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Holidays All Over: Harira

Editor’s note: Whether your holiday traditions involve lighting candles for Hanukkah or Scandinavian St. Lucia Day, hanging lights on your Christmas tree, or preparing for Kwanzaa, Omisoka, New Year’s, or the Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, now is the season of celebration. And many holidays, in many places, involve family meals to celebrate the season, abundance, and the fact of our togetherness. We hope you’ll enjoy these holiday recipes. This soup recipe was originally published in the Chop Chop Magazine Winter 2012 issue, and is part of the Holidays All Over recipe series.

This soup is traditionally eaten to break the daily fast during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Even though Ramadan happened during the summer this year (when Ramadan is celebrated each year is determined by the Muslim calendar), we’re including it here because it’s such a good winter dish.


Adult: Yes
Hands-on Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

Kitchen Gear:

  • Measuring spoons
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cup
  • Can opener
  • Large pot with lid
  • Heatproof spatula


  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3  medium carrots, sliced
  • 3  celery stalks, sliced
  • 2  garlic cloves, peeled and minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1  teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and turmeric
  • 1  (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 8  cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1  cup uncooked green or brown lentils
  • 1  cup cooked brown rice or raw angel-hair pasta broken into 2-inch lengths
  • 2  tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, for topping


  1. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the pot is hot, add the olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric, and sauté just until the spices are just fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes, broth, chickpeas, lentils, and rice or pasta, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until everything is tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and taste the soup. Does it need more lemon? Salt? Pepper? If so, add it, and taste again.
  5. Serve right away topped with chopped parsley or cilantro.


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