Moroccan Harira Soup

Harira is a Moroccan soup made with dried legumes and plenty of cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon, traditionally cooked with lamb or beef. Although it is typically eaten to break the fast during Ramadan, it is served throughout the rest of the year as well. The soup tastes best the next day after all the flavors had plenty of time to perfectly blend together. Since legumes and rice absorb a lot of liquid it may happen that the soup thickens when refrigerated. In that case, thin it with water or broth and adjust the seasoning.

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Moroccan Harira Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 tbsp of olive oil or butter
  • 1 lb of beef or lamb, cut into cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 (14.5oz / 411g) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp of harissa seasoning
  • 8 cups of beef or lamb broth
  • 1 (15.5oz / 439g) can of chickpeas, drained, or 3/4 cup of dried chickpeas soaked overnight then rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup of dried, Le Puy green lentils (also known as French green lentils or Puy lentils) or lentils of your choice
  • 1/4 cup of long-grain rice or angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup of green olives, drained and sliced
  • 1/3 cup of black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook, turning the pieces until browned on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate or bowl and set aside.

  2. Add onions and cook stirring until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in celery and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices and bring to a brisk simmer.

  3. Return meat to the pot, add chickpeas and lentils. Pour in broth, bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Let the soup gently simmer for 1 hour, covered with the lid ajar.

  4. Add rice, cover and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes.

  5. Stir in the olives, cilantro, and parsley and let simmer for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander and lemon wedges for squeezing over.


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