In a medium sized pot (about 4 quart capacity) with a lid, heat the olive oil at medium heat and add fennel, gently cooking for a couple of minutes while the fennel releases its natural juices.
Add the red and white onions, cook until soft and translucent, but without turning brown, stirring mixture from time to time, about 12 minutes.
Add tomatoes and increase heat to high until the mixture comes to a simmer (about 5 minutes). Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic and saffron (optional), letting them infuse the mixture with their flavors for a few more minutes.
Add the lentils, vegetable stock, sprigs of cilantro and parsley and bay leaves (uncrumbled) and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Season with salt, pepper and sugar, stirring the mixture a couple of times. Cover pot and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Add the cooked chickpeas and cook uncovered for another 5 to 7 minutes until heated through. Mix well, season again with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Remove bay leafs and sprigs of cilantro and parsley.
For a thicker soup, remove about one cup of the cooked lentils and chickpeas from the soup and process them in blender, adding some extra liquid if needed. Add the blended mixture back to the soup. For a thinner soup. add extra vegetable stock. Also vegetable stock can be changed out for chicken or beef stock if preferred.
Note; recipe based on Harris Teeter's Moroccan Lentil with Chick Peas Soup.
There are 643 calories in 1 serving of Moroccan Spiced Chickpea and Lentil Soup.