Moroccan lamb and lentil soup

Total Time
1 hr 24 min
17 min
1 hr 7 min
In Morocco, a long-simmering, sweet-spiced soup such as this is made with lamb shanks and served to break the fast of Ramadan. We’ve adjusted the recipe to use quick-cooking lean lamb cubes, so the whole thing is ready in just about one hour but still packs a punch with bold, traditional Moroccan spices like cinnamon, cumin and turmeric. Lamb usually has a gamier flavor than more common meats like beef, pork, or poultry. It gets browned first before braising in the soup to add color and build flavor. Serve with pita bread to mop up the juices, if you like.


Olive oil

2 tsp

Uncooked lamb shoulder

¾ pound(s), lean, boneless, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 3⁄4-inch chunks

Uncooked onion(s)

1 large, chopped


5 medium clove(s), minced

Reduced-sodium chicken broth

3½ cup(s)

Canned diced tomatoes

14½ oz

Dry lentils

¾ cup(s), rinsed and picked over

Cinnamon stick(s)

1 average

Ground turmeric

1 tsp

Ground cumin

1 tsp

Ground ginger

¾ tsp

Table salt

¾ tsp

Black pepper

½ tsp, coarsely ground

Uncooked zucchini

2 medium, diced

Lemon zest

1 tsp, grated

Fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp


  1. Heat the oil in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5–6 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the same Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7–8 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, lentils, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, and the browned lamb; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the lamb and lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is softened, about 8 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, then stir in the lemon zest and juice just before serving. Yields 1 3/4 cups per serving.