Wheat Berries and Beet Greens – Flavors of Egypt Soup

August 2, 2010 in Soups/Stews by Joyce Bunderson

In the November 2009 journal Diabetologia, which is all about studies of issues related to diabetes, a new article reports the results of a huge meta analysis. The meta analysis is related to meat consumption and the risk of type-2 diabetes. They found that a high intake of processed meat (sausage, bacon, cold cuts, ham, etc.) might increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, on average, by 40 per cent. They also found that high intakes of all types of meat were associated with a 17 per cent increase in the risk of type-2 diabetes. See Dr. Grandma's Blog "Should we all pay attention to the research related to diabetes?"

As I’ve mentioned to you before, Vic and I are flexitarians. We have meals without animal products from time to time. The other day I made this easy soup, but in reality it wasn’t strictly animal product free, because I added a large dollop of Zero-Fat Greek Yogurt. The taste was great and the meal was very easy. Vic has had a couple of lunch meals from it too. That is one benefit of making a pot of soup – leftovers. ☺


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
4 cups coarsely chopped beet greens
2 cups canned white beans or chick peas with juice
2 cups cooked wheat berries
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Sauté the onion, garlic, cumin and coriander in the olive oil. When the onions are soft, add the greens and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Add the beans and juice, broth and wheat berries and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Mix the yogurt and lemon juice.

Serve the soup with a dollop of yogurt mixture.


  • This soup is great for a ‘hurry-up’ dinner. Historically the Egyptians make the soup with molokhia leaves; so this recipe is what I call American-Mediterranean. I have not found any molokhia leaves for sale here, but have found beet greens.
  • There are many versions of beet green soups around the Mediterranean.
  • Soak the beet greens and rinse well (beet greens are often sandy.) Chop the beet greens by slicing off the stems from the leaves, then cut the stems into ½ inch pieces. Cut the broad leaves in half along the stem line; then slice an entire stack of leaves into 1½ inch pieces.
  • This soup is full of powerful nutrients; but it may be of concern to some that there is no animal protein except for the yogurt. There is protein in the wheat berries, vegetables, beans and broth. But you can certainly add some chicken or turkey to make this more acceptable to those who require animal protein. It will still taste great. An easy way to do that is just add a 15 ounce can of chicken chunks – that way your recipe is still very quick and easy to make.

    Chop the clean beet greens into 1 1/2" pieces


    Include the stems of beet greens - cut to 3/4 inch pieces

    Chopped onions browning in extra virgin olive oil.

    Chopped onions browning in extra virgin olive oil.

    Egyptian Soup with wheat berries and beet greens simmers

    Egyptian Soup with wheat berries and beet greens simmers

    A dollop of Greek yogurt, a walla delicious and nourishing.

    A dollop of Greek yogurt, a walla delicious and nourishing.