Slow Cooker Moroccan Red Lentil Soup with Harissa

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 :)

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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

moroccan lentil soup
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Recipe for Crockpot Moroccan Lentil Soup with Harissa

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.
Servings: 10 + servings


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.

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29 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Moroccan Red Lentil Soup with Harissa”

  1. Pingback: Everyday Frugal: 19th – 21st June, 2013 | yooeel
  2. 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!

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  4. 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!

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  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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. :)

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  12. 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!

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