A zesty tomato, lentil soup

Enjoy the flavours of Morocco with this Moroccan-style lamb, tomato and lentil soup.

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP TIME: 10 mins
  • COOKING TIME: 45 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, easy meal, crowd-pleaser
  • BUDGET: £

Moroccan-style lamb, tomato and lentil soup

September has arrived and I was all set for cooler evenings and hearty-warming dishes.

And then the Indian summer arrived!

I’m not complaining, we had a dreadful summer, with so much rain and cold wind.

This Indian summer is definitely welcomed and I’m loving being back in shorts and enjoying a pint in the warm evening air.

But it does mean, I may have jumped the gun on serving up this (delicious) recipe.

Moroccan-style lamb tomato and lentil soup


Cheap, cheerful, filling.

I used to hate them.

For no real reason, I just figured they were awful.

However, I realised the error of my ways and now have a cupboard full of dried lentils and tinned lentils.

They are a lifesaver for midweek meals and feeding hungry mouths without breaking the bank.

They take on all the flavours of the stock etc you are cooking them in so why wouldn’t you love them?

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the common lentils.

Brown Lentils

Brown lentils are used in a lot of soup recipes. 

These lentils take about 30 mins to cook but don’t overcook them, as they can turn to mush.

French Green Lentils

Le Puy lentils (also called French Green Lentils) are great for adding to soups and salads. 

They cook in about 40-45 mins.

Beluga Lentils

Black lentils (also called beluga lentils) are similar in texture to green lentils.

Beluga lentils cook for about 25-30 mins.

Hearty Moroccan-style harira

The dish I have cooked is a mix-up of a few different recipes from soups to stews.

But the influences come from the Moroccan Harira.

The origins of Moroccan lamb and lentil stew, known as “Harira,” are deeply rooted in Moroccan cuisine, culture, and history.

Harira is a traditional and hearty soup that is popular during the holy month of Ramadan.

But it’s also enjoyed throughout the year as well.

Harira is a zesty, fragrant tomato-based soup with chickpeas and lentils.

Historical Influences

  1. Berber origins: The Berber people, the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa, including Morocco, have contributed significantly to the foundation of Moroccan cuisine. Harira reflects Berber cooking methods and the use of local ingredients, including lentils, which are a staple in their diet.
  2. Islamic traditions: Morocco has a strong Islamic heritage and Harira is eaten during Ramadan.
  3. Trade routes: Morocco’s strategic location as a crossroads of trade routes between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East has contributed to the diverse array of spices and seasonings that make Moroccan cuisine so amazing.
  4. Influences from Arab and Mediterranean cultures: The use of spices, such as cinnamon, cumin, and ginger, became integral to Moroccan dishes like Harira.

Harira ingredients and prep

Moroccan lamb and lentil stew, Harira, typically consists of the following key ingredients:

  • Lamb: The use of lamb or other meats provides richness and depth to the stew.
  • Lentils: Lentils are a significant source of protein and fibre in Harira.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes contribute acidity and a vibrant colour.
  • Onions and garlic: These aromatics form the base of the dish, adding flavour and fragrance.
  • Spices: A blend of spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and saffron, create the distinct Moroccan flavour.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh herbs like coriander and parsley are often added just before serving, infusing the stew with a burst of freshness.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas add texture and protein to the stew, enhancing its overall nutritional value.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice is often added at the end to provide a tangy contrast to the richness of the stew.

The exact recipe for Harira can vary from region to region and from one family to another.

Moroccan-style lamb, tomato and lentil soup

The recipe in this post takes a lot of its influences from Harira with a few tweaks and cheats.

It’s a great midweek meal to whip up.

I used lamb neck as it’s a cheap cut but you do need to cook low and slow for an hour or so to make it tender.

But you could use a chicken breast for a quicker version.

I also used tinned lentils to shorten the cooking time.

You literally out these in 10 mins before serving to heat them through.

If you want more simple dishes using lentils, visit here.

Moroccan-style lamb tomato and lentil soup

Course Main Course
Keyword lentil stew, lentils, moroccan stew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 people
Cost £


  • 500 g lamb neck, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 x 400 g tinned green (or brown) lentils, drained
  • 1.5 ltr chicken stock
  • 50 g dried apricots, chopped (optional)
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped (for serving)
  • 1 lemon, squeezed before serving


  • In a large, lidded pan or casserole dish, heat 2 tbsp of the oil on medium-high and brown the lamb chunks. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they have softened – a few minutes.
    Lower the heat, add the chopped onions and cook gently until softened. Add the garlic and the spices and cook for a minute.
  • Add a little stock and using a wooden spoon, scrape off any brown bits stuck on the pan (this is flavour!), then add the rest of the stock and on low heat with the lid on, simmer for 45 mins or until the lamb is tender.
  • 10 mins before serving, stir into the lentils with the apricots.
    Stir through the coriander and a squeeze of lemon, then season to taste.


Taste of Marocco