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Moroccan Harira Recipe: A Delicious Taste of Tradition

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If you’re looking to warm up your table with a taste of Moroccan cuisine, harira is the perfect choice. Harira is a traditional Moroccan soup made with tomatoes, lentils, and chickpeas, offering a blend of rich, comforting flavors. Whether you prefer a vegetarian version or one with meat, this soup is both hearty and satisfying.

This classic dish is known for its aromatic spices and fresh herbs, making it a flavorful treat. Not only is harira a staple during Ramadan, but it’s also enjoyed year-round. You’ll find that it pairs wonderfully with lemon, dates, and bread, making for a complete and delicious meal.

Whether you’re trying it for the first time or rediscovering a favorite, harira is sure to become a go-to in your recipe collection. Get ready to savor each spoonful!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make Moroccan Harira, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of red lentils: Adds a hearty texture.
  • 1/2 cup of vermicelli: Gives the soup a delicate touch.
  • 1 cup of chickpeas: You can use canned or dried chickpeas.
  • 2-3 cups of tomato puree: Provides the base of the soup.
  • 1 large onion (chopped): Adds flavor.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced): Enhances the taste.
  • 8 cups of water or broth: Helps to cook and combine the ingredients.

Herbs and Spices:

  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Possible Substitutes:

  • Red lentils: Can be swapped with green or brown lentils.
  • Vermicelli: You can use rice noodles or even broken spaghetti.
  • Chickpeas: Substitute with white beans if preferred.
  • Tomato puree: Crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce can work too.
  • Fresh herbs: Dried parsley and cilantro can be used, but fresh is best.

Each ingredient brings a unique flavor and texture, making Harira a delightful dish. Adjust the spices to your liking and explore different substitutes to personalize the recipe.


1. Prepare the ingredients

  • Chop onions, celery, and tomatoes.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Rinse the chickpeas and lentils.

2. Sauté Aromatics

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until softened.
  • Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add Vegetables and Spices

  • Stir in chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Add cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt.
  • Mix everything thoroughly.

4. Combine Chickpeas and Lentils

  • Add chickpeas and lentils (both green and red).
  • Pour in 8 cups of water, ensuring everything is covered.

5. Simmer the Soup

  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to medium and cover the pot.
  • Let it cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Final Touches

  • Add chopped parsley and cilantro.
  • If desired, stir in additional spices like ginger or smen.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes to blend flavors.

Ingredients at a Glance

Onions1 large, chopped
Celery2 stalks, chopped
Garlic4 cloves, minced
Tomatoes4 large, chopped
Tomato paste2 tbsp
Chickpeas1 cup
Lentils (Green)1/2 cup
Lentils (Red)1/2 cup
Water8 cups
Parsley1/2 cup, chopped
Cilantro1/2 cup, chopped
Cumin1 tsp
Turmeric1 tsp
Cinnamon1 tsp
Black pepper1/2 tsp
Saltto taste

Enjoy your delicious Moroccan Harira soup!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions


Meat Options:
Many people add beef, lamb, or chicken to their Harira. These meats enhance the flavor and create a heartier meal.

For a vegetarian version, simply skip the meat. Use extra lentils and chickpeas to keep it filling.

Spice Levels:
You can adjust the spice according to your taste. For a milder version, use less of the hot spices. If you prefer it spicier, add more cayenne pepper or a pinch of chili flakes.

Some prefer their Harira to be thick. Add more lentils or vermicelli to achieve a thicker consistency. To make it lighter, use extra water or broth.

Try adding different herbs like parsley or mint for a fresh twist. Coriander is also a popular choice.

Serving Suggestions

Traditional Serving:
Serve Harira hot with a squeeze of lemon and a side of crusty bread.

With Rice or Couscous:
Pair Harira with rice or couscous to make it a complete meal.

Top your Harira with fresh cilantro or a dollop of yogurt for extra flavor. Sprinkle some toasted almonds for a bit of crunch.

Side Dishes:
Serve with a light salad or pickled vegetables for a balanced meal.

Feel free to try these variations and serving ideas to make Harira your own!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.