Vegetarian Harira

This is a vegetarian version of Harira, a traditional, savory Moroccan soup. It is incredibly full-flavored- loaded with spices and legumes.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I added fresh lemon juice, used canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried garbanzo beans, and increased the amount of garlic. Tanis recommends serving the soup the day after it is prepared in order to allow the flavors to meld.

We ate it with warm naan and green salad. It was hearty, healthy, filling, and delicious.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced, about 2 cups
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 (3-inch) piece cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned (I used 2 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled dried fava beans or 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ¼ pound angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Put olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, saffron and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Add tomatoes, celery leaves and cilantro and bring to a brisk simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and dried faves or soaked chickpeas.
  6. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, covered with the lid ajar.
  7. Let soup simmer for 30 minutes, then taste broth and adjust salt.
  8. Cook for 1 hour more at a gentle simmer, until the legumes are soft and creamy. It may be necessary to add more liquid from time to time to keep soup from being too porridge-like. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. (With every addition of water, taste and adjust for salt.)
  9. Just before serving, add pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add fresh lemon juice.
  11. Ladle soup into small bowls and pass lemon wedges for squeezing, as desired.
Note: The soup may be made in advance and refrigerated. (This is recommended!) If it thickens, thin with water or broth when reheating, and adjust the salt.

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Curry Noodles with Shrimp & Coconut

I lucked out when I chose this recipe to serve to my brother. As I prepared it, he filled me in on his latest Asian noodle obsession- and all of the fabulous ramen noodle hot spots in Brooklyn and NYC. Fun! Thankfully, this dish was equally amazing-  I don’t like to be outdone… 😉

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. Tanis also suggests substituting chicken, tofu, or vegetables for the shrimp, if desired. A perfect summer meal. Quick, fresh, and tasty!!

  • 12 to 14 ounces rice noodles (vermicelli)
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup slivered scallions
  • cilantro, basil and mint leaves, for garnish
  1. Cook rice noodles according to package directions, then drain and rinse well with cool water. Set aside. (I boiled a pot of water, removed it from the heat and soaked the vermicelli for about 10 minutes.) Keep a pot of boiling water on stove for reheating noodles later.
  2. Toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and allspice berries in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant, then grind in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Put coconut oil in a wide skillet (use a skillet that has a lid- for later) over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add lemongrass, garlic and ginger to softened onions and cook for 2 minutes more.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, then add ground coriander, cumin, fennel and allspice. Add turmeric, cayenne, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and coconut milk. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  6. Season shrimp and cherry tomatoes with salt. Add to pan and cover until shrimp are cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Dip noodles briefly in hot water to reheat, then drain and divide among bowls.
  8. Spoon shrimp, tomatoes and sauce over each serving.
  9. Sprinkle with scallions and garnish with cilantro, basil and mint leaves.

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