This spiced Harira Moroccan Soup is pure soulful comfort packed with protein and nutrients. Cooked in an African spice, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, noodles or some type of pasta or rice, and a range of warm, fragrant spices and aromatics. This recipe is made meat-free but I do share meat options below.
It's been a chaotic few weeks on this side of the world! Our beautiful country has gone through some chilling episodes of looting and the cold winter doesn't make it any easier. When the mood is low, you can see it in all the faces on the street. Coronavirus, vaccine, illnesses, trust me when I tell you that this vegetarian Moroccan soup was much needed, purely for the soul.
What Is Harira Soup?
Harira soup a tomato based Moroccan staple made with lentils, chickpeas, warm spices and herbs. Since this soup is so substantial, spiced and delicious it's typically eaten in the month of Ramadan to break the fast. Popular not just in Morocco but other parts of North Africa cooking it with some type of meat is how it's prepared.
You can add pasta or rice to make it thicker.
Vegetarian Harira Soup
This recipe is meat free but for a vegetarian option simply swop the chicken stock for vegetable stock or can use water. I've making my own version of this Moroccon soup, and it's meat-free and and also dairy-free.
Spices Used For Morrocon Soup
An authentic Moroccan soup uses quite a large number of spices like cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander and many more depending on the cook. If you don't have our African Dream spice then those are some of the spices you would need to add. Owning a jar of our African Dream Spice gives you flavors ranging around East, West and South Africa which are 100% all natural and will give your food incredible taste and fragrance!
Quick Note: The best part about any dish where you are using spices is that the spices, take your food from ordinary to next level delicious.
Does Harira Soup Have Meat?
Typically, yes it does. You can add meat like lamb, chicken, beef or veal. Chicken is added even though red meat is more popular in this soup.
Ingredients For Harira Soup
Dried legumes: Lentils and chickpeas
Tomatoes: I am using canned tomatoes
Celery: You need around 2 stalks
Onion: Regualar brown onion
Spices and seasoning: We use this spice alsong with fresh turmeric and ginger which is great if you can find it otherwise turmeric powder.
Vegetables: Carrots, celery, potatoes and spinach.
Pasta: Rosmarino pasta but you can use another noodle/pasta type or rice
Stock: Low sodium chicken or vegetable stock. You can also use water.
Garnish: Garam masala, fresh parsley (or coriander) and fresh lemon to finish and brighten up the overall flavors.
How To Make Morrocon Soup
This is my step by step version of this amazing soup.
Preparation: Dice, cut and prepare the vegetables and rinse the chickpeas through a strainer. I like using the chickpea liquid (aquafaba) in the soup but feel free to drain and it out. I know that I've always said you need to rinse the lentils, but we've since evolved to using lentils that don't need rinsing 🙂 so it depends on which you're using.
Aromatics: Start by heating a large Dutch oven, soup pot or any other pot and heat the olive oil then cook the onions for a good 5 to 7 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook the garlic for a minute or two and then add turmeric and ginger, combine.
I add the carrots next (unusual sequence I know) but I like to give them time to soak in all the spices (used here is the African spice). Once the carrots are coated in the spices with the ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric, I then add the aquafaba to prevent the spices from burning.
Vegetables: After the coating the carrots the celery goes in, give it a mix, add the tomato paste. Pour a little water into the tomato paste can, give it a swirl and pour it into the soup. If you are using a tubed paste, just add about quarter cup of water.
Legumes, potatoes, liquid: Add the dried brown lentils, rosmarino pasta, potatoes and all the stock and water. Season.
Seasoning should be done as you add the different layers, pinch at a time for best results.
Cook: Cook covered for 20 minutes, removing any foamy scum off the surface as it cooks. This is done maybe once or twice. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Finish and Garnish: Add the spinach, garam masala, fresh parsley or coriander and fresh lemon.
This is a vegetable version so I've excluded the meat and used rosmarino pasta. A finish with fresh parsley and fresh lemon is ideal.
It will store well in a covered container for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Isn't that the best time to eat soup? Well yes especially this one as all these superb flavors have had time to develop! Just remember that the lentils and pasta will absorb most of the liquid so do add broth/water to make a bit thinner other than that it is always wonderful the next day. Microwave or stove top, either way, add a few tablespoon of water, stir and enjoy!
Make Ahead Soup
A day before - I would suggest cook all the ingredients and leave the lentils/ pasta until the last minute.
Where does harira soup come from?
North Africa's Maghreb cuisine.
Why is harira important?
Because in places like Morocco, its eaten in the evening during Ramadan at the end of fasting. It's a good way to sustaing the body because of the packed nutritional value.
Is chickpea liquid (aquafaba) healthy?
Yes even though the fiber from the chickpeas does not transfer to the liquid, there are still some nutritional traces from the chickpeas themselves.
This is how this recipe came about.
I've been on a soup making frenzy recently because they are so comforting, quick and easy. The inspiration from this soup is from someone I met many years ago and the bond that we made. She was Moroccan and I am South African. She spoke Arabic and French and I spoke English with a little Italian so we met somewhere in the middle even though we didn't share a language. Amazing the ways in which communication can be made. Our communication was universal, we were both women and mothers and together we spoke the language of life through food, motherhood and cooking. Our cultural differences became our connection.
Comfort Food Recipe
I hope that you have enjoyed my Spiced Moroccan Soup! Give it a try @anosmickitchen #anosmickitchen remember the kitchen is about creativity and working with what you already have.
Please rate my recipe in the recipe card below if you enjoyed reading or making it! Happy New Year to you and your family!
Vegetable Moroccan Soup
- 1 cup lentils clean and rinse
- ¾ cup rosmarino pasta
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tbsp. grated ginger
- 1 tbsp. grated turmeric or 1 teaspoon dried turmeric spice
- 2 tsps. African Dream Spice
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks with leaves
- 1 can chickpeas drain and keep the liquid
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- salt and pepper
- 1 potato chopped into cubes
- 2 cups baby spinach
- fresh parsley
- 1 small lemon
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Add the onion, lower the heat to very low and let the onion cook for 5 to 6 minutes until really soft and cooked through.
- Add the garlic, cook for a minute. Add the ginger and turmeric, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots and the African Dream Spice. Combine and add the reserved chickpea water, mix. Put the lid on and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Add the celery. Put the lid on and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and a little water into the small bowl swirl and toss the water in OR add ½ cup of water if using paste directly from the tube/can.
- Season with salt and pepper. Lid on, cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils and rosmarino pasta mix. Add the chopped potatoes and mix it all together.
- Add the stock and water. Season and taste.
- Drop the heat, lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the spinach and leave the lid off while it continues to simmer another 5 minutes. Check - if you want it thinner add a little more water and cook another 5 minutes otherwise go to the next step.
- Add fresh parsley, Garam Masala and fresh lemon. Enjoy!