Harira is a hearty, Moroccan soup, which is fantastic as both a starter (I would thin it to be more of a broth), or as a main meal, as it’s chock full of lentils and chickpeas, and is very filling. I was in Morocco just over a week ago, and had this soup almost on a daily basis. It’s a wonderful spiced soup, without being spicy, and it makes the house smell wonderfully fragrant. I was so happy the soup I made tasted like the soup I had in Morocco, and it was a big hit with family members who have never tried Moroccan food.  Some Harira is made with meat, but this is a vegan version.

Moroccan Harira Soup
Serves 4
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  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, halved and then thinly sliced
  3. 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  4. 3 celery stalks, diced
  5. 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  6. 1½ tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  8. 2 tsp smoked paprika
  9. 1 tsp ground ginger
  10. 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  11. pinch of dried chilli flakes
  12. large pinch of saffron stamens
  13. 1½ tbsp tomato purée
  14. 5 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  15. 700ml (1¼ pints) good vegetable stock
  16. 2 tins chickpeas, rinsed
  17. 2 tins green lentils, rinsed
  18. 3 small nests of vermicelli
  19. small handful each of coriander and parsley leaves, finely chopped
  20. lemon juice, to taste
  1. Put the olive oil in a large saucepan or heavy-based pan with a lid. Gently fry the onion, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until very soft but not highly coloured. Stir in the garlic, spices and tomato purée. Turn up the heat slightly and cook, still stirring, for a few minutes more.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock, chickpeas and lentils and bring to a gentle simmer. Lower the heat and partially cover the pan with the lid and simmer gently for about 30-45 minutes, giving the soup an occasional stir. Near the end of the cooking, crush the nests of vermicelli into the soup, and stir to combine. The pasta will cook in 3-4 minutes. This soup should be thick and hearty, like a stew, so if it's too thin, keep cooking for a few minutes. Alternatively, dilute the soup with extra water/stock if too thick. Taste and season.
  3. Remove the Harira from the heat and stir in the herbs with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
  1. The flavour of this soup deepens with time. I cooked it in the afternoon and took it off the heat before adding the vermicelli. At dinnertime, I brought the soup to the boil, added the vermicelli, and then served it with a loaf of warmed sourdough bread.
Adapted from Alice Hart for The Telegraph
The Pescetonian https://pescetonian.co.uk/
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