Authentic Algerian Harira Recipe - Hearty and Delicious

Algerian Harira

Authentic Algerian Harira Recipe - Hearty and Delicious
Region / culture: Algeria | Preparation time: overnight | Cooking time: 2 hours | Servings: 6-8


Algerian Harira
Algerian Harira

Algerian Harira is a rich and hearty soup that is traditionally served during Ramadan to break the fast, but it is also enjoyed throughout the year. This soup is a delightful blend of meat, legumes, vegetables, and spices, making it a nutritious and satisfying meal. Its complex flavors and textures make it a favorite among many. This recipe offers a glimpse into the traditional preparation of Harira, with room for personal preference in ingredients, showcasing the versatility and adaptability of this beloved dish.


Harira's origins can be traced back to the Maghreb region of North Africa, where it has been a staple for centuries. It is most closely associated with Algeria and Morocco, where it has evolved through generations. The recipe has been influenced by the various cultures that have inhabited the region, including Arab, Berber, and Ottoman influences. Traditionally, Harira was prepared to provide a nourishing meal to break the fast during Ramadan, but its popularity has made it a common dish for all occasions.


How to prepare

  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until it is just starting to brown. If the meat starts to release water, increase the heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add 1.5 - 2 qt (1.89 liter) of water. The amount of water depends on the number of servings desired.
  5. Add the chickpeas and the spice blend of your choice. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour.
  6. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Consider if anything is missing. Would you like more cumin or the heat of hot peppers? If so, add them.
  7. Add the white beans and bulgur and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Add the lentils, carrots, and celery and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Add the vermicelli and cook for three more minutes.


  • 1. Vegetarian Harira: Omit the lamb and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version.
  • 2. Chicken Harira: Substitute lamb with chicken for a lighter version.
  • 3. Spicy Harira: Add chili peppers or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. For a richer flavor, brown the meat well before adding the water.

2. Soak the chickpeas and lentils overnight to reduce cooking time and enhance their texture.

3. Use a blend of fresh herbs for a vibrant flavor profile.

4. Adjust the thickness of the soup with water or broth according to your preference.

5. Simmer the soup gently to allow the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Harira hot, garnished with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander and parsley. It can be accompanied by dates and a slice of crusty bread for a traditional experience.

Cooking Techniques

Slow simmering is key to developing the flavors in Harira. Using a pressure cooker can reduce cooking time while still achieving a depth of flavor.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. Quinoa or rice can be used instead of bulgur wheat for a gluten-free option.

2. Any type of beans can be substituted for chickpeas or lentils based on availability or preference.

Make Ahead Tips

Harira tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld. It can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Harira in a traditional clay pot or a colorful bowl, garnished with lemon wedges and fresh herbs. A side of olives and a plate of dates can enhance the presentation and offer a more authentic experience.

Pairing Recommendations

Harira pairs well with a simple green salad and crusty bread. For a drink, mint tea is a refreshing and traditional choice.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store Harira in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water if the soup has thickened too much.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Harira can vary in calories, but on average, it contains approximately 300-400 calories. This makes it a hearty meal that can provide the necessary energy without being overly calorific.


Harira is a good source of carbohydrates, primarily from bulgur wheat, vermicelli, and legumes like chickpeas and lentils. These ingredients provide the body with essential energy and fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.


The fats in this recipe come mainly from the olive oil and the lamb. Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat, beneficial for heart health. The lamb provides saturated fats, which should be consumed in moderation.


This soup is rich in proteins, thanks to the lamb, chickpeas, lentils, and eggs. Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, making Harira a great option for a post-fasting meal as it helps in the recovery of the body's tissues.

Vitamins and minerals

Harira is packed with vitamins and minerals. The vegetables and legumes contribute vitamins A, C, and K, along with iron, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients support various bodily functions, including immune health, blood pressure regulation, and bone health.


Common allergens in this recipe include gluten (from bulgur and vermicelli) and eggs. Those with allergies should adjust the recipe accordingly or take necessary precautions.


Overall, Algerian Harira is a balanced meal with a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with a rich array of vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious option that supports overall health.


Algerian Harira is a flavorful and nutritious soup that embodies the rich culinary traditions of North Africa. With its blend of meats, legumes, vegetables, and spices, it offers a balanced and satisfying meal. This recipe provides a foundation for making traditional Harira, with suggestions for variations and tips for preparation. Whether enjoyed during Ramadan or as a comforting meal on any other day, Harira is a testament to the enduring appeal of Algerian cuisine.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was filled with a sense of excitement. It was given to me by a dear friend who had just returned from a trip to Algeria. She raved about the delicious flavors and comforting warmth of the dish, and I knew I had to try it for myself.

I had always been passionate about cooking, ever since I was a young girl watching my own grandmother work her magic in the kitchen. She taught me the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients and taking the time to really savor the process of creating a meal.

As I poured over the recipe for Algerian Harira, I could already imagine the fragrant spices filling my kitchen and the rich, hearty soup simmering on the stove. I made a list of the ingredients I would need and set out to gather them from the local market.

The key to a good Harira, I learned, is in the careful balance of flavors and textures. The combination of lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and spices creates a dish that is both satisfying and nourishing. The addition of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon at the end adds a brightness that lifts the whole dish to another level.

I spent hours in the kitchen, chopping vegetables, simmering the broth, and tasting and adjusting the seasoning until it was just right. The aroma that filled my home was intoxicating, and I couldn't wait to share the finished dish with my family.

As we sat down to dinner that evening, I could see the looks of anticipation on my family's faces. I ladled the steaming soup into bowls, garnishing each with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon. The first spoonful was met with nods of approval and murmurs of delight. The flavors were even better than I had imagined, and I felt a swell of pride at having successfully recreated a taste of Algeria in my own kitchen.

Since that first attempt, Algerian Harira has become a staple in my cooking repertoire. I have made it countless times, each batch a little different from the last as I experiment with new spices and ingredients. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on the tradition of this comforting and nourishing soup.

Over the years, I have continued to expand my culinary horizons, seeking out new recipes and techniques from around the world. Each dish I create tells a story, a reflection of the experiences and flavors that have shaped me as a cook.

But Algerian Harira will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the recipe that sparked my love affair with North African cuisine and inspired me to continue exploring the rich and diverse flavors of the region.

As I grow older, I find comfort in the familiar rituals of cooking, in the act of creating something beautiful and delicious to share with those I love. And every time I make a pot of Algerian Harira, I am reminded of that sense of excitement and anticipation that fueled my passion for cooking all those years ago.


| Algerian Appetizers | Algerian Recipes | Brown Lentil Recipes | Bulgur Recipes | Chickpea Recipes | Fennel Recipes | Fennel Seed Recipes | Lamb Recipes | Saffron Recipes | Tomato Paste Recipes |

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