For Moroccans, harira soup is a Ramadan ritual. Every evening families sit down to bowls of steaming harira – even when daytime summer temperatures soar about the 100F mark. I love soup, but the last thing I want to do is leave my stove on for hours during the hottest part of summer. Instead, I created this quicker version to satisfy the Ramadan ritual but keep my house at a tolerable temperature.
Traditional harira is made with dried lentils, dry chickpeas, rice, vermicelli noodles, a potpurri of herbs and spices, vegetables, and meat – most often lamb. If you’ve ever cooked with dry chickpeas you’ll know this part of the cooking process can take hours, just to soften the beans. I really prefer this soup without meat (but that’s kind of every food lately!), and omitting meat automatically cuts off cooking time. My next shortcut is to use a pre-made broth.
I rarely ever reach for a vegetable broth when cooking, mostly because I’ve never found one that tastes good. Often I find them bland, with the only flavor of salt coming through. I really love Saffron Road’s Vegetable Broth because it’s the opposite of every other brand I’ve tasted. If I were taking the traditional route for this soup, I would chop up a bunch of vegetables to create a broth, but really there’s no need when using this broth. It has all the flavor I was looking for. More time saved!
I wasn’t sure how this short-cut soup was going to be received but surprisingly MarocBaba actually preferred this version to others that I have made. I know that this is one recipe I’ll be holding onto for a long time to come. When the temperatures drop I’ll be wanting a big giant bowl of this harira to warm me up.
**Great News! Saffron Road products will be on sale at Whole Foods August 6-8th. Also, if you’re a fan of their frozen entrees the are increasing distribution! They are now selling family sized Lamb Saag at Costco in AZ, NM, CO, UT, NV & CA. Also, starting around August 9th they will be selling family sized Chicken Tikka Masala at Costco in ME, VT, NH, CT, NY, NJ, PA (some), MD, DE, VA. You can always check out the store locator on their website to find a store near you.
- 1 medium to large onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 3-4 tomatoes as fresh as possible
- 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 handful chopped cilantro
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1½ tsp Black Pepper
- 1Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Turmeric
- 1 small pinch Saffron crushed (if desired)
- ½ c canned organic garbanzo beans
- ¼ c lentils (rinsed)
- 1/4 c rice (I use long grain or basmati)
- 3 cups water
- 1 carton Saffron Road Vegetable Broth
- Food Processor
- Heat olive oil in large stockpot on the stovetop.
- Finely chop onion and garlic, and saute in the stockpot.
- Wash and core tomatoes and then puree in a food processor along with parsley and cilantro.
- Add tomato and herb puree along with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric (and saffron if desired) to the pot.
- Next, add water, tomato paste and 1 carton of Vegetable Broth to the mix.
- Bring the soup to a boil and add lentils, rice, and garbanzo beans and reduce heat to medium. Cover.
- Once the lentils and rice are tender (will vary but about 20 minutes) turn down the heat.
- You can thicken the soup by adding a flour roux or leave as is.
- The harira should be thick but still have a soup consistency.
This soup took about 1 hour start to finish to make. Traditional harira takes several more. You might not be making this every night, but by making one big pot you’ll be guaranteed leftovers. To preserve, transfer soup to smaller sized, freezer safe containers and allow to cool completely. Cover the containers, and pop into the freezer. When you want to use it again, transfer to your refrigerator until the soup can be removed from the container. You could also submerge it part way in warm water. Heat through in a pan on the stove top.