Spicy Moroccan Tomato Soup

It’s been soup season here for two reasons:

  • I have an excess of tomatoes.
  • I love soup.

When I was growing up there were two kinds of soup at my house

One was Beef Vegetable, made with short ribs, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, cabbage, rutabagas and egg noodles. When my mother said she was going to ‘make soup’ everyone knew exactly what to expect without further adjectives.

The other was Chili. This was the Midwest, before food blogs, and Chili was soup.

Oh, there were debates over it. Should one add celery or not? What about Creamettes (a specific kind of elbow macaroni)

My mother was a purest in her own way and used neither; just onion, garlic, pepper, beef, beans, and tomato juice.

My best friend’s mother always added lots of Creamettes and our neighbor swore by adding lots of celery.

Whichever my mother decided to make, we all knew what it would taste like when it was done. It was always the same.

I had no clue with this soup.

We were both happy with the result – although I think I could use a bit less cinnamon next time.

Mon mari thinks adding hot sauce made it perfect.

Spicy Moroccan Tomato Soup

Total time: 90 minutes


  • 2 3/4 cup (22oz, 660gr) tomatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 large, red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 6 cups (48oz, 1500ml) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup red or coral lentils
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 3/4 cup (15oz, 450gr) chickpeas
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped

Spicy Moroccan Tomato Soup


  • Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven.
  • Add onion, celery, carrot, pepper, and garlic, sauté until tender.
  • Add all spices and sauté briefly.
  • Add tomatoes, vegetables stock and lentils. Cover and cook for 60 minutes
  • Add bulgur, chickpeas and simmer 15 minutes longer.
  • Add lemon, basil and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Serve or freeze.

Print Recipe

It hasn’t exactly been soup weather….

The days have been beautiful, warm and sunny, perfect for bike rides.

We went to a different area last week.

This is a blurry photo – I have no idea why, but I wanted one of the sailboat.

If you are sailing from the north and want to go to the Mediterranean you can do one of two things: sail around Spain and through the Straits of Gibraltar or sail to Bordeaux and travel down the Garonne river to the Canal de Garonne, then to the Canal du Midi and out to the Mediterranean.

The latter is a much shorter and much more leisurely trip but one has to motor all the way. I have no idea which is faster but it’s why we see sailboats on the canal.

The trip from the Atlantic to the Med is 600km. There are places, like here, where the river and the canal are side-by-side.

Most of the locks are now handled by the boaters, but there are still the small lock-houses on many of them – empty.

The paths that we ride on are the old tow paths.

This has been a working waterway since the middle of the 1800’s.

It’s such a pleasure to be able to ride along the paths.

Last update on October 20, 2017

4 thoughts on “Spicy Moroccan Tomato Soup”

  1. That soup looks great. Just the sort of thing that would go down well in my household.

    Do you know about the crisis with the plane trees along the canals (especially the Canal du Midi)? They have a fungal disease which is killing them. It arrived at the end of WWII, when American troops landed in the south (Operation Dragoon, the follow up to Operation Overlord in the north). The Americans brought with them boxes of munitions, made of sycamore. Sycamore is one of the parents of the plane trees (which are a hybrid of the American and European species). The sycamore wood carried a fungus to which the plane trees had never been exposed and so they had no defenses. The disease is slowly working its way up the country and along the canals. The INRA has now bred a resistant hybrid plane tree that is just as ornamental, but replacing the trees will cost millions and be a hundred year project.

    • Susan, I knew there was a disease as we can see the effects and some of the trees are marked for removal, but I had no idea what it was or how widespread. Thanks for the info. They are so beautiful and some are huge. Such a shame to lose them.

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