Home Lifestyle Recipes RECIPE: Harira vegetable soup with barley and quinoa

RECIPE: Harira vegetable soup with barley and quinoa


South African cookbook author and food stylist Dianne Bibby has travelled throughout the world. Though she has visited every nook and cranny of the globe, she says middle Eastern flavours have greatly impacted her style of cooking.  

Bibby believes that food is universal and has the ability to connect people beyond any border. She makes this wonderfully fragrant Moroccan harira soup with zesty seasoning which promises to bring the smell of a Moroccan market right into your home. Hearty and filled with proteins, this soup is just the warm, punchy kick you need to beat the winter woes.  


Serves: 8-10  

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil 
  • 1 large brown onion, diced 
  • 2 stems celery, chopped 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice 
  • 1 fat clove garlic, minced 
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric 
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • zest of 1 lemon 
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 300ml tomato passata 
  •  cup red lentils, rinsed and drained 
  • ½ cup barley, rinsed and drained 
  • 6½ cups vegetable stock 
  • ¼ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained 
  • 400g tin chickpeas 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley and mint, roughly chopped  
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped 


  1. Heat a small pan over a medium heat and dry toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Crush lightly in a pestle and mortar. 
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook for several minutes, then add the garlic. Stir through.  
  3. Add the ginger and all the spices, including the crushed cumin and lemon zest. Stir through and toast for about a minute to release the fragrant oils. 
  4. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, tomato passata, lentils, barley and stock. Bring the soup up to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  5. Stir through the quinoa and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or until the barley is tender and the quinoa is softened. 
  6. Add the chickpeas and lemon juice and heat through. 
  7. To serve, scatter with a handful of the herbs and chopped walnuts. 


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Noluthando Ngcakani
Noluthando Ngcakani
With roots in the Northern Cape, this Kimberley Diamond has had a passion for telling human interest stories since she could speak her first words. A foodie by heart, she began her journalistic career as an intern at the SABC where she discovered her love for telling agricultural, community and nature related stories. Not a stranger to a challenge Ngcakani will go above and beyond to tell your truth.


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