Algerian Ramadan Soup (Harira)

Harira is a traditional North African soup prepared in Morocco and Algeria. Algerian harira differs from Moroccan harira in that Algerian version does not contain lentils. It is popular as a starter but is also eaten on its own as a light snack. There are many variations and it is mostly served during Ramadan to break the day’s fast. Harira has become so popular that it is served throughout the year throughout all of North Africa.

Like Muslims, who traditionally have the filling soup for Iftar meals (after sundown during Ramadan), Jews often break their fast with it during Yom Kippur as well.

Harira Algerian Ramadan Soup chickpea lamb soup

Harira- Algerian Ramadan Soup

This soup has an endless list of ingredients but most are common cupboard items. The soup is actually fairly easy to make and very filling. Squeeze a little lemon in to brighten it up right before eating. Although traditional Harira includes lamb or chicken, the soup can easily be made vegan or vegetarian by replacing the meat and broth with vegetables. The optional addition of lentils and preserved lemon leans this recipe more towards the Moroccan version. It is a unique and exceptionally tasty soup.
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Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: African, Algeria, North Africa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large pot or Dutch Oven


  • 3 tbsp Olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 lb Lamb, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large Yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp Celery leaves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Ginger root, minced
  • 28 oz Canned diced tomato
  • 4 oz Tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Each: Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp Preserved lemon, minced (optional)
  • 2 tsp Harissa (optional, adds flavor and heat) Homemade Harissa Recipe
  • 8 cups Beef broth (Sub: vegetable broth for Vegan or vegetarian version)
  • cup Dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (Sub: 2 cans)
  • ½ cup Dried brown or red lentils (Sub: soaked fava beans)
  • 2 oz Angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large Lemon, cut into wedges for serving


  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb cubes and transfer to a plate.
  • Add onions to the pot and cook until they become translucent and are beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the celery leaves, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, all the spices, and preserved lemon and harissa, if using. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring to combine.
  • Return beef and its juices to the pot along with the chickpeas and lentils. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours.
  • Stir in broken pasta and cook 3 minutes more. Add more water if necessary. If you want, garnish with some chopped cilantro and celery leaves. Serve in bowls with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over harira.


  • Soup tastes even better the next day after flavors deepen.
  • If dish is made ahead, don’t add the pasta until just before serving. Reheat the soup and add more water if it thickened too much. Adjust salt.


Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 1206mg | Potassium: 1001mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 6mg

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