Moroccan Harira Soup


I am very happy to show you my take on what I'm told is Morocco's most popular soup – and once you taste it you'll understand why since the combination of pasta, lentils, and chickpeas is so hearty, so flavorful, and so satisfying, it is without a doubt one of the best soups you'll ever enjoy. If you like a vegetarian harira soup, you can leave off the lamb.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins

Moroccan Harira Soup – The Best Soup You're Not Eating

I try not to fall prey to obvious click-bait recipe links, but I have to admit, I do enjoy the ones that say, "The Best [Fill in the Blank] You're Not Eating." Maybe it's the fear of missing out, or my perpetual quest for recipes I haven't filmed, but the idea that there might be some incredibly delicious thing I don't even know exists is just too much to bear. That's not where I got the idea to share this amazing Moroccan harira, but if I did a list called, "The Best Soups You're Not Eating," this would be at the top.

I added some cubed up lamb shoulder to mine, which works wonderfully well with the other flavors here, but the combination of the lentils and chickpeas, along with the starchy goodness of the pasta makes for a very hearty, satisfying soup, whether you use meat or not. Besides going full plant-based, I've heard beef or chicken are also great choices, so as usual, feel free to play around with the ingredient list.

Sadly, I've never been to Morocco, but I'm told this is the national soup, and once you taste it, it's not hard to understand why. Like all great soups, this warms the body, and comforts the soul, but there's something else happening I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's the silkiness from the slurry, or the warming, aromatic spices, but whatever is going on produces a truly unique soup that simply can't be missed, and I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Moroccan Harira Soup
Chef John


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

  • 12 ounces boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces (Optional)

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, or to taste

  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 ribs celery with leaves, chopped

  • 2 cups water, or to taste

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained

  • ¾ cup green lentils, rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons cold water

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided

  • ½ cup vermicelli, broken into 1/2-inch pieces

  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 lemon, juiced


  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat and cook cubed lamb until nicely browned and some of the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.

  2. Toss in diced onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, ground ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon. Add minced garlic and cook and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  3. Add tomato paste and cook and stir for about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and celery; stir until well combined. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat.

  4. Once soup is boiling, add chickpeas and green lentils; season with salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Mix flour and 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl and drizzle slurry into the soup to thicken. Bring back to a simmer and add 1/2 of the cilantro and 1/2 of the parsley; stir to combine. Simmer on medium-low heat until meat and lentils are perfectly tender and soup has thickened, about 20 more minutes.

  6. Stir in vermicelli and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with cayenne and salt. Add remaining chopped cilantro and parsley and finish by drizzling lemon juice to taste into the soup.

  7. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

214 Calories
6g Fat
33g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 214
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 1241mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 10g
Potassium 620mg 13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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