Moroccan Harira soup with lentils and chickpeas

This wholesome, aromatic soup is commonplace in Morocco. Traditionally served to break fast during Ramadan but eaten also throughout the year, this dish is familiar and warming. Consisting of lentils, chickpeas, rice and vegetables, it goes a long way to fuel your day, whilst being very delicious.


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds

  • 8 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 3 celery sticks. finely chopped

  • 2 carrots, finely chopped

  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

  • 4 tbsp tomato puree

  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 80g Basmati rice

  • 200g green lentils

  • handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • handful of coriander leaves

  • 1 litre vegetable stock

  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • sea salt

  • 2 tsp harissa paste (to serve only, this one is great)

  • 1 tbsp of moscatel or red wine vinegar (for sharpness)


  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan to bring out their flavour. Place a frying pan on a medium heat, add the cumin seeds then reduce the heat to low. Toast the seeds for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Leave to cool, then grind into a fine powder. (or feel free to remove this step and used ready-ground cumin if you are short on time or just otherwise inclined).

  2. Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a large casserole pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10-12 minutes until soft and sticky. Add the garlic, mix well and cook for 10 seconds until fragrant. Add the toasted cumin, along with the other spices and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for a few seconds so the spices are fragrant.

  3. Tip the tomatoes and tomato puree into the pan. Add the chickpeas, rice and lentils, the herbs and pour over the stock. Mix well and bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (until the rice and lentils are cooked). Check the seasoning, then add the lemon juice and vinegar. Serve in bowls with a hint of harissa and warm flatbreads.

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