Vegan harira may be inspired by tradition, but it’s definitely not traditional—especially with those noodles added. But man, is it good.
I first learned of Harira from my friend Aziz Mtoua, a Casablanca native. It’s the soup you eat to break the fast of Ramadan, and he always makes it with lamb. Which, for me, is not going to work. (I think you either grow up with lamb or you don’t eat it.)
So when I saw this version from my go-to vegan cookbook—Isa Does It, a truly genius volume from Isa Chandra Moskowitz—I had to give it a try. Of course, it’s wonderful when you can perfect late summer eggplant and tomatoes (for a comprehensive guide to how to grow eggplant, check out this post from the good folks at Happy DIY Home). But because you cook the eggplant in a way that helps it dissolve, you basically are getting the texture and the marvelous benefits of eggplant, along with its subtle just-a-little-sweet taste—so you can make it with winter eggplant and it will still be awesome. It’s wonderfully warming in a chilly Michigan January.
As Isa says, the noodles are wildly untraditional. And, as I said, man, are they good.
This is a fine soup to make ahead of time for your Moroccan weekend. It’s pretty darn wonderful any time of year. Serve it with good flatbread, and maybe some simple sliced cucumbers and grated carrots on the side.
Want to see how easy it is? Watch the video:
And if you make this Vegan Harira, please take a pic and tag @headroamer on Instagram or Twitter. And of course, let me know what you think by leaving a comment.Print
Vegan Harira: Easy and Delicious
This gorgeous rich vegan version of Harira, the classic Moroccan soup eaten to break the fast of Ramadan, has been adapted from a recipe by Isa Chandra Moscovitz in her essential vegan cookbook, Isa Does It. Easy, and a great gateway for people who swear they hate eggplant, which dissolves into the soup to become undetectable.
1 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups broth
1/2 # peeled eggplant, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup green or brown lentils
1 t sweet paprika
1/2 t saffron threads or turmeric
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted or with hot peppers if desired
2 ounces thin noodles (angel hair or ramen)
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned (about 1/2 a can)
2–3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and cilantro
Heat a pan that will easily hold 2 quarts of soup over med high heat. When hot, add olive oil. Saute the onion with a little salt 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and stir another minute, til fragrant, reducing heat to medium if necessary.
Deglaze the pot with a splash of broth, then add eggplant, lentils, and remaining spices. Add ONLY 2 cups of broth; this way the soup boils faster and breaks down the lentils and eggplants, which is key to get the rich texture of the soup.
Cover the pot (but not too tight, you want steam to escape) and boil the soup, lowering the heat to keep a low boil for about 20 minutes total. Toward the end, add the remaining broth, the tomatoes, and the pasta and let the soup boil enough to cook the pasta (see package directions). When pasta is al dente, stir in the chickpeas. Top the soup with the fresh herbs.
This meal goes beautifully your favorite flatbread. Recipe adapted from Isa Does It, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, ©2013, Little Brown and Company. New York.