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Harira recipe

Harira (Moroccan stew with chicken, chickpeas, lentils and rice) | pamela salzman

Harira is a Moroccan stew that is traditionally served during Ramadan to break the daily fast.  In my house it is a nourishing one-pot meal that is perfect for a chilly winter evening.  I have seen many versions of recipes for Harira.  Typical ingredients include lentils, chickpeas, rice or vermicelli pasta, tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs, spices and a small amount of meat, such as lamb or beef.  I have come up with my own version that is heavier on the grains and legumes with a few handfuls of greens thrown in at the end.  This is my kind of food!

One thing I love about Harira is that it’s rich in health-supportive spices.  In our country, we tend to shy away from spices like turmeric and ginger which is such a shame, because not only are they delicious, they are incredibly healing, too.  These spices and the others used in this Harira are full of phytonutrients, as well as anti-inflammatory  and cancer-preventative compounds.  Turmeric, in particular, has been hailed as the rock-star spice of late.  You may have eaten turmeric before if you’ve had curry.  It is what gives curry powder its yellow color.  Turmeric is a very powerful liver detoxifier, it improves circulation, is anti-bacterial and to repeat myself — one of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances out there.

I have heard from some parents that they are reluctant to try new flavors at the dinner table, for fear that their kids won’t like them.  The best way I have found to introduce new spices is gradually, by adding a little here and there to foods that are already in their comfort zone, such as pasta sauce or stew.   You will be giving your family such a gift by opening them up to a whole other world of flavors and healthful foods.

For the vegetarians and vegans out there, don’t pass this recipe by.  Just use water or vegetable stock for the chicken stock and double the chickpeas.  It’s already gluten-free, in case you were wondering.  This recipe makes enough for the 5 of us for dinner, but I double it quite often to get a lunch for the girls the next day.  Whatever doesn’t get eaten will freeze beautifully.  That wedge of lemon is recommended per person to squeeze on top, and before you think it’s something you can do without, think again!  The lemon really brightens the dish and adds the perfect complement to all the earthy flavors.

Harira (Moroccan stew with chicken, chickpeas, lentils and rice) | pamela salzman

harira (Moroccan stew with chicken, chickpeas, lentils and rice) | pamela salzman


5.0 from 3 reviews
Serves: 5-6
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined coconut or olive oil (I use coconut)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (or a combination of both), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4-5 grinds of black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped OR 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with the juice (I used ½ box of Pomi since I'm not a fan of canned tomatoes)
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • ½ cup dried lentils
  • ¼ cup long-grain brown rice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • A couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves (optional, but leafy greens are your friend)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Season the chicken with sea salt and pepper as early as possible.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces in 2 batches and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until softened. Add all the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the tomatoes with their juice, chickpeas and 1½ teaspoons of sea salt. Cook until fragrant.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot with any accumulated juices. Add the stock, lentils and brown rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 50 minutes.
  5. Add cilantro and parsley and cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until the chickpeas are heated through. Stir in the spinach leaves, if using. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with a wedge of lemon.


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  1. This stew was awesome — hearty, wholesome, and delicious! Thank you for another wonderful recipe, Pamela!

    • Ah, I always love it when people give this stew a try. It’s one of my favorites and so so nourishing!

  2. As soon as I saw this recipe on the weekly planner I knew I had to make it. The combination of spices is wonderful and my house smells amazing. It’s a hit!

    • So glad you gave it a go! I taught this recipe in March 2009 and I still make it regularly. 🙂

  3. Can I make this in a crock pot?

    • I think so. I would still take the time to brown the chicken and saute the veggies on the stove. Transfer all of that to the crock pot and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/3 (i am guessing here.) Chicken stews do well for 4 hours on HIGH or 6 hours on LOW. The only thing that I am on the fence about is the rice which tends to need very little time in the crock pot. So my only hope is that it doesn’t turn to mush. I am just not totally sure.

  4. The fragrance was amazing. Thank you soooo much. I work as a hospice nurse, and I know the importance of food. Good, healthy food. Thank you again. Gina T

    • Thank you for the lovely comment. 🙂

  5. This recipe is the bees knees!!!!! Oh my gosh, I think I could’ve eaten the entire pot by myself. Even my kids (3 & 6 years old) enjoyed it. Once again, thank you for yet another brilliant staple for my home.

    • Music to my ears, Irene! 🙂

  6. Mine didn’t look like yours…it came out more like a thick stew. Yours looked more like a soup. Still delicious though!

    • That’s ok!

  7. Delicious! A perfect meal on a blustry day. Thanks so much.

    • Yes, this is perfect for cold weather since it has so many warming components. 🙂

  8. Such a winner, as always! Added a head of chopped up cauliflower. Even my 17 month old twins loved it. But I think the curry chicken is still their favorite! Thanks for sharing your gems, Pamela.

    • Cauliflower is a perfect addition here! Chicken curry is Mr. Picky’s fave, too 🙂

  9. I made this tonight and it is so delicious I could barely stop going back for seconds, thirds, etc. I have a question… I added the chickpeas with the tomatoes but later down the recipe I thought perhaps I should have added them with the cilantro? Regardless, it was too good to stop eating. I am addicted to your website. Thank you, thank you!!!

    • One of my favorites!! I see where you’re coming from, but I think the chickpeas absorb more flavor if you add the with the tomatoes.

  10. Made this tonight and LOVED it! My daughter has “allowed” it to go on the regualar menu and helped herself to a 2nd serve!! Thanks for a great dish!

    • That’s great news, Deanna! Harira is a really nourishing dish. 🙂

  11. Pamela,
    Loved this recipie. I made it a little spicier and it was a big hit, perfect for the freezing weather we had in Switzerland. Definitely a keeper. I have shared it with many of my friends.
    Thank you, I look forward to each and every post of yours.

    • Spicy Harira in Switzerland. Sigh. Lucky you, Marie. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience. 🙂

  12. hi Pam: My daughter did request another soup of yours!!!!! Last time it was the Tortilla soup and tonight the Harira one. I have made it and it is amazing and perfect for the cold weather. She has not tried it yet but i am sure she will fall in love with it. I also baked the pumpkin pie as a practice for thanksgiving but have not tried it yet!!!! Thanks again Pam. I always check your site for ideas and now I hardly make Persian food!!!!

    • Your daughter has good taste. This is one of my favorites. But don’t you dare stop making Persian food!

  13. I made this the other night for my friends….sooo yummy! I have tried many of your dishes from here and i’m just thrilled i found you!

    • Welcome Dana!

  14. This dish is so delish! It’s great because it is a one dish meal. I made it for a dinner party, and it was a hit!

  15. This recipe is amazing. Everyone in my family loved it. I added some zucchini and sweet potato to the recipe also, since I had them available in my fridge. It came out great. I am sure this recipe will work with any of your favorite vegetables.

  16. Really, really good! I will definitely make it again. Thanks.

  17. Right now it’s freezing where I live and this soup hit the spot! It really warmed me up and the flavors are so rich. I didn’t have the fresh herbs on hand and I didn’t feel like going out to get them, so I made it without them and it was still delicious. I was skeptical about the lemon, but you’re right it really makes a difference. Thanks for a great recipe!

  18. This dish is fabulous for colder weather. The spices are warming and delicious. My family has given it an “A+” rating and I look forward to serving it as a company dish.

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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