Eat For Your Health: Black Lentil, Roasted Carrots and Green Harissa

Spice Up Your Life

Holidays at my parent's house have transformed tremendously over the last 10 years.  Though they still serve some type of meat as the main course (I'm working on them!)  to please the extended family, all of the remaining veggie and grain dishes are vegan friendly. My mom always assigns me the task of coming up with a plant-based protein dish as well.  This year, inspired by my international travels, I decided to make a somewhat traditional dish with a global twist.  While the black lentils and roasted carrots are absolutely delicious, for me the rising star is the Harissa sauce!  

Harissa is a spicy Tunisian chile sauce.  Though it's traditionally red, the cilantro and green jalapeño I added to this version make it a beautiful, bright green, which was obviously just as festive!  I like a lot of spice, so I removed the seeds from one of the jalapeños, but used ALL of the seeds from the other.  It was the kind of hot that leads to a sweat line on your brow.  The spice lovers in my family couldn't stop complimenting the sauce.  My dad said I need to bottle and sell the stuff.  It's a really versatile sauce and can be spread on sandwiches, used as a veggie dip, smeared on potatoes- use it anywhere you would use any other kind of hot sauce!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

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What You Need:

Roasted Carrots and Lentils:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups uncooked black lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
  • 2 pounds of large carrots, peeled

Harissa:

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, washed well
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large jalapeño peppers, stems removed (I removed the seeds from 1 pepper and added the seeds from the 2nd pepper to the blender)
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What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add 1/2 cup onion and minced garlic, sauté until golden brown.
  • Add vegetable stock, lentils and 2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until lentils are tender.  
  • Place carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning.  Toss carrots well to coat.  Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
  • While the lentils and carrots are cooking, place all ingredients for the Harissa in a blender and process until smooth.  
  • When lentils and carrots are done, place lentils on a serving dish, arrange carrots on top and serve with Harissa. 

Inspired by: Cooking Light