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One bowl, three whole grains

Posted by Sheryl Julian  February 15, 2011 12:00 PM

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I love harira, a Moroccan soup traditionally served at Ramadan. I've been making it a lot this winter. I decided to take the elements -- lentils, chick peas, pasta -- and alter the proportions slightly. I also used whole-wheat pasta bow-ties, which I crushed in a bowl, rather than vermicelli, which is traditional. It's a very hearty bowl, entirely vegetarian. Sprinkle hot pepper flakes on top and Parmesan, if you like.

Vegetarian lentil, chick pea, and pasta soup

Serves 6


3 tablespoons olive oil

10 ounces white or baby portobello mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 cups French lentils

1 can (15 ounces) tomatoes, crushed in a bowl

2 1/2 quarts water

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 cans (15 ounces each) chick peas, with their liquid

1 cup small whole-wheat pasta (bow-ties, macaroni, penne), crushed in a bowl

Crushed red pepper (for sprinkling)


1. In a soup pot, heat the oil and when it is hot, add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until they begin to release their juices.

2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until they soften.

3. Stir in the paprika and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more or until the spices are aromatic.

4. Add the lentils and tomatoes. Stir well. Pour in the water, add 1/4 cup of the parsley  with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and set on the cover askew. Simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Add the chick peas and their liquid and the pasta. Cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until the lentils and pasta are tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

6. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup parsley and crushed red pepper. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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