This Moroccan Lentil Soup with Harissa in one pot for easy preparation and clean up, and it’s packed with big bold flavors. All for 300 calories, with 14 grams of plant-based protein!
From October through May, I’m practically always down for a big bowl of soup. To me, there’s nothing better than throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pot and ending up with one delicious and simple recipe that I can eat all week long. And I LOVE a good lentil soup.
If I see lentil soup on a menu, I will undoubtedly order it. As a matter of fact, this recipe is inspired by a Moroccan restaurant in the East Village of Manhattan, called Cafe Mogador. My husband and I went there on one of our first dates, and we continue to make the long trek down there whenever we want a special meal. Before visiting this cafe, I had never tried Moroccan food, but I was sold upon first bite. The food is so simple and homey, and it contains bold flavors, like harissa, cumin, and cinnamon.
What is harissa?
If you’ve never tried harissa before, be warned that it’s spicy. As a matter of fact, this soup has a little kick to it, but that’s what brings out the magnificent flavors. Harissa is a spicy chili paste, which usually also has garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint.
It’s used in Middle Easter and North African Cooking. Harissa pairs really well with other everyday spices, like cumin and cinnamon. The spiciness actually brings out the other flavors, making the soup taste really robust and complicated (even though it isn’t).
Why are lentils good for you?
If I had to choose a favorite plant-based protein, lentils would be really high on the list. With 9 grams of protein in half a cup of cooked lentils, they offer more protein than many other beans and legumes. Plus, lentils are loaded with other good-for-you nutrients, like iron, folate and fiber. [See the list of plant-based sources of iron here.]
Not to mention that lentils are EXTREMELY affordable. According to data from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost for a serving of lentils is just $0.10. You can’t even get gum for a dime anymore! Compare that to $1.49 for a serving of beef or $0.63 for a serving of chicken, and lentils are a complete steal!
The last amazing thing about this recipe is that you can make it all in one pot! First, you brown the veggies, then add spices, then lentils. Simmer for 40 minutes and enjoy!
The recipe is completely vegan, but I topped it with some Greek yogurt to balance out the spiciness. If you’re vegan, feel free to omit that topping. Grab a whole wheat pita and dive straight in!
Moroccan Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 white onion chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 plum tomato chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon harissa paste
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the oil, onion, carrots, tomato and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
Add the harissa, cinnamon, cumin, salt and parsley to the pan. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add the lentils, vegetable stock and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
(Optional) Top each bowl with a tablespoon of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.