This vegan dish is spicy but not wild
An aromatic blend of sweet potatoes and chickpeas? Sign us up!
This soup sports flavor that’s assertive but not overpowering. And it’s light enough for a first course. Or you could ladle up extra-large portions, pair it with salad and crusty bread, and serve it as a main dish.
Tasty, zippy, versatile – it’s a real meal deal.
Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup
This recipe was inspired by Morocco’s best-known traditional soup, Harira. That one usually has a chickpea base, and almost always includes meat (most often lamb).
Our soup is a vegan twist on that Moroccan classic. It also features sweet potatoes, which are not typically used in Harira.
We’ve spiced this dish mildly. You’ll definitely notice the spices (their aroma alone may be irresistible), but they’re not overpowering. If you want a bolder flavor, increase the spice amounts to your taste.
Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes. Cooking time adds another 20 to 30 minutes.
This recipe yields about 6 first-course servings (or half that number if you serve it as a main).
Leftovers keep well for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container. Or you could freeze them (they’ll be good for months).
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- ~1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-large)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried turmeric
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika (may want to substitute pimentón; see Notes)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (or to taste; optional)
- 4 cups water (may substitute chicken stock if you don’t want vegan)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen green peas (or more to taste)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste; optional)
- Prepare the veggies: Peel the onion and cut it into dice of ½ inch; set aside. Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices or mince it finely; set aside. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into dice of ½ inch or a bit more; set aside.
- Place a 4-quart soup pot (or a wide-based saucepan) on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the oil. When the oil is heated (it’ll shimmer – about 15 seconds), add the chopped onion. Season to taste with salt, then sauté until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Then add the spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, paprika, and cayenne) and sauté for another minute, stirring several times.
- Add the diced sweet potatoes and stir to coat them with the spice mixture. Add the water and turn the stovetop heat up to high.
- While the mixture is coming to a boil, open the can of chickpeas and drain them in a strainer or colander. Rinse them off, then add the chickpeas to the soup pot. Open the can of tomatoes and add them to the soup pot. Stir to combine with the other ingredients.
- Once the soup mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are soft and the flavors blend together (20 to 30 minutes).
- Add the green peas during the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking. Right before you add them, you may want to whir the soup with a stick blender a few times to give it a thicker consistency. Once the peas have cooked for 3 minutes or so, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. If it seems a bit flat, add the lemon juice – the acid will perk up the flavor.
- Soup’s on! Ladle it into dishes and enjoy.
- Exact quantities aren’t critical in this soup. You can adjust ingredient quantities to your preference.
- Chopped parsley or cilantro would make a nice addition to this soup. Stir it in right before serving.
- We use canned chickpeas because they’re convenient. But if you have dried chickpeas on hand, feel free to use them. Just soak them overnight, then cook them until tender (an hour or two) and add them to the soup.
- Chickpeas go by many different names in different parts of the world. They’re also called chick peas (two words), garbanzo beans, ceci, cece, and chana. They’re one of the oldest cultivated legumes, dating back at least 7,500 years.
- We’ve used both “regular” paprika (Hungarian sweet paprika) and pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) in this dish. Both work well (pimentón may be slightly better). But use whatever you have on hand. Don’t stint, though – paprika adds not only flavor, but color.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. This is coarser than regular table salt, so it doesn’t seem as “salty” by volume. If you’re using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But, as always, season to your taste, not ours.
- As noted in Step 7, you can use a hand blender to break up the sweet potato chunks. This will enhance the soup’s consistency and add a bit of body to the broth. Don’t overdo it, though – this soup is better when it has a chunky texture.
- BTW, we suggest using a stick blender with a steel shaft (not plastic). Plastic can crack in hot liquid. Ask us how we know.
- Want to add more spicy heat to this soup? Just squirt a small bit of Sriracha sauce on each serving. Or use harissa sauce if you have it on hand (this spicy red pepper sauce is essentially the North African equivalent of Sriracha).
“Wow, vegan never tasted so good,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“Yup, tasty and healthy,” I said. “It’s a win win.”
“How nice to feel virtuous,” said Mrs K R. “While luxuriating in spice, texture, and flavor.”
“And this is light enough for seconds,” I said. “Care for some more?”
“Sure,” said Mrs K R. “One can never have too much virtue.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (Harira)
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad
Lentil and Tomato Soup
Sweet Potato Soup with Chilies and Corn
Vegan Mulligatawny Soup with Cabbage
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Or check out the index for more recipes