top of page

Veggie Chickpea & Spinach
Harira Soup

This soup from Sababa is filled with chickpeas and red lentils and chopped carrots and tomatoes (I used fresh but canned diced work great). It’s seasoned with ginger and garlic and dried turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and smoked paprika. I usually stir in spinach at the end but I didn’t have any so I added more chopped parsley, which I overbought. The lemon juice at the end is essential; if you don’t have a lemon add a little bit of apple cider or white wine vinegar. Soup is vegan, filling, keeps well in the fridge, and freezes like a champ.


2/3 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained

or one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

1½ teaspoons ground turmeric

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Harissa, or more to taste

2 tablespoons tomato paste

7 cups vegetable broth

6 medium tomatoes, chopped, or two 14½-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice

½ cup dried red lentils, picked over

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

⅓ cup pastina (tiny pasta), orzo, or broken vermicelli

6 cups baby spinach leaves

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


In a large (at least 5-quart) heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.


Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onions are lightly golden, 9 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and harissa and cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.


Add the broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, lentils, salt, pepper, and paprika; bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring once in a while, until the soup thickens as the lentils and chickpeas release their starch, 1 to 1½ hours.


During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the pastina to the soup, return to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue simmering, then add the spinach in handfuls until it wilts; 5 minutes before serving, add the lemon juice.


Right before serving, stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

bottom of page