This vegan harira is a meat-free version of a traditional Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup. Get ready for a serious explosion of flavour from the toasted spices and harissa paste. Besides being delicious, harira is also easy to make using mostly pantry staples.
Harira is a traditional Moroccan comfort soup made with lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, meat, toasted spices, and fresh herbs. It’s a filling and satisfying dish that’s particularly popular for breaking the fast during Ramadan, even though it’s served year-round. This is a fragrant, slightly spicy soup that’s sure to become a favourite.
This vegan harira recipe remains faithful to the traditional ingredients, apart from the meat. Plant-based harira is just as good as the classic version, and it allows everyone to enjoy some absolutely amazing flavours guilt-free. It’s actually so good, there will be no complaints from meat-eaters.
There are numerous variations of harirs out there, with some versions including vermicelli or rice. I chose to skip them because I find this vegan harira soup super satisfying with just the veggies, chickpeas and lentils.
What goes into harira soup?
Onion, carrot, and celery — Just like in the case of any other good soup, making harira starts with sauteeing these three veggies in some extra virgin olive oil.
Spices — There are many variations when it comes to the spices that go into harira, and I chose to keep it simple. I use a blend of ground cumin, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger, plus one heaped tablespoon of harissa paste. You may also use some ground turmeric, ground pepper, and chilli flakes, but you need to be careful with the last two if you’re using harissa paste unless you like your soup on the fiery side.
Chickpeas — I use tinned chickpeas for this harira soup, as they’re a great shortcut. If you want to use dry chickpeas, soak them overnight, then simmer them for 30-40 minutes (or cook them in a pressure cooker) before using them in this recipe.
Lentils — Green lentils are an excellent choice for harira, but you can also use brown lentils or a combination of green/brown lentils and red lentils. Don’t use just red lentils, as the texture is not right for this type of soup (it will be too mushy).
Fresh herbs — Parsley and coriander are the herbs that are most commonly used in harira. As I may have mentioned before, I’m personally not a fan of coriander, as I find it overpowering, so I often skip it. The soup is delicious with just parsley, too.
How do you make vegan harira?
Start by sauteeing the onions, carrots, and celery in a bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
Stir in the cumin, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger and continue to cook for a minute to release the flavours.
Next, stir in the harissa paste, then add the chickpeas, lentils, chopped tomatoes and stock.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir in the fresh parsley and coriander if using and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges.
How do you serve this Moroccan chickpea soup?
Harira is satisfying on its own, but you can serve it with some pita bread if you want. It also goes well with lemon juice, which really brings out the flavours, so serve it with some lemon wedges, so everyone can squeeze as much juice as they want. You can also garnish it with some fresh coriander if you like.
Recipe tips and notes
- If you don’t want to use oil, you can make this an oil-free harira by sauteeing the veggies in a bit of vegetable stock or simply water.
- You can store this chickpea harissa soup in the fridge for up to 3 days. Harira actually tastes great when reheated because the flavours deepen further. However, keep in mind that the soup may thicken in the fridge, so add a bit of water or stock when reheating it.
- Harissa is often thickened with a mix of flour and water that get mixed together until smooth.
If you liked this vegan harira recipe, you might also like some of my other easy vegan soup recipes:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chickpeas, drained
- 200 g (7 oz) green lentils
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
- 1.25 litres (5 cups) vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot, and celery for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Stir in the cumin, ground cinnamon and ground ginger and continue to cook for a minute to release the flavours. Next, stir in the harisa paste, then add the chickpeas, lentils, chopped tomatoes and stock.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentis are tender. Stir in the fresh parsley and coriander if using and simmer for another 2-3 minute. Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges.
Amount Per Serving Calories 363Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 0mgSodium 979mgCarbohydrates 53gFiber 15gSugar 12gProtein 16g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.