A zesty lamb and veggie soup bursting with flavor!
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This hearty Moroccan Harira soup has a zesty tomato sauce base and is full of lamb, lentils, and chickpeas. It’s chunky, and all comes together in one pot to create a warm, cozy meal perfect for cold winter nights. Most Moroccan families have their own variations of harira soup. So, even though I think this is the perfect way to make it, I’m sharing several substitution options for you to make it your own. There are even simple ways to make it vegan and/or gluten-free! Plus, there’s an Instant Pot version for busy weeknights. It will definitely become a family favorite!
Why your family will ask for it
Melt in your mouth lamb
Warm spiced velvety tomato sauce
Slightly firm chickpeas
A comforting and zesty Moroccan soup that can be made any day of the week!
Everything you need
- Olive oil
- Boneless lamb -cut into small ½-inch pieces, or you can sub chicken or beef
- Onion -finely chopped
- Garlic cloves -grated
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Celery -ribs with leaves finely chopped
- Canned cooked chickpeas -rinsed and drained
- Uncooked green lentils -soaked and rinsed
- Vermicelli noodles -sub orzo, rice, or whatever you have on hand
- Chicken broth -or water
- All-purpose flour -or rice flour
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh parsley -or cilantro leaves finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Ground turmeric
- Ground cumin
- Ground cinnamon -or throw in a cinnamon stick
- Ground dried ginger -or fresh if you have it
- Crushed red pepper flakes -optional for heat
Vegan Moroccan Harira Soup
One of the biggest variations of this soup is the choice of meat used (lamb, chicken, beef, etc) or the choice not to use meat at all. So, make it vegan! All you need to do is omit the lamb and follow the recipe as it is. So easy!
Gluten-free Moroccan Harira Soup
If you love finding traditional recipes that are gluten-free, be ready to love this one! You can omit the flour or use the gluten-free alternative you have in your pantry. Rice flour and gluten-free all-purpose flour are great options. And use rice instead of vermicelli noodles. I guarantee there’s a family recipe out there just like it.
How to make Moroccan Harira Soup
- Cut the lamb into about the same size as the chickpeas -around 1/2-inch pieces.
- Add the lamb to a large dutch oven pot along with the olive oil.
- Cook the lamb over medium heat until browned -about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is soft -about 7-8 minutes over medium heat.
- Then, add the garlic to warm through for a few seconds until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and the spices and cook for about a minute, taking care not to burn the spices.
- Then, add the celery, broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and lentils, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas and meat are soft and tender.
- Combine the flour with 3-4 tablespoons of warm water and mix until smooth.
- Mix the flour slurry into the soup along with the vermicelli noodles and cilantro, and add more liquid if needed.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the noodles are cooked and the soup has thickened. It should be thick but at a pourable consistency.
Instant Pot Moroccan Harira Soup
Set the Instant Pot to saute and add the olive oil and lamb. Cook until browned. Add the onion and saute until golden. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and spices, and toast until just fragrant. Then, add all of the remaining ingredients except for the flour, cilantro, and vermicelli. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure and seal the vent. Pressure cook for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and set the Instant Pot to the saute setting. Combine the flour with 3-4 tablespoons of water and mix together until smooth. Then, add the flour slurry, vermicelli, and cilantro to the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and add more broth if needed. Cook until the vermicelli is cooked and the soup has thickened.
I know we put cilantro into the soup, but I also top each bowl with the fresh herb and a really generous squeeze of fresh lemon. The two brighten up the rich texture and flavor of the soup, making it hard not to drool over it. If you want to make an easy crusty homemade French bread to go with it, click here. It’s perfect for dunking. Kali Orexi!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 12 oz (340g) boneless lamb, chicken, or beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 5-6 garlic cloves, grated
- 28 oz (800g) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ribs celery with leaves, finely chopped
- 15 oz (425g) canned cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils, soaked and rinsed
- 1/4 cup rice or vermicelli noodles
- 8 cups chicken broth or water
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- lemon wedges
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Cut the lamb into about 1/2-inch pieces, around the same size of the chickpeas. Add teh lamb to a large dutch oven pot along with the olive oil.
Cook the lamb over medium heat until browned. About 5-8 minutes.
Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is soft. About 7-8 minutes over medium heat.
Add the garlic and warm through for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and the spices and cook for about a minute taking care not to burn the spices.
Add the celery, broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas and meat is soft and tender.
Combine the flour with 3-4 tablespoons of water and mix together until smooth. Add to the soup along with the vermicelli noodles. Mix together and add more liquid if needed. Also taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the noodles are cooked and the soup has thickened.
The soup should be thick but at a pourable constistency.
Top with the cilantro and serve with lemon wedges. Kali Orexi!
Make it vegan: Omit the lamb and follow the recipe.
Gluten-free: Omit the flour and vermicelli and add rice instead.
Instant Pot: Set the Instant Pot to saute and add the olive oil and lamb. Cook until golden. Add the onion and saute until golden. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spices and toast until fragrant. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the flour, cilantro, and vermicelli. Set the intsant Pot to High Pressure and seal the vent. Pressure cook for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and set the Instant Pot to the Saute Setting. Add the flour and water mixture, the vermicelli, and the cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and add more broth also if needed. Cook until the vermicelli is cooked and the soup has thickened.
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