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Harira - a Moroccan Spiced Chickpea, Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Harira is a dish loved all over the Middle East and commonly eaten to break the Ramadan fast. It sometimes is cooked with meat but this is a lighter vegetarian version.
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 9 hrs 20 mins
Course Entrée, Soup
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Dried Chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 1 Large Onion Chopped
  • 2 Stalks Celery Diced
  • 3 Medium Carrots Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Ras el Hanout * Or 3 tsp cumin, 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp turmeric and 1 pinch saffron
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Flakes Optional
  • 8 Tomatoes Very ripe, chopped or 2 400g tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tsp Maple Syrup Or rice syrup
  • 1 Cup Red Lentils Or brown lentils, well washed
  • 500 ML Vegetable Stock Or water
  • 100 G Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 2 Lemons 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges
  • Sea Salt Unrefined
  • Black Pepper Freshly ground
  • 1/2 Cup Coriander Leaves Finely Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley Flat leaf, finely chopped
  • Olive Oil To serve

Instructions
 

  • Soak washed chickpeas overnight in a bowl of cold water, drain and rinse very well.
  • Cook the onion in ghee and a pinch of salt until soft in a large pan.
  • Stir in celery, carrots and garlic, and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add spices, tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup, chickpeas, lentils and stock, bring to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water or stock if needed.
  • Check that the chickpeas are tender, if not simmer the soup until they are soft.
  • Add the spinach and lemon juice, and cook just for another 3 minutes.
  • Season well with salt and pepper, mix through the herbs, and serve each bowl drizzled with a little olive oil and accompanied by a wedge of lemon.

Notes

EXTRA  IDEAS:

  • Serve with warmed pita breads or slices of toasted sprouted bread.
  • In Morocco this soup is traditionally accompanied by fresh soft dates. The combination is so delicious!
  • Try this soup with 500g diced lamb, chicken thighs or beef, added when cooking the onion.
*Ras el Hanout means ‘top of the shop’ and refers to the very best blend a Moroccan spice merchant has to offer.  At The Health Emporium we sell the Herbies and the Malouf  Ras el Hanout, both of which are fragrant, versatile spice mixes, perfect for any Middle Eastern dishes.