Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe Straight from a Marrakech Kitchen. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe Straight from a Marrakech Kitchen

This post may contain paid links. If you make a purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

This authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe is one of our favourite chickpea soup recipes. It makes a warming, hearty bowl of soup that’s a meal in itself – particularly when served with some oven-fresh flatbread. I learnt to make this chickpea soup in a Marrakech kitchen over ten years ago and haven’t tweaked a thing since. It’s that good.

This authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe is one I’ve been making exactly the same way as it was taught to me by the cook at our Marrakech riad 14 years ago. Morocco was the first stop on the year-long grand tour of the world that launched Grantourismo in 2010 and our mission to inspire you all to travel more locally, more slowly and more experientially.

Learning about the local cuisine and produce of places we settled into, shopping the markets, and learning how to cook local food was a key part of our quest that year, as it’s been in the many years since.

During our two weeks in Morocco, we settled into a handsome riad called Dar Rocmarra off the atmospheric market street of Rue Bab Doukkala, deep in the Marrakech medina, and did a weekend getaway to Essaouira where we stayed in another charming riad, Dar Lazuli, with a petite kitchen.

There I cooked some of the dishes I learnt to make from Jamila, our Marrakech riad cook, including this authentic Moroccan chickpea soup and this classic lamb tagine with prunes and almonds, and I made North African chakchouka for breakfast.

Moroccan food was one of the reasons we had wanted to return to Morocco – from couscous and tagines to pigeon pastilla, there’s no dish we wouldn’t order in Marrakech’s restaurants and it’s one of the reasons we spent much of the pandemic dreaming of returning.

Chickpeas will perhaps go down in culinary history as the ingredient of the pandemic. In the pre COVID-19 times, before we all knew what a coronavirus was and we weren’t afraid of supermarkets, everyone seemed to have a couple of rusty tins of chickpeas (well past their expiry date) in the back of their kitchen cupboards.

Since the pandemic we’ve all had towers of cans of chickpeas front and centre, next to the tin tomatoes and cans of coconut cream. Along with you and I, every chef, food personality and celebrity seems to have been cooking with chickpeas, making everything from Jamie Oliver’s pasta e ceci to Alison Roman’s spiced chickpea stew with coconut and turmeric.

The latter became so internet-famous it was hash-tagged on social media as #TheStew and everyone would know what it was – even if it was apparently a Caribbean curry with too few spices and too much coconut milk.

That chickpeas would become a pandemic pantry staple should be no surprise. Chickpeas are comforting, filling and nutritious. Chickpeas are also very versatile. They make one of our favourite Middle Eastern dishes, hummus balila, and are fantastic in salads, curries, stews, and soups, including this Moroccan chickpea soup. (You’ll find our chickpea recipes here.)

Chickpeas were the perfect quarantine cooking ingredient, just as they’ve become a cost-of-living crisis essential, as they make dishes that that can be stretched out over days, such as a classic hummus and this authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe.

Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe Straight from a Marrakech Kitchen

This authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe is one of the classics of Moroccan cuisine and, like the tagine, it is perfect cold weather eating. Many think of Morocco, and Marrakech in particular, of being warm year-round yet both Marrakech and Essaouira can get down to near freezing temperatures overnight in winter.

It was on a chilly day that I learnt to cook this soup at the Marrakech riad we were staying at, along with the lamb tagine, and it was on a cold winter’s evening that I’d make it for Lara at our Essaouira riad, where we dined by a fireplace.

If you know a little about Moroccan cuisine, you may be wondering if this Moroccan chickpea soup recipe makes harira. Morocco’s best-known soup, harira is traditionally eaten at sunset during Ramadan to break the day-time fast, but has long been served at every market, café, restaurant, and riad hotel across Morocco.

Moroccans will tell you that every region, city, town, village, restaurant, and home will have their own recipe for harira, but there are some essential ingredients in harira that this Moroccan chickpea soup recipe doesn’t have, including lentils, a protein such as lamb or chicken, pasta or vermicelli, and a thickener, such as flour or eggs.

Whatever you want to call it, it was inevitable that this authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe would become a quarantine cooking favourite, as it’s easy to make and has a relatively short list of ingredients.

A tin of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes and chicken stock form the basis of this soup, and vegetarians can easily use vegetable stock instead of chicken.

Tips to Making this Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe

This authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe makes one of our favourite mid-week meals to cook. Given that we have more time on our hands than we’ve ever had and can take five minutes off to stir a stockpot, now is the time to make a decent chicken stock from scratch if you can.

Out of my 640 (!) recipes in my Paprika Recipe Manager database, nearly 80 recipes use chicken stock so I make a lot.

To make a chicken stock, I use leftover chicken bones and carcasses and add vegetables such as celery, onion, carrots, and coriander to a stockpot.

Cover them with cold water, add some salt and pepper, simmer for 4 to 6 hours, and then strain. Every hour just skim the scum, the foamy layer on top of the stock, and you’re good to go.

If you can’t, by all means use a store-bought chicken stock. That’s the next best thing to making stock from scratch.

If you prefer to make this authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe with dried chickpeas, rather than canned chickpeas, you need to start the day before and soak the dried chickpeas overnight to soften them. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to soften them faster.

Rinse the chickpeas and add them to a stockpot with water covering the chickpeas by at least one centimetre. Bring it to a boil on high heat, then simmer with the lid on for about one hour. Check the chickpeas at 50 minutes by trying to crush a chickpea with your fingers. If it crushes easily, it’s done.

One of the key things to keep in mind is that a good, rich chickpea soup has a very thick soup base. I find it takes an hour to reduce the soup down to the right consistency.

When it comes to the olive oil and dried spices such as ground cumin, ground paprika and chilli flakes, always try to use the best quality you can afford.

If you have some old spices in the back of the kitchen pantry, you can revive them by giving the a quick toast in a skillet. Make sure you shake the pan regularly so they don’t burn. They’ll be ready when they’re fragrant.

Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe

Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe Straight from a Marrakech Kitchen. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe

This authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe is one of our favourite chickpea soup recipes. It makes a warming, hearty bowl of soup that's a meal in itself – particularly when served with some oven-fresh flatbread. I learnt to make this chickpea soup in a Marrakech kitchen over ten years ago and haven't tweaked a thing since. It's that good.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings made with recipe2 people
Calories 477 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 g onion - chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 400 g can peeled tomatoes
  • 400 g can chickpeas - drained & rinsed
  • ½ whole lemon - zest and juice
  • 1 handful coriander leaves
  • 1 piece flatbread - cut into triangles, to serve
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt - optional, to serve

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then fry the onions until translucent and softened, stirring frequently. Add a pinch of salt. Tip in the cumin and fry for another minute.
  • In another saucepan over medium heat, cook the tomatoes until the juice has cooked off and the remaining sauce is very thick in consistency. Add to the other saucepan.
  • Add the stock and chickpeas and cook until the soup has reduced and has quite a thick consistency. Add the chilli flakes and the lemon juice. Season to taste.
  • When ready, serve the soup and top with a sprinkling of lemon zest, coriander and paprika.
  • Serve with flatbread, slices of lemon and the yoghurt.

Nutrition

Calories: 477kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 23gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 1406mgPotassium: 1173mgFiber: 13gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1146IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 202mgIron: 7mg

Published 24 February 2010; Last Updated 20 February 2024.

Please do let us know if you make this authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe. We’d love to know how it turns out for you.

SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Lara Dunston Patreon
Advertisement

Find Your Morocco Accommodation

Booking.com

AUTHOR BIO

Photo of author
Terence Carter is an editorial food and travel photographer and infrequent travel writer with a love of photographing people, places and plates of food. After living in the Middle East for a dozen years, he settled in South-East Asia a dozen years ago with his wife, travel and food writer and sometime magazine editor Lara Dunston.

2 thoughts on “Authentic Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe Straight from a Marrakech Kitchen”

  1. This was great. Really full of flavour, especially when you reduced the soup down. Since I’ve made this, I’ve seen other recipes where they use lentils as well. Is this a different type of soup?5 stars

  2. Greetings Kym,
    Yes, there is a different soup with chickpeas and lentils that also usually has shredded lamb meat in it as well. This soup, Harira, is famous for being the dish that Moroccans eat to break the fast during Ramadan. It’s hearty but more easily digested after the fast. It’s also a great soup but much heaver that this soup recipe that I learnt. A bowl of Harira is great during winter in Morocco!
    Cheers,
    T

Leave a comment

Recipe Rating