Meatless Harira (A Moroccan soup)

Total Time
2hrs 10mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 2 hrs

This recipe is adapted from the one found in Paula Wolfert's "Couscous and Other Good Foods From Morocco". It should be stated that traditionally, the soup is made with meat, usually lamb. However, my husband (who is Moroccan) doesn't like it with meat, and so I came up with a meatless version; the broth cube adds some "meaty" flavor. Also, garam masala is Indian, not Moroccan; however, it is close to the Moroccan spice "ras el hanout" and adds a good flavor to the soup. This soup is traditionally prepared during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting; however, it is good at any time, especially when cold weather arrives.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion, parsley, celery, pepper and turmeric in the butter for a few minutes, then add the cinnamon and other spices.
  2. Saute on very low heat for about 15 minutes or less, until the onions are soft and the spices are well-distributed.
  3. Wash the lentils.
  4. Puree the coriander leaves in a blender with a little water, or pound with a mortar and pestle.
  5. Add both to the pot, along with the crushed tomatoes (I also like to puree the tomatoes in the blender before I add them, to eliminate any large chunks that might remain).
  6. Cook for 15 minutes over low heat, and then add 1 1/2 quarts of water (about 7 cups).
  7. Add the soup cube.
  8. Cook on low/medium heat until the lentils are soft (I usually let the soup cook for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend).
  9. A few minutes before serving, add salt to the soup (you could also add some vermicelli or other small soup noodle at this point, but I personally don't; if you do, make sure to allow an extra few minutes for the noodles to cook).
  10. Add the flour and water mixture; mix well to prevent lumps from forming.
  11. Serve with lemon wedges on the side, to be squeezed over the soup.


Most Helpful

This is one of the only soups my husband has ever complimented!! Easy to make, delicious, and vegetarian to boot. I forgot the flour/water combo at the end but it didn't seem necessary anyway.

Mgnbos May 09, 2010

Loved, loved, loved this one. I was a bit impatient with all the steps as I usually think of soup as a dump and simmer affair. But the wonderful layering of flavors was just superb and well worth the trouble. I halved the recipe but used a full can of chickpeas. (Speaking of the chickpeas, the instructions didn't say when to add them so I included them with the lentils.) Also added a teaspoon of harissa at the point where I mixed in the lentils. I did have to add additional water (about 3 cups) as so much of it was absorbed by the lentils and from evaporation. Instead of vermicelli, I added about 1/4 cup of Israeli couscous (the big bead-sized kind). Even the half recipe yielded about 8 cups of soup. The Morrocan chef at work makes this every week a treat for me, but I have to mine (yours) was even better. Do I dare bring some in? Did I say how much I loved this? Thanks!!!

justcallmetoni January 15, 2006

This soup is fantastic! Exactly what I've been searching for on my quest for a moroccan stew recipe. I added thin egg noodles at the end and omited the flour and water combo. Thanks!

robinwehl October 07, 2004

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