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Lamb Harira Soup: Discovering the Richness & Comfort

Harira soup is a traditional North African dish, particularly popular in Morocco, that is often consumed to break the fast during Ramadan, although it is also enjoyed throughout the year. This hearty and nutritious soup is a delightful blend of tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, and meat, typically seasoned with a rich mix of herbs and spices such as cilantro, parsley, saffron, and ginger, which lend it a unique and aromatic flavour.

By focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoiding processed ingredients and excessive sugars, this recipe supports metabolic health and can be a delightful addition to a diet aimed at managing diabetes or thyroid conditions. However, individual dietary needs can vary, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian to tailor dietary choices to your specific health requirements.

Basic Ingredients for Lamb Harira Soup


Tomatoes: Fresh or canned, tomatoes add a rich, tangy base to the soup, contributing to its vibrant color and providing a source of vitamins and antioxidants.

Lentils: Lentils are a key ingredient for their protein content, fibre, and texture. They help thicken the soup while providing nutritional benefits.

Chickpeas: Used either dried and soaked or canned, chickpeas add a hearty element to the soup, offering protein, fiber, and a nutty flavor.

Meat: Often lamb, beef, or chicken, meat is included for its richness and to add depth of flavour. It makes the soup more filling and provides protein.

Coriander and Parsley: These herbs are crucial for their fresh, aromatic flavours, brightening the soup and balancing the hearty ingredients.

Spices: Common spices include ginger, turmeric, saffron, and cinnamon. Each spice adds its unique flavour and health benefits, contributing to the soup’s distinctive taste.

Broth: Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth enhances the soup’s flavour base, adding depth and richness.

Noodles or Rice: Sometimes added for extra body and texture, they make the soup more substantial.

Lemon Juice: Added for a touch of acidity, it balances the flavours and adds a fresh note to the dish.

alternative ingredients

Vegetarian/Vegan Version: Skip the meat and use vegetable broth to cater to vegetarian or vegan diets.

Different Proteins: You can use different types of meat or even tofu as a protein substitute.

Grains: Instead of traditional noodles or rice, consider barley, quinoa, or even couscous.

Leafy Greens: Spinach or kale can be added for extra nutrition and colour.

Spices: Adjust spices based on availability or preference. For example, use cumin or coriander if you prefer their flavours.

Preparation Tips for Lamb Harira Soup

  • Soak Chickpeas: If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight to reduce cooking time.
  • Sauté Aromatics: Begin by sautéing onions, garlic, and spices to build a flavour foundation.
  • Cook Meat Thoroughly: If including meat, ensure it’s well-cooked before adding other ingredients.
  • Simmer Slowly: Allow the soup to simmer gently to develop flavours and tenderize the ingredients.
  • Adjust Consistency: Add more broth or water if the soup is too thick. If too thin, let it simmer longer to reduce.

Serving Tips for Lamb Harira Soup

  • Lemon Wedges: Serve with lemon wedges on the side for guests to add a fresh zing.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with additional cilantro or parsley for a burst of freshness.
  • Bread: Offer Moroccan bread or another crusty loaf for dipping.
  • Side Dishes: Serve with dates or a simple salad for a complete meal.

storage tips

  • Refrigeration: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze in suitable containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheating: Reheat gently, adding liquid if needed to adjust the consistency.

Lamb Harira Soup

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 300 g lamb cubes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 ripe tomatoes or 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste, combined with 1-2 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas, wash and drained
  • ½ cup long grain rice
  • ½ cup green lentils
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 ½ litres water
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • ½ cup vermicelli noodle


  • Soak rice in water 30-60 minutes. Wash, drain and keep on the side.
  • Soak green lentils in water for 30-60 minutes. Wash, drain and keep on the side.
  • In a large heavy bottom pot add in olive oil and sauté onion for 3 to 5minutes until they have softened. Add brown the lamb cubes and cook until browned. Mix in the tomato paste, season with salt and pepper then chopped tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes until it develops a rich red colour.
  • Stir in the celery, chickpeas, green lentils, and rice. Season with turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, black pepper and salt, and top with 2 ½ litres of water.  Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pot and allow to simmer on medium heat for about 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Add the vermicelli noodles to the soup pot. Stir the fresh coriander and fresh parsley together and leave to simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until the vermicelli is cooked and the soup has thickened.
  • Serve in a bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley and a slice of lemon on the side.

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