Harira (Spiced Moroccan Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas, Cilantro, and Lemon)

The only credit I can take for this recipe is that I made it following directions. As you know from a lot of my posts, I modify recipes for taste and dietary restrictions. I did change a few fresh ingredients to canned or bottled only because I don’t keep the fresh items on a regular basis. The greatness of this recipe is that it can be made heartier by adding chicken or remain vegetarian

The famous Joan Nathan is responsible for this beautiful soup and can be found in her cookbook King Solomon’s Table. I highly recommend buying a hard copy of her cookbook. There are so many gems within the chapter along with the beauty of the story behind the food. King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World: A Cookbook: Nathan, Joan, Waters, Alice: 9780385351140: Amazon.com: Books


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut in rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon harissa or dried red chile flakes, plus more for serving
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups/75 grams), divided
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups/75 grams), divided
  • 1 (15-ounce/425-gram) can tomatoes, crushed, or diced tomatoes
  • 7 cups (1 2/3 liters) chicken broth (vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 1 (15-ounce/425-gram) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup (370 grams) green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion, celery, and carrots until the onion turns translucent and begin to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, harissa or chile flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup each of the parsley and cilantro, tomatoes, and the stock or water and bring to a boil. If using the soaked chickpeas, drain them and add to the pot. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, then add the lentils, another teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper and continue simmering until the chickpeas and lentils are cooked, about 20 minutes more. If using canned chickpeas omit the first 25 minutes of simmering and add with the lentils.
  2. Whisk the flour, egg, and lemon juice into 2 cups (470 ml) of water. Stir into the soup. Simmer the soup about 5 minutes more and serve, sprinkled with the remaining cilantro and parsley. And don’t forget to have some extra harissa in a plate on the side.