Lentil and Chickpea Soup

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  16 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 40 minutes

Lentil and Chickpea Soup

This soup is a cross between harira (chickpea and lentil soup), mujadarrah (a lentil and rice side dish), and French lentil soup. Not only is it hearty and satisfying, but it’s also vegan. The recipe can easily be cut in half and freezes well.



20 cups (5 quarts) roasted vegetable stock, low sodium

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups raw chickpeas, soaked overnight

6 sprigs fresh thyme

4 large dried bay leaves

1 large stick cinnamon

3 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 teaspoons ground turmeric or 1-inch piece dried turmeric

½ teaspoon saffron threads, optional

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

5 large onions (approximately 12 cups), thinly sliced

5 shallots, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane or minced

2 teaspoons agave nectar

2 cup brown lentils, rinsed

1 bunch (about 10) celery stalks, leaves intact, cut into ½-inch dice

1 pound (6 to 8) carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¾ cup chopped cilantro

½ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint


Zest of 1 lemon, julienned

12 whole mint leaves, gently torn

½ cup cilantro leaves, gently torn

¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of salt


8 cups cooked basmati white rice


Make the Soup:

  1. Add the stock and lemon juice to a large stock pot over a medium heat. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add to the pot. Stir and cover.
  2. Cut a large piece of cheesecloth. Place the thyme, bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns in the center. Gather in a pouch, tie with kitchen string, and add to the pot. Reduce heat to low. Add the turmeric and saffron, if using. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or pot over a high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and shallots and stir to coat. When the edges begin to brown, lower the heat to low and add the garlic and agave nectar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and shallots are very soft, rich caramel brown and fragrant, about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils, celery, carrots, and salt to the onions and mix well. Add to the stock. Cook  over medium-low heat, covered, until the lentils and chickpeas are soft but not mushy, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cilantro and parsley and serve.

Make the garnish:

  1. Mix the lemon zest, mint, cilantro, parsley, oil, and salt in a small bowl.


  1. Place ½ cup of rice in a soup bowl. Add the soup. Sprinkle with the garnish. Serve immediately.

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