This Mediterranean-inspired Moroccan Bean Soup is a quick-fix but hardy meatless soup filled with beautiful, fragrant flavors. It’s a healthy one-pot meal, cooked in 20 minutes, that can be served with poached eggs or even chicken, lamb, or beef for additional protein.
A simple and easy-to-make soup based on authentic Harira recipes that feature tomatoes, lentils, and chickpeas. It’s a popular comfort food in Mediterranean regions.
One of the things I love about this soup, other than its flavor, is how adaptable it is to what’s in my pantry and refrigerator. While traditionally made with broad beans, I’ve given you some ideas for substituting beans you may already have on hand.
But first, back to the origins of this soup.
What is Harira Bean Soup?
The name harira is derived from an Arabic word that means “smooth” or “silk,” depicting the texture of the soup, despite the beans and lentils added. The silky texture is mostly like a reference to the texture of the broth after it’s been thickened with eggs.
A common soup found in Moroccan homes, and restaurants, and even served as street food. Traditionally, it’s cooked with lamb or lamb broth and often paired with lemon slices or juice, crusty bread, figs, and chebakia, a honey-rosewater flavored pastry.
Harira Soup recipes vary from family to family, with recipes passed down through generations.
Moroccan Bean Soup Ingredients
This simple soup requires only a handful of pantry ingredients, plus some soup-making standbys like onions, carrots, and celery. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here’s the list of what you’ll need:
- Olive oil for sautéing the vegetables
- Vegetables: Onion (I prefer a yellow or sweet onion), carrots, celery, and garlic
- Seasoning: Ground turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger. You’ll also need salt and pepper to taste.
- Pantry ingredients: Canned tomatoes, chickpeas, broad beans/fava beans (see other substitution notes for Fava beans below), and dried green lentils (or lentil of choice).
- Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnishing; optional but really tasty. You can also use other fresh herbs you have on hand.
What are Broad Beans?
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are a popular legume in Mediterranean cooking. They are large and flat beans with a creamy texture once cooked.
These beans are a common ingredient in Harira soup. If you’re not a fan of fava beans, here are three bean options that make a good substitutions:
- Lima Beans
- Cannellini Beans
- Kidney Beans
All you need to make this Moroccan Bean Soup is a large saucepan or medium-sized soup pot, like a Dutch oven. A good knife is handy to chop the onions, carrots, and celery, and a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to sauté the vegetables.
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- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 to 5 cups water
- 15-ounce can tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup dried green lentils
- 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
- 2 (15-ounce) cans butter beans (or Fava beans)
- Fresh cilantro or parsley to garnish
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or medium-sized Dutch oven. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger; stir and cook for a few seconds or until fragrant. Then stir the water, tomatoes, dry lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans (or bean of choice). Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through. Add additional water if necessary.
- To make it a heartier meal, serve with poached eggs on top or with added cooked chicken, beef, or lamb. Top with fresh cilantro or parsley.