Dear Brandy,

It’s your birthday, and as you’ve probably gathered, a few of us “got together” to throw you a virtual bash.

It was my job to make the soup course. I thought it would be fun to cook a Moroccan lentil soup, since that’s what we ate when we had lunch together in December.

moroccan lentil soup

This soup, which I made in my crockpot, doesn’t really taste anything like the other, but it’s still really good, especially with some of the homemade Harissa on top.

Brandy: I hope we get to have soup together again soon, and I wish you all the best this year…I just know it’s going to be an amazing one for you :)

Recipe for Crockpot Moroccan Lentil Soup with Harissa

Yield: 10+ servings

Harissa is a Northwest African chili paste. You can buy it in in the international section of some markets, but I really prefer to make it at home (the storebought versions I've tried were way too salty). If you opt not to make the Harissa, you can add a bit of cayenne pepper to the soup recipe to give it a little more heat.


For the soup:

*1 tablespoons olive oil
*1 large onion, peeled and chopped
*4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
*2 organic carrots, chopped
*2 organic celery ribs, chopped
*one 28 ounce can organic plum tomatoes, with liquid
*2 cups red lentils, rinsed, picked over, and drained
*1/2 cup organic raisins
*4 cups vegetable broth or water
*1 teaspoons ground cumin
*2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric
*2 teaspoons paprika
*2 teaspoons ground ginger

For the Harissa:

*1 ounce dried hot chiles (I used guajillo), soaked in hot water for about 30 minutes to soften
*1 fat clove of garlic, peeled
*pinch of sea salt
*1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed to blend the harissa
*1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
*1 small handful of cilantro


For the soup:

1. Place all ingredients in your crockpot. Turn it to the "low" setting, and cook for 7-8 hours (or even a bit more, if you like). Feel free to taste it and adjust the spice level and/or the amount of liquid while the soup is cooking.

2. Serve topped with a spoonful of the Harissa, which adds a nice little punch of spice.

For the Harissa:

1. Process all ingredients in a blender until a fairly smooth paste forms. Transfer to a small glass jar and top with a little more olive oil. Store the harissa you don't use up as a garnish for the soup in the refrigerator; it will keep for 3-4 weeks.

slow cooker red lentil soup

Additional courses made for Brandy’s Virtual Surprise Party:
Salad: Michigan Salad from Living Mostly Meatless
Pasta: Quinoa Linguine with Cherry Tomatoes and Bacon from Cooking with Books
Meat: Beef Machaca Tacos from Farm Girl Gourmet
Cheese: Cheese Plate from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
Dessert: White Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake with Caramel Glaze from Creative Culinary



  1. 1

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — February 6, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    Just gorgeous! This is the kind of stew that can warm you up on even the coldest of days. Marvelous, darling!

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

      Thanks Brian!

  2. 2

    Marnely Rodriguez — February 6, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Love the spices and harissa in this soup! I agree with Brian, this will definitely warm you up on a cold winter night! Happy Birthday to Brandy!

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

      Glad I had an excuse to make this soup ;)

  3. 3

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — February 6, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    What a fun idea… Happy birthday to Brandy!! And, love this soup…. Perfect way to celebrate!

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

      Thanks Jen!

  4. 4

    Bev Weidner — February 6, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    LOVE that harissa. I’ve never made it before. NOW I WILL.

    And happy birthday to Brandy!

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

      I’ve seen many different versions of harissa online, but this one’s very easy. And tasty.

  5. 5

    Cheese Plate | Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body — February 6, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    […] Course- Healthy Green Kitchen Salad Course- Living Mostly Meatless Pasta Course- Cooking With Books Meat Course- Farmgirl Gourmet […]

  6. 6

    Barbara | Creative Culinary — February 6, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    I recently used red lentils for the first time. Now I’m dying to do it again…this sounds so exotic and good Winnie. Now if we could all really be together I would share mine if you would share yours. :)

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

      That would be so great…your cheesecake looks so fab ;)

  7. 7

    Julia — February 6, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    Winnie, this looks great! I just got off the phone w/ my husband and frantically said, “you’re still at the store, right? Grab canned tomatoes and onion. I found a soup I’m gonna make us for dinner tomorrow.” No really, that just happened, which means this soup is gonna happen! Yea!

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

      Yay! Let me know how you like it ;)

  8. 8

    Katherine Martinelli — February 6, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    What a sweet idea! Happy birthday Brandy! I absolutely adore harissa and just made it myself for the first time. I can’t wait to try it in this soup! Looks gorgeous.

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

      Did you post your harissa? I’ve noticed there are a number of different ways you can make it…

  9. 9

    Jessie — February 6, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    This is so creative, and pretty. I wish I could try it.

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

      Thanks Jessie!

  10. 10

    Kathryn — February 6, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    Happy birthday Brandy, what a wonderful soup to bring to the party!

    • Winnie replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

      Thank you Kathryn! Your sweet comments are always appreciated ;)

  11. 11

    Katherine Martinelli — February 7, 2012 @ 1:13 am

    Replying to our condo above – no, haven’t posted it yet but soon! There are definitely a gazillion ways to make it. I love the fresh cilantro in yours!

  12. 12

    Charissa — February 8, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    Beautiful photo…love the presentation!
    I love ethnic soups…they seem so much flavourful than ordinary soups!

  13. 13

    Oui, Chef — February 14, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    Oohh…a perfect ski weekend treat, thanks for sharing this lovely!

  14. 14

    From the Kingdom of Morocco « Newest Obsession — March 9, 2012 @ 11:46 am

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  15. 15

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  16. 16

    Anna Cordova — November 22, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    I love this recipe, I have made it twice now, Thanks!!!

  17. 17

    Rachel — January 17, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    I’ve been scouring the internet for some good crockpot recipes (trying to find vegetarian and gluten-free that’s not chili is a bit tricky), and this looks perfect! I might try adding some chopped butternut squash or sweet potato I’ve got in my pantry too. Thanks!

  18. 18

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  19. 19

    Heather — February 25, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

    Love lentil soup in the winter. Definitely warms me up especially with a drizzle of harissa. I agree that store bought brands are a bit salty but I found one that’s just right. If I don’t have time to make a fresh batch I buy mina harissa. It’s my fav brand available in stores. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. 20

    Everyday Frugal: 19th – 21st June, 2013 | yooeel — July 21, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

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