When I did my reader survey, quite a few of you asked me to write more about the products I use everyday in my kitchen. Some people even requested that I take photos of the inside of my refrigerator. That was funny to me, because I had thought about doing something like that before and I thought, “People are going to think I’m nuts.” But apparently not! I guess I’ll have to put together a post like that soon, although really, there’s not that much to see. I keep a whole lot of fruit and veggies on hand and then all the racks on the refrigerator door are jam packed with sauces and condiments. It’s like a United Nations of hot sauces all up in my fridge.
I have definitely come a long way from the girl who grew up thinking that Tombstone frozen pizza was unbearably spicy. Now I like spicy foods! And I add hot sauce to so many dishes–sriracha on salad (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!), Cholula on tacos, harissa in soups. All hot sauces are not created equal and I’ve come to appreciate how some are sweet, some are garlicky; some have a slow warmth that creeps up on you, while others pack an immediate punch. Hooray for hot sauces!
Harissa is a hot sauce that’s often used in Tunisian and Moroccan food. It’s a flavorful combination of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices. I’ve found that different brands have different levels of heat–some just right, others almost unbearably hot. Some are thick like a paste, others are more saucy. Because there’s such a wide variety in formulations for harissa, when you use it in a recipe, it’s best to add a little, taste, then add more as needed.
When Mina Harissa asked me to develop a recipe using their products I was excited because their harissa is my favorite harissa. The spice level is perfect in their Spicy harissa and I like the consistency of it too–it’s more of a sauce than a paste. Mina harissa is made with only 6 ingredients and it’s all natural, so unlike a lot of other hot sauces, there are no preservatives or food coloring in it. A few teaspoons will perk up a soup or add a welcome kick to your next batch of roasted potatoes.
Since it’s starting to get a little chilly out (I wore a cardigan the other day–yay for cardigan weather!), I thought a Moroccan-inspired Chickpea & Spinach Stew would be the perfect recipe for this harissa. This stew is good on its own, but it’s great when you add the harissa and a big squeeze of lemon juice. (Don’t skip the lemon juice!) The heat of the sauce is a slow one–at first, the stew doesn’t seem spicy, but every spoonful gives you a little more heat. We had this over whole wheat couscous, but rice, quinoa, or any other grain you have on hand would work too.
Oh, and bonus: if you serve this over couscous, dinner is done in about 25 minutes!
Harissa is a Moroccan hot sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices. It gives this stew a slow heat, making it the perfect dinner for a chilly fall evening.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon harissa (I used Spicy Mina Harissa)
- 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges and couscous or rice, for serving
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for a minute, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and broth. Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
- Add the harissa and spinach to the pot and stir until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over couscous or rice with lemon wedges.
Different brands of harissa can vary a lot in spice level. You might want to start out with a teaspoon or less and add more to taste.
Disclosure: Mina compensated me for the time spent developing and photographing this recipe. Sponsored Recipes are a once-a-month feature on Oh My Veggies-–my sponsors help make this blog possible!