North African cuisine is typically heavy in meat: kebabs, lamb, chicken etc. But this cuisine also uses many vegan ingredients as well. Couscous and rice are base ingredients for many dishes, and chickpeas are used often, in dishes like North African Squash Stew (with butternut squash–delicious.) These flavors are often highlighted with black pepper and some citrus, but the most popular spice flavor is harissa: an incredible, awakening taste that heightens the flavor of almost anything to which it is added. Made from red pepper, cumin and a mix of other spices, harissa is something you just have to try if you are not using it already. This rice salad recipe is perfectly light yet filling, and won’t make you feel like you need a nap afterwards . Happy Friday!
North African Spicy Rice Salad
1 can chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper, ground
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, quartered
5 button mushrooms, sliced
5 stalks green onions, chopped
1.5 cups spinach leaves
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup sweet white wine
1 tbsp. harissa infused olive oil (like this one from Alfonso)
Prepare bowls with bed of spinach, tomato slices
Fill pan with 1/4 cup water and heat on medium with onions, cook until soft and water is almost evaporated, add mushrooms & cook on low until soft; remove from pan, remove pan from heat
Deglaze the pan carefully with a tiny bit of wine at a time, slowly mix mushrooms and onions back in and cook on low, toss in harissa olive oil and add green onions and chickpeas
Place on low and mix in rice; when all heated uniformly, scoop into two prepared bowls and sprinkle with some more olive oil and salt and pepper. Enjoy!
More allergen-free recipes from Freedom Friday: Summertime Vegan BBQ Sammies!
Photo: Kate Coffey