Follow these simple steps at home to make my Dad’s traditional Moroccan Harira, a warming soup made to break fast during Ramadan in Morocco (Iftar). This homemade soup combines chickpeas, beef, or lamb stew meat, and rice. It’s prepared stovetop, and takes just 45 minutes to prepare.

a bowl of harira soup

A traditional Moroccan soup

The combination of the warm, tomato based soup with Moroccan mint tea, sweet dates, hearty eggs and decadent cookies (usually halwa chebakia) is the perfect meal after a long day of fasting.

This Moroccan chickpea soup isn’t just any ordinary recipe. It’s a traditional soup packed with healthy ingredients that’s prepared annually during Ramadan to break the fast (Iftar) each night.

Like many Moroccan recipes, this one uses fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley, and dried spices like ginger to develop rich flavor.

If you enjoy this Iftar soup, be sure to try it with a loaf of Moroccan bread (Khobz), Moroccan mint tea, dates, hard boiled eggs, and halwa chebakia for the full experience.

bowls of stew meat, lentils, herbs, and more

Ingredients

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Moroccan Harira:

  • Garbanzo beans (canned or dried, check out this recipe if using dried)
  • Lamb or beef (stew meat cut into 2 inch cubes) 
  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion, diced
  • Cilantro, minced
  • Parsley, minced
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Tomato puree
  • Water
  • Green lentils
  • Fideo noodles or broken vermicelli noodles or white rice
  • Optional: cornstarch + water
a bowl of Moroccan harira soup

How to Make It

Optional: In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and cold water until no clumps remain. Uncover the soup and mix in the cornstarch water slurry to thicken. 

a bowl of Moroccan harira soup

Iftar & What to eat with Harira 

Every family in Morocco has nuances and differences in how they break the fast with this Moroccan lentil soup, or what we call Iftar. 

In my family, the focus of Iftar is harira, usually accompanied by mint tea, dates, hard boiled eggs and traditional sesame honey cookies

Bonus points if you include some freshly baked Khobz (Moroccan bread).

If you’re enjoying this soup outside of Ramadan traditions, it’s wonderful accompanied by other traditional Moroccan sides too.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Making it vegan/vegetarian

The trick to making this Moroccan lentil soup vegan/vegetarian couldn’t be any easier. 

Ready for it? 

Just leave out the meat. That’s it. That’s the trick. 

This recipe packs a ton of nutrition thanks to garbanzo beans, lentils, tomatoes, onion, olive oil and spices. It is just as flavorful and delicious without the meat. 

a bowl of Moroccan harira soup

Storing Leftovers & Reheating Instructions

This Moroccan chickpea soup makes wonderful leftovers.

Like many stews and soups, the flavors seem to develop and become even better after a day or two. Store any leftovers in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

Reheat with a splash of water to loosen the broth up in the microwave or on the stovetop.

a bowl of Moroccan harira soup

A Thank You to My Dad

If there was ever a difficult post for me to write, it’s this one. This soup was the last meal my dad made for my husband and I. It was the last time we saw him before he passed in November of 2020.

It was one of his favorite recipes and one I grew up enjoying with him often, especially as a Ramadan tradition to break the fast.

My dad was always taking care of me. Whether it was making me delicious Moroccan recipes, teaching me how to cook them, or pushing me to buy that new camera I’d been dreaming about (the one I used to take these photos).

Learning from him is what I continue to miss the most; being his daughter was the greatest privilege.

Even as he cooked that last time for me, so full of life in our kitchen, he encouraged me to write down the recipe, take pictures and make notes about his technique and recipe. 

This recipe wouldn’t be what it is without him, so a very special thanks to my Baba (my dad), for teaching me how to explore. I love you endlessly. 

Bismillah,

Salima written in cursive
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a bowl of harira soup

Traditional Moroccan Harira (Lentil & Chickpea Soup)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup, Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Moroccan, North African, Mediterannean, African
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Follow these simple steps at home to make my Dad’s traditional Moroccan Harira, a warming soup made to break fast during Ramadan in Morocco (Iftar). This homemade soup combines chickpeas, beef, or lamb stew meat, and rice. It’s prepared stovetop, and takes just 45 minutes to prepare.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (soak overnight if using dried)
  • 1 lb lamb or beef (stew meat cut into 2 inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger (ground)
  • 28 oz tomato puree
  • 810 cups water
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup fideo noodles, broken vermicelli noodles, or white rice
  • Optional: 2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water

Instructions

  1. If using dried garbanzo beans, soak in a bowl of water overnight.
  2. In a heavy bottomed soup pot, add the oil, chopped onion, diced meat, half of the cilantro & parsley, salt, pepper, and ginger. 
  3. Sauté on medium high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the meat is browned and the onion translucent. 
  4. Drain the garbanzo beans and add to the pot with the tomato puree and water. Bring the liquid to a boil then cover, lower and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the garbanzos and meat are cooked through. 
  5. In a small pot add lentils and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower to a simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside while you wait for the soup to be done. 
  6. Optional: In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and cold water until no clumps remain. Uncover the soup and mix in the cornstarch water slurry to thicken. 
  7. Finally, add noodles (or rice), strained lentils and remaining cilantro & parsley. Cook until the noodles (or rice) are done. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and enjoy!