Moroccan Spiced Vegetarian Harira Soup Recipe

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by Maggie Turansky


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This hearty vegetarian harira soup recipe is easy to make and uses a ton of bright, complex flavours and Mediterranean spices while also being completely vegan.

Combining two types of lentils, nutritious chickpeas and different cooking techniques in order to maximise the flavours in this soup really takes ot the next level.

If you’re looking for a fantastic, warming and vegetarian recipe to spice up your lunches or dinners, then you’re sure to love this Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup.

Vegetarian Harira Soup
Vegetarian Harira Soup

How to Make Moroccan-Spiced Harira Soup

The first step in making this soup is to cook your mirepoix. Also referred to as a sofrito in Italian or Spanish recipes (like my pasta e fagioli recipe), this is simply a mixture of carrots, celery and onions.

Chop your carrots, onions and celery very finely (it’s undesirable to have big pieces of carrot in your finished soup). You can use a chef’s knife for this or, if you’re looking to save some time, chuck everything in the food processor and pulse a few times. I usually just use a knife.

Some of the ingredients for this harira soup recipe
Some of the ingredients for this recipe

Now, in a heavy Dutch oven or saucepan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and set over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add your mirepoix (along with a generous pinch of salt) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and are beginning to brown.

This step will take about 10 minutes and I urge you not to cut corners and skip this phase – it’s essential to building up flavour for the soup – it’s the same step as in my creamy white bean soup.

Adding the mirepoix
Adding the mirepoix

Once your mirepoix has cooked to the desired level, add some finely minced garlic and fresh ginger to the pot. Stir to combine and cook until this is just fragrant – only about thirty seconds or so.

Now it’s time to add some of your spices. For this step, we’re adding some cumin, coriander seed, smoked paprika, cinnamon and allspice along with a bit of freshly ground black pepper.

Adding the spices to the pot
Adding the spices to the pot

Stir this into your mirepoix mixture and cook, again, until fragrant – another thirty seconds to one minute.

Next, squeeze in a bit of tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste to combine with all of your vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes, just until the paste thickens, darkens and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Adding the tomato paste to the pot
Adding the tomato paste to the pot

Then it’s time to add your lentils. I call for using both red lentils and green lentils in this recipe because they both offer different textures to the soup. Red lentils essentially disappear and turn very velvety once cooked while green lentils retain their shape and become very tender.

Also toss in a can of rinsed chickpeas. You can soak and cook dried chickpeas for this soup, however, I don’t think it’s worth the extra step when canned work just as well. Grate in a bit of lemon zest here now, too.

Adding the lentils and chickpeas to the pot
Adding the lentils and chickpeas to the pot

Toss everything to combine and then pour over some vegetable broth. Bring everything up to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and simmer the soup until the lentils are tender and cooked through. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

Once the lentils are cooked, it’s time to add some pasta. I call for orzo in this recipe, but you can use vermicelli if you’d like, as well. Even something like ditalini would work well here.

Add the pasta to the pot along with some fresh kale that’s been torn from its stems and roughly chopped. Again, you can use Swiss chard or collard greens here, too, if you’d like. I only wouldn’t recommend spinach as it’s not hearty enough to stand up to the rest of the soup.

Adding the kale to the soup
Adding the kale to the soup

Cook this until the orzo is al dente and the greens are tender – about five to ten minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in a bit of lemon juice along with some ras al hanout. The latter is a North African spice blend that is easy to make (I’ve got my formula in the recipe notes below) or you can purchase it online if you cannot find it in the supermarket.

Vegetarian harira ready to serve
Harira ready to serve

Then, stir in a bit of freshly chopped cilantro for some bright, herbacious flavour.

Then, all you need to do now is taste to adjust for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Then, serve the soup and enjoy!

Vegetarian Harira Soup

Moroccan Spiced Vegetarian Harira Soup

This Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup is hearty, healthy, delicious and simple to make!
5 from 4 votes
Servings 6
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 2 celery ribs very finely minced
  • 1-2 medium carrots very finely minced
  • 1 large yellow onion very finely minced
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) fresh ginger very finely minced
  • 5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 50 g (¼ cup) dried red lentils
  • 50 g (¼ cup) dried green lentils
  • 1 (400g/14oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 (400g/14oz) can whole peeled tomatoes crushed with hands
  • 2 litres (8 cups) vegetable broth
  • 125 g (½ cup) orzo
  • 250 g (2 cups) kale stripped from ribs and roughly chopped
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout see note
  • 5 g (2 tbsp) cilantro chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the celery, carrots and onions along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and have begun to brown around the edges, around 7-10 minutes.
    Adding the mirepoix
  • Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
    Adding the ginger and garlic
  • Add the cumin, coriander seed, paprika, cinnamon and allspice. Cook until well incorporated and very fragrant – another 30 seconds.
    Adding the spices to the pot
  • Add the tomato paste. Stir to combine and cook until the paste darkens and beings to leave a film on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes.
    Adding the tomato paste to the pot
  • Add both lentils, the chickpeas and the lemon zest. Stir until combined.
    Adding the lentils and chickpeas to the pot
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender – about 20 minutes.
    Adding the tomatoes
  • Add the orzo and the kale. Stir to combine and cook until the noodles are al dente and the kale is tender – about 5-10 minutes.
    Adding the kale to the soup
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and the ras el hanout. Add the cilantro. Taste to adjust for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.
    Vegetarian harira ready to serve

Video

Notes

If you do not have ras el hanout or cannot find it, you can make it at home. Simply combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1482mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6939IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 186mg | Iron: 5mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This harira soup recipe is easy to make and instantly satisfying. It’s sure to be the perfect dish to brighten up even the most dreary of days!

Are you wondering how to make a Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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