Moroccan Red Lentil Stew
Yield: 5-6 servings
Time: About an hour
Harira is a traditional red lentil stew from Morocco that’s typically served around Ramadan. This stew takes inspiration from Harira, while introducing new, non-traditional ingredients. The addition of harissa (a North African spice) gives warming heat and easy depth for this quick cooking stew. Note that harissa brands vary in spice and heat, so be sure to taste it before adding. If it’s on the weaker side, feel free to add more and if on the spicier side, dial it back. Although the dollop of greek yogurt at the end is optional, it’s highly recommended to balance the acidity and heat from the stew with the cooling and creamy yogurt.
Around the world and throughout history, soup has been a humble way for cultures to survive. Even a quick look at cuisines globally reveal soup’s ubiquity; and although they’ve often been functional, failsafe form of sustenance, that hardly means they’re boring. In a simple bowl of soup, we see culture come alive, brimming with local ingredients. It’s a full creative expression of the people who invented each and every one.
- 1 small to medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 2-inch knob of ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. harissa paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes (14 oz.)
- 1 cup of rinsed red lentils
- 1 bunch of dark greens like swiss chard, kale or spinach chopped in big pieces
- Cilantro and mint, chopped
- Greek yogurt
- Juice of one lemon
- In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat, add ¼ cup of olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until lightly golden brown, for about 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add ginger, stir to combine, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add harissa, tomato paste, and spices; cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add can of crushed tomatoes and let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add rinsed lentils to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for a minute while you scrape up the bottom of the pan to pick up flavor.
- Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, and then lower the temperature and let simmer for 45 minutes with a partially covered pot. Occasionally stir.
- Add in chopped greens and stir to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Mix together a cup of greek yogurt and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and stir together.
- Once ready to serve, top with a dollop of the greek yogurt mixture, a drizzle of olive oil, and the chopped herbs.