Here is another hearty vegan soup from Isa Does it!
I was starting to worry about Isa. Her cookbook started out strong in my favorable opinion, but I’ve been a little disappointed with the last few recipes.
This soup brings my favors back on track!
I call it a soup, but it’s almost hearty enough to be classified as a stew. Isa even claimed to have an “existential crisis” in trying to figure out how to label it.
This is also not a traditional recipe for harira, but her variation of it. Traditional harira is made with lamb meat and rice instead of pasta. If you are a vegan or are wanting to cut down on meat consumption, this is an excellent alternative.
What you’ll need
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon of salt, plus a pinch
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger (I used ginger paste, nothing died)
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup of brown or green lentils
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of saffron threads, crushed (This is optional and recommended for those of you who are rich)
- 1 24 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted recommended
- 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
- 4 ounces of angel hair pasta
The first step is to pre-heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat for the oil. When oil is hot, add onion with a bit of salt. Cook this until the onions are translucent then add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Saute this for about a minute.
The next step is to deglaze the pot with some broth. This is a fancy way of saying, pour some liquid in there to scoop up any crap that might be sticking on the bottom of your pan. I don’t know why they have to call it deglazing though. This is cooking, not pottery making.
When you’ve rid yourself of your pot clingers, you will add the eggplant, lentils, paprika, cinnamon, one teaspoon of salt, the saffron, and 4 cups of broth. The saffron is only for the privileged, spoiled elite. I didn’t make the cut. This is an ingredient for the Ivy League not the Big Ten.
If you’re observant, you might notice we only put in half of our vegetable broth. This is due to speeding up boiling time for the lentils and eggplant. Don’t fret! We will add the remaining broth later!
Cover the pot and allow it to rise to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat a hair, so that’s it still boiling, but not erupting like a volcano. Leave the lid ajar as well. Do this for about 20 minutes.
Deglaze without adding in liquid once in awhile as well.
When the 20 minutes are up, add the tomatoes, chickpeas, mint, cilantro, and about 2 cups worth of broth or as much as it would take to ensure a soup consistency. Bring this to a boil and then add the pasta. Stir and cook until the pasta thins and softens. Then add the remaining broth and serve with your extra garnish!
The best part about this soup is the pasta. Isa and I agree about this issue, so I feel like most people will too. The other star of the harira show is the garbanzo beans. The eggplant is a close third. My eggplant turned out a little mushier than I would have liked, but overall this was a nice, hearty stew. I recommend consuming it on a harsh, cold winter night. If you are from California that translate to a rainy night or anything below 60 degrees.