Amaranth Harira Soup


harira soup recipe

harira soup recipe

harira soup recipe

harira soup recipe

A harira soup is traditionally used as nourishment to break the Ramadan fast. It’s aromatic and comforting. It can be made vegetarian, but the slow cooking lamb along with the soup adds a depth of flavour which makes it a great dish for the cooler months. Traditionally made with legumes like green lentils, here amaranth is also used to help thicken the soup. You can easily substitute the cooked amaranth for cooked quinoa, millet, pearl barley or farro.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g lamb shoulder, diced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cups of water
  • ½ cup/ 85g green lentils
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 large bunch of parsley, chopped
  • ⅓ cup/ 70g amaranth, rinsed
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 lemon, sliced in wedges
  • 6-8 dates (1 per serving)
  • Pitta or other bread (optional)


  1. Add the olive oil to the bottom of a large, heavy bottom pot. Brown the lamb pieces all over. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and add the spices. Sautee for 5 minutes until the onion has begun to soften. 
  3. Return the lamb to the pot, add the chopped tomatoes, the water, the lentils and the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and add half the chopped coriander and parsley. Place the lid on and cook for 60 minutes.
  4. After 60 minutes of cooking, add the amaranth and stir through. Cook for another 30 minutes. 
  5. Serve the harira soup with a slice of lemon, a date and a handful of the leftover fresh herbs.

Additional notes:

  • Traditionally, the soup is also prepared with an egg stirred through the soup mixture at the end. This would be a nice option for those who would like to add extra flavor and texture to their harira soup.
  • A vegetarian option can be made without the lamb. Make sure to add only 2-3 cups of water if you are making this soup meat-free, and consider increasing the amount of amaranth and lentils. 

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Recipe by Tori Haschka & pics from Anastasia Zolotarev.