Harira is a soup from the Maghreb region of North Africa that is especially popular as an iftar meal to break the daily fast during Ramadan. There are innumerable variations of this hearty, healthy soup, but most recipes are for chunks of lamb slow simmered with tomatoes, chickpeas, spices and herbs.

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6 to 8 servings

  • Olive oil or butter — 1/4 cup
  • Lamb, cubed for stews — 1 pound
  • Onion, chopped — 1 large
  • Celery, chopped — 2 stalks
  • Turmeric — 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon — 1 teaspoon
  • Ground ginger — 1/2 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg — 1/4 teaspoon
  • Saffron — big pinch
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 2 cups
  • Water or stock — 2 quarts
  • Chickpeas, cooked and drained — 2 cups
  • Lentils — 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper — to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped — 1/2 cup
  • Parsley, chopped — 1/2 cup
  • Lemons, cut into wedges — 2


  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the spices and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Finally pour in the stock and return the meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas, lentils, salt and pepper and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the lentils cooked through and tender.
  5. Adjust seasoning, stir in the cilantro and parsley and serve with lemon wedges for each diner to squeeze into their stew as desired.