Cookbook:Sharba Libya (Libyan Soup)

Sharba Libya (Libyan Soup)
CategorySoup recipes
Time1 hour 30 minutes

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Sharba Libya is a traditional and hearty soup enjoyed throughout Libya. It is made with a combination of vegetables, legumes, aromatic spices, and tender chunks of meat. It is a comforting and nourishing dish that is perfect for colder days or as a satisfying meal any time of the year.






  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant.
  2. Add the diced lamb or beef cubes to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Once the meat is browned, add the diced carrots, potatoes, celery, green and red bell peppers, zucchini, green peas, and chickpeas to the pot. Stir well to combine with the meat.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, coriander, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir to coat the ingredients with the spices and tomato paste.
  5. Pour enough water into the pot to cover all the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 1 hour. This allows the flavors to meld together and the meat to become tender.
  6. In the meantime, cook the macaroni or small pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  7. After the soup has simmered for an hour, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Add the cooked macaroni or small pasta to the soup and stir to incorporate. Let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the flavors.
  9. Remove the pot from the heat. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.
  10. Serve the soup hot with crusty bread on the side.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Feel free to customize the vegetables used in the soup according to your preference or what's available. Other common additions include cabbage, green beans, or corn.
  • The soup can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The flavors will deepen and the soup will thicken slightly upon chilling
  • For a richer flavor, you can use bone-in meat instead of boneless. Simply remove the bones before serving.
  • If the soup becomes too thick upon reheating, you can add a little water or broth to adjust the consistency.
  • For a vegetarian version, omit the meat and use vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the soup just before serving for a refreshing citrus note.