15-Minute Moroccan Soup with Harissa, Chickpeas and Chicken

This Moroccan soup uses harissa as the main flavoring ingredient. It’s a delicious new item to add to your pantry.

Harissa is a red chili paste from northern Africa where it is used as a condiment. The heat varies based on the heat of the peppers. In addition to the chilies it usually contains garlic, cumin and cinnamon, making it an exotic and flavorful hot sauce. Learn more here.

When we lived in Toronto our regular grocery store carried harissa. I used it all the time in my cooking. Recently when I was craving a Moroccan-style soup I searched our grocery store here for harissa. They didn’t have it. Luckily another nearby store has Saffron Road’s Harissa Simmer Sauce. It has all the flavors of harissa but is a little milder because it’s been blended with other ingredients to make a finished sauce.

I was delighted to discover that the simmer sauce is fabulous in my Moroccan soup recipe where I previously used straight-up harissa.

If you have straight-up harissa, you can use it to make this soup too.  You’ll want to add extra broth to make it milder.

All of my SOUPin15 recipes come with a SouperTip explaining how the soup became so delicious so quickly. For this recipe the tip is to use premade or leftover sauce to add flavor to your soup. I’ve used the store-bought harissa sauce here but you can use packaged or jarred Indian sauce or stir fry sauce. And you can use leftover homemade sauces or gravies too.

I’m betting that if you like this soup you’ll also like this this Black Olive Hummus recipe. They both have chickpeas and wonderful international flavors. Be sure to check it out.

 And now, here’s my Moroccan chickpea soup with harissa.



15-Minute Moroccan Soup with Harissa, Chickpeas and Chicken

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 servings


Harissa is a northern African chili paste that also includes garlic, cumin and cinnamon. It adds rich and spicy flavor to this soup. To make this soup in 15 minutes first read through the recipe. As you read, gather together all of the tools, pots, pans and ingredients that you will need so that everything is ready to go. Don’t prep any ingredients though. All prep is explained in the instruction section and is included in the 15 minute time needed to make this soup. See you in 15! (Yield 11 cups)


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup carrot matchsticks (sometimes packaged as shredded carrots)
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 7 oz. harissa simmer sauce (or 12 Tbsp harissa paste, to taste)
  • 1 (28oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low or no-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. chicken breast cutlets
  • 1 (16 oz) cans reduced sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 lemon
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley


  1. Put a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Roughly chop the carrot matchsticks and add them to the oil. Stir. Chop the celery and add to the pot. Stir. Chop the onion and add it along with the cumin, cinnamon and coriander. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add the harissa and stir it in. Then add the diced tomatoes, broth and salt. Cover and heat on high until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. While the soup heats, open and drain the cans of chick peas, zest and juice the lemon, chop the parsley and cut the chicken cutlets into 1/4-inch slices.
  3. Once the soup is simmering, add the chicken and stir. Cook stirring occasionally until it is no longer pink inside, about 2 minutes. Add the chick peas and heat through. Add the lemon juice and serve. Garnish each portion with about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and a few leaves of parsley.
Disclosure: Saffron road did not sponsor this recipe. I developed it several months ago when I was craving harissa. The Saffron Road Simmering Sauce was the closest thing I could find. Since then, I’ve begun working with Saffron Road. In the future they will be sponsoring recipes on my site. This isn’t one of them. This post contains an affiliate link meaning that if you click on it and then buy something I will receive a small percentage of the cost. All opinions are always my own.