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Golden Lentil Stew

This slightly sweet Moroccan chickpea and lentil stew, known as harira, is brightened by spices and lemon.

  • Servings: 8
Golden Lentil Stew

Photography: Yunhee Kim

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2007


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
  • 8 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup yellow lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 ounces orzo or vermicelli, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, stock, and water, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.

  2. Mash garlic, finely chopped cilantro, and salt into a paste. Add garlic paste, celery, tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste, lemon juice, and spices to pot. Simmer until lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

  3. Add pasta and dates, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Stir in coarsely chopped cilantro and parsley. Garnish with parsley leaves, and serve with lemon wedges.

Reviews (10)

  • Eviebelle 4 Dec, 2013

    This was one of the most delicious things I've ever cooked. LOVED it. We gobbled it up and were sad when it was gone. I used orzo, and used canned tomatoes. Perfection.

  • undrh2oluv 25 Apr, 2012

    I thought this dish was fantastic! It had a lot of flavor and was incredibly lite at the same time. I do not normally lean towards these types of spices and I loved it! Only change I made was that I used an entire can of drained/washed garbanzo beans instead of the dry ones. There's only 1/2 cup of orzo, don't skip it! That extra bit of texture is good. I was very skeptical of the dates too, but they are actually very subtle chopped. Don't substitute for a squishy raisin! Really pleased!!

  • JudahBuddha 6 Dec, 2008

    I doubled this recipe so I had a lot to sharen n n n n n ..and what a HIT! Everybody LOVED it! I used vermicelli, but next time In n n n n n ll use the orzo for the sizen n n n n n n n n n n n .I found the pasta was important to really round this recipe out. I loved the idea of datesn n n n n n but if I hadnn n n n n n t put them in myself I would never believe they where in there, next time In n n n n n ll try raisins.

  • monetgardening 12 Nov, 2008

    Hello There Wilma53,
    This is not a hich calorie dish at all. Take a second look at the ingredients.

  • Tamara5252 8 Nov, 2008

    This is an amazing stew - one of my favourites. I think the orzo is perfect in the soup, but will try adding it seperately. Great with flatbread. or pita brushed with a little olive oil and cumin and grilled or browned.

  • NapaCindy 7 Nov, 2008

    I substituted raisins for the dates because they hold their shape; it's what's used in most Moroccan recipes. I also agree...skip the pasta.

  • carole7777 6 Nov, 2008

    I'm not sure about the dates, I've never heard of that - how about a little honey, if anything? I would be inclined to skip the pasta as well, in favor of a smooth textures soup. Does anyone think, who's made it, that would be okay? I'm interested in reproducing a natural foods carton soup I am mad for, a golden lentil with a nice bite.

  • EWjunk 6 Nov, 2008

    This is one of my favorite soups. It has such a depth of flavor from all the seasonings, etc. I tend to prefer small portions, but I think this amount is actually right for 8 (hungry) people. It is delicious leftover, but I will say the orzo swells up, and that combined with the lentils turn the leftovers into more of a tasty glop than soup! : ) If you are making it to freeze or have leftovers I would cook and keep the orzo separate until serving. Enjoy!

  • kbillerman 6 Nov, 2008

    This is THE best lentil soup I have ever had, homemade or bought. It is definitely worth trying...this recipe makes a lot so I would suggest cutting it in half.

  • wilma53 6 Nov, 2008

    How many calories is this soup?

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