Lentil and Chickpea Soup (aka Harira) pronounced (huh-ree-ra) is the most popular soup in Morocco. During the holy fasting month of Ramadan, where no food or drink is consumed between dawn and dusk, Harira is often eaten to break the daily fast. It’s tangy, spicy and has just the right amount of savoury to keep you coming back for more. It is traditionally cooked with lamb, but this version is vegetarian.
It is a perfect wholesome meal to make ahead because it just becomes better and better after a day or two in the fridge and the bonus is that it also freezes very well. In this vegetarian version of Harira, red lentils create a rich-bodied broth as they break down quickly. The green lentils and chickpeas give it a delicious hearty texture.
What you need to make a Vegetarian Harira:
Olive oil: This a Moroccan recipe. There has to be olive oil.
Onions & Celery: This is your flavour base for the soup. You will need to mince them very finely to allow them to melt and disappear completely in the soup.
Dried Chickpeas: (Soaked overnight): This is probably the most recognizable ingredient in Harira aside from its colour. Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fibre and help make this soup into a super healthy dish.
Dried Green Lentils: Just like chickpeas, green lentils are also very nutritious. They pair very well with chickpeas and contribute to the velvety texture of the soup.
Dried Red Lentils: To create a rich-bodied broth in place of the lamb which is normally used.
Spices: I used cumin, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, paprika, red chilli flakes and saffron. All spices are ground, of course. Use the best you can find, it makes a big difference.
Fresh Coriander and Parsley: Adds a lot of freshness and flavour to the soup.
Tomato Paste: Adds colour and acidity to the soup.
Pasta: I like using angel hair pasta
- 3 Tbles Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, Finely Diced
- 2 Medium Carrots, Finely Diced
- 2 Celery Stalks, Finely Diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Tsp Cumin
- 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Tsps Ground Ginger
- 1 Tsp Tumeric
- 1 Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- Good Pinch of Saffron (Infused in 1 Tbles of Hot Water)
- 2 x 400 Gr Cans of Chickpeas
- 1 Cup Green Lentils
- 1 Cup Red Lentils
- 4 Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 Tbles Tomato Paste
- 6 Cups of Vegetable Stock
- ½ Cup Thin Pasta (Angel Hair), Broken in Quarters
- 2 Tbles Fresh Parsley, Roughly Chopped
- 2 Tbles Fresh Coriander, Roughly Chopped
- Lemon Wedges to Serve
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened.
- Add the cumin, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, turmeric, paprika, red chilli flakes and saffron liquid. Stir thoroughly for about 1 minute then add the tomato paste and stir through for another minute.
- Stir in the chopped tomato, lentils and about 4 cups of vegetable stock. Cook, covered, on medium heat for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes it may be necessary to add more liquid stock and the salt might need to be adjusted.
- Cook for another 20 minutes more on a gentle simmer, until the legumes are soft and creamy. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. After 20 minutes add the chickpeas and simmer for about 10 minutes adding more stock or water if needed.
- Just before serving, add the angel hair pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls, top each with some fresh parsley and coriander and serve with lemon wedges.