Main Content

Traditional Moroccan Harira Soup

Harira Soup

8 oz diced lamb, chicken, or beef, as well as bones optional

3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or about 6 lg tomatoes, peeled, seeded, pureed)
1 handful dry chickpeas, soaked and peeled
2 handfuls dry green or brown lentils
1 large onion, grated
1 stalk celery (with leaves), chopped
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp smen (Moroccan preserved butter) optional
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ginger
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon – optional 
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp tomato paste – combined with 1 cup water
3 tbsp broken vermicelli
1 cup flour – combined with 2 cups water


Ahead of Time – Prep Ingredients

  • Soak chickpeas overnight. After they’ve soaked, drain and peel. (Press chickpeas one-by-one between your forefinger and thumb or by rubbing all of the chickpeas vigorously in a kitchen towel.
  • Pick through lentils to remove stones and debris; set aside until ready to use.
  • Grate the onion or process it to a thick pulp in a food processor.
  • Wash the celery and finely chop. Set aside.
  • Remove and discard large pieces of stem from the parsley and cilantro. Wash the parsley and cilantro and leave to drain thoroughly before chopping finely by hand or in a food processor.

Make the Soup

  1. In a 6-quart or larger pressure cooker or stock pot, brown the meat in the oil over medium heat. Add the soup bones if using, peeled chickpeas, pureed tomatoes, grated onion, spices, smen (if using) and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook with medium pressure for 25 minutes (or simmer on stovetop for 50 to 60 minutes).
  2. Add lentils, tomato paste mixture, chopped herbs and 9 cups water. Bring to a boil and cover.
  3. Cook soup with pressure for 45 minutes (or simmer on stovetop for 90 minutes.)
  4. Stir in the broken vermicelli. Continue simmering for a few minutes until the vermicelli is tender.
  5. Adjust seasoning if needed. Thicken soup by gradually adding the tedouira (flour and water mixture), stirring constantly to ensure that it’s well blended. DON’T just dump it all in. Add just as much as you need to get the consistency you want.
  6. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally .  Skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.

Garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro (optional)