Harira, a hearty and satisfying stew, is traditionally served to break the fast at the end of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. This vegetarian version is loaded with fiber. It is thickened with the starch of garbanzo beans and lentils. Roasting some of the vegetables instead of cooking them in the stew gives an added flavor dimension.
Makes 2 quarts; 8 (1-cup) servings
1 medium yellow onion
8-inch stalk celery, cut crosswise into 4 pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
1½ cups cooked garbanzo beans or 1 (15-ounce) can, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1 cup diced, seeded, peeled tomatoes or 1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, without stems
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Peel and halve the onion. Cut each half in quarters. Place onion and celery on baking sheet and roast about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and finely chop the onion and the celery.
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, and spices. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add garbanzo beans, lentils, and tomatoes, and simmer about 30 minutes or until lentils are nearly tender. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro.
Note: If reheating soup the second day, you may need to thin it with additional broth, readjust the seasoning, and add more fresh cilantro.