing tender freekeh that still holds its shape and adds texture. If you have never cooked with freekeh before, then this is the recipe to start with. This simple yet hearty soup is big on texture with the use of freekeh and Cavolo Nero.


Cavolo Nero is an Italian member of the Brassica family. It has deep green textured leaves almost bordering on black, earning it the nickname of Dinosaur Kale or Black Cabbage. I have bunches of these growing in my veggie patches and so this soup gets made quite regularly.

Kale And Freekeh Soup With Fresh Turmeric - Cook Republic #vegan #glutenfree #lowcarbCavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale) - Cook Republic Kale And Freekeh Soup With Fresh Turmeric - Cook Republic #vegan #glutenfree #lowcarb

I often cook this soup using a batch of homemade veggie stock. The complete absence of herbs in this warming soup is intentional so that the nutty flavour of freekeh and the earthiness of the kale shines through. A topping of fresh turmeric provides added vibrancy and potent nutrients for your insides. If you don’t have fresh turmeric on hand, a tiny bit of grated ginger works well too.



5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Course // Dinner, Main
Cuisine // Vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced (white part only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (225 g) cracked freekeh (uncooked/dry)
  • 1.5 liters vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100 g Cavolo Nero, (Tuscan Kale) , finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric, to serve


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven on medium. Add leek, garlic and bay leaf. Sauté for a couple of minutes until leek wilts and starts to turn golden.
  • Add the freekeh and toast for a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes until freekeh is tender.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add chopped kale and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve hot topped with grated turmeric.
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I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Susan

    I am growing fresh turmeric and I wonder if it can be used in the quantities as the dried powder. I know that it stains your hands and every surface you touch.

    • Sneh

      Susan, fresh turmeric is more mellow in flavour than ground turmeric, so you could use it liberally (almost like fresh ginger or garlic). I never peel the fresh turmeric and handle it by holding the skin, it avoids my hands from staining. I also make sure I always chop on a cutting board ( have a dark walnut board for this).

  2. Kaitlyn

    What a story! and how lovely to have this come out of it. Looks so yummy. I will have to try this out soon!


  3. Teri

    5 stars
    Sneh, I love your recipes! As a vegetarian and fellow Sydneysider, I visit your site all the time for inspiration and recipes. This one was amazing -so simple but so good. I can’t wait to try the green minestrone next!

    • Sneh

      Thanks Teri! I appreciate your lovely comment. Glad you loved the Freekeh soup, it is so simple and warming x

  4. Briana

    Hi, this recipe looks delicious but is incorrectly labeled as gluten free. As you identify, freekah is a wheat product, and so definitely not gluten free.

    • Sneh

      Oh my goodness! Apologies. It seems to be an automated error from recipe duplication. Thank you for the catch and notifying. I have fixed it. x


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