Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Harira

Gather around and feed a crowd!

My hearty and warming rendition of a North African classic. Harira (hareera) is a classic Moroccan spiced lentil & chickpea vegetable soup. I should confess by saying that I cannot claim my harira is traditional in any way but rather an ode to the fragrant market souks of Marrakech I once visited.

Did you know that I ran a small kitchen for 3 years delivering handmade food to busy people across Cape Town? It was hectic but I got to feed people which I kinda love, but before I get carried away, this soup was on our delivery menu and it is still one of my favourites its nourishing and comforting.

Full to the brim with the additions of chickpeas, lentils and ‘use what you have’ veggies which all come together in harmony with my very own harira spice mix. The soup is just as hearty without the chickpeas and you can easily leave them out, but I like the texture and always add them.

There is a slight chilli kick which you can omit if serving chilli sensitive souls.

Serve with:

  1. Middle Eastern Focaccia 
  2. Quick Flatbreads with Spiced Butter 

Getting Aheadas with any spiced dish, this soup will taste better the next day (or two). Perfectly freezer friendly too.

Seasonal SwapsWe are basically chopping all sorts of vegetables into small dice, use what you have as long as you include the holy trio of diced onion, celery and carrots (called a soffritto) you are good to go!

Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Harira

Indulge in the warmth and nourishment of my vegetable harira soup, a vibrant medley of vegetables and aromatic spices, for a comforting and flavoursome experience that delights the senses and supports overall well-being.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Diet Gluten-free, Vegan
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 120g carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 100g celery sticks, topped and tailed and finely diced
  • 1 large onion peeled and finely diced
  • 300 g sweet potatoes/butternut peeled and finely diced
  • 2 potatoes 60g peeled and finely diced
  • 2 fat garlic cloves 1 tablespoon, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas drained
  • 1,6 litres veggie stock hot (possibly 200ml more)
  • 10 g coriander leaves only picked & finely chopped (freeze the stalks)

Moroccan Harira Spice Mix

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes opt
  • 1 pinch saffron mixed with 1 tablespoon of boiling water opt

Instructions
 

  • In a dry frying pan (no oil) on a medium heat, add the spices and swirl the pan until you can smell the spices. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, on a medium heat add 4 tablespoons oil, add the onion, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, turn the vegetables around in the oil, cook covered, stirring occasionally until the veggies are soft (about 25 minutes). When you are lifting the lid to stir the veggies, let the water (created by the steam in the pot) drip back into the saucepan keeping the veggies moist.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and spices and stir until fragrant, a couple of minutes.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, hot stock, saffron (opt), brown lentils and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook covered and simmer gently until the lentils are soft.
  • Add the can of drained chickpeas.
  • At this stage judge the amount of liquid in your soup. The soup will thicken as it cools down (as the lentils will absorb more water). Give the soup a good swirl and think soup rather than stew, I added another 200ml (1 cup) hot stock but you might be happy with your consistency.
  • Swirl the soup and taste for final seasoning.
  • Let the soup cool slightly and only then add the chopped coriander.
  • Serve with some yogurt on the side and flatbreads. Enjoy!

Notes

Roasting Spices: Spices have a unique flavour compound inside them. Once heated the aroma is released releasing its flavour. I roast most of my spices, whole or ground, which makes them more flavourful.
Adding fresh herbs: Fresh herbs are delicate little things and to adding them to really hot soups will not only dampen their vibrant colour but their flavour as well. I prefer to add my soft herbs, (like coriander and basil, parsley can take a heat beating or two) once my soup has cooled down a bit, prob about 20min or so.

Add ons

Would go wonderfully with a dollop of greek yogurt which you can also spice up with some rose harissa (yum!).
Most soups can do with dunking some sort of bread into it, given the Moroccan vibes, I tend to gravitate towards a flatbread.
Oh yes, the spice mix below is a keeper, so double up and keep in a jar in your cupboard ready to use while
  • roasting veggies,
  • spicing some mixed beans
  • roasted sweet potato hummus
  • roasting some cauliflower & chickpeas to go inside a pita
  • (the list is really endless)
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was by tagging @adreskitchen on Instagram!