Nothing can warm you up quite like a bowl full of hearty chickpeas, lentils, plenty of warm spices. This Moroccan Chickpea Stew is simple to make in 30 minutes, naturally vegan, and it uses pantry stapes! The flavor combination of cinnamon and fresh lemon juice in the soup makes it unforgettable! We love this high-protein stew that is basically a vegan version of Harira.
This is a recipe that I used to freshly make in college for my friends. We were all hippies back then that were newly vegan, but we were growing tired of yet another bowl of black beans and rice. I combined some pantry staples one night to make this big pot of Moroccan chickpea stew, and it quickly became a house favorite!
My housemates loved the unique flavors of this stew, as commonly called harira, and it truly tastes so much better than a standard vegan soup with some beans in it. The best part is that the spice that makes this soup unforgettable is simply cinnamon! For Moroccan food, cinnamon is quite common, so once you taste this, you might be sprinkling cinnamon on more things!
The reason this is a Moroccan stew is because it contains turmeric, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon spices. My personal opinion is that the cinnamon combining with fresh lemon juice is what makes this recipe so memorable. You'll also love the high protein content, thanks to a can of chickpeas and a scoop of dry lentils.
A quick note on authentic Moroccan chickpea stew. This recipe is a vegan version of a stew called 'Harira.' Traditional Harira is a Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup that contains lamb and rice or broken pasta. My recipe here is a vegan version that mimics the meat with the smokiness of fire-roasted tomatoes.
- Olive Oil. Every good soup recipe starts with a base of olive oil to help saute the vegetables. You don't need to use extra virgin, any olive oil or cooking oil will technically work.
- Onions. This Moroccan chickpea stew calls for 2 large onions. Yes, that seems like a lot of onions, but it's pivotal for the flavor. It's about 3 cups of diced onions.
- Celery. Three stalks of celery, strings removed and sliced into crescents.
- Garlic. Two cloves of fresh garlic, minced.
- Lentils. We need just ¾ cup of dried lentils here. I recommend the brown or green lentils that are the most common in the grocery store. They melt and soften into the soup after cooking, and make it thicker.
- Turmeric. One teaspoon of ground dried turmeric brings a wonderful color and flavor to the soup. It's the secret spice in my Rajma, too!
- Cumin. We're using dried, ground cumin for this recipe; also one teaspoon. If you only have cumin seeds, use a heaping teaspoon and saute them in the olive oil with the vegetables.
- Ginger. I store fresh ginger fingers in my freezer, already peeled so that I can easily grate it into the pan. My tip for peeling ginger with a spoon and freezing it is from my Chickpea Burgers recipe.
- Cinnamon. Not common in savory recipes, adding ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to this Moroccan chickpea stew makes it taste subtly warm and spicy.
- Tomatoes. One 15-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes is best here, but if you can't find the fire-roasted ones, just use regular canned diced tomatoes.
- Chickpeas. A single 15-ounce can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) that have been drained and rinsed.
- Lemon Juice. Please do not miss the fresh lemon juice at the end, because it brightens the whole pot of soup! We need 2 tablespoons, which is about the amount of juice from 2 small lemons or 1 large lemon. The acidity of the lemon also reduces the amount of salt in this recipe.
- Cilantro. If you're a cilantro hater, fine you omit it, but use fresh parsley in its place.
This is a one-pot meal where you saute the vegetables, add all remaining ingredients along with 6 cups of water and simmer for 30 minutes. It's so simple, but I promise the flavor combination is unforgettable!
First, add the 3 cups of diced onion (from 2 large onions) to the bottom of a soup pot with the olive oil. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
Then, add the celery and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the onions are golden brown. Stir frequently to prevent the onions from burning. Before the next step, stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
Now it's time to add the dry lentils, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, tomatoes and 6 cups of water. Stir together very well, and place a lid partially on the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes, and taste a few lentils to ensure they're tender all the way throughout.
A few minutes before serving, stir in the chickpeas. Let the chickpeas warm through, and then stir in the fresh lemon juice and cilantro. Serve this Moroccan chickpea stew immediately.
Variations on Moroccan Chickpea Stew
- Spice - If you envision this soup with a bit of spice, feel free to add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
- Protein - As written, this recipe is entirely vegan, but traditional Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup) is usually made with lamb.
- Low-Sodium - This entire pot of stew only has ½ teaspoon of salt, because the lemon juice brings a salt-like flavor. Acidity can help reduce the salt in any recipe.
How to Store
This Moroccan chickpea stew keeps in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. The spices deepen as it sits, and it is even more delicious on day 2.
How to Freeze
Since this recipe makes a lot of soup, you can portion out servings into freezer-safe containers (like Souper Cubes), and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, place in pot with a splash of water or vegetable broth and heat until steaming hot.
Other Chickpea Stew Recipes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup brown lentils
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 15-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups water
- 1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Add oil to a deep soup pot or Dutch oven, and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the celery and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the onions are golden.
- Stir in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the lentils, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, tomatoes and 6 cups of water. Bring this mixture to a simmer.
- Simmer with lid partially on the pot for about 30 minutes. Taste the lentils to ensure they’re tender and cooked all the way through.
- Stir in the beans and cook just to warm though.
- Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and lemon juice.
Spice - You can add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper for more spice.
Protein - As written, this recipe is entirely vegan, but traditional Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup) is usually made with lamb.
Low-Sodium - This entire pot of stew only has ½ teaspoon of salt, because the lemon juice brings saltiness.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 8gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g