A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower, Butternut Squash & Chickpeas with Harissa

Purple cauliflower. Beautiful photo by Anne DeLeon.

Check out that incredible purple cauliflower! So beautiful! During their CSA off-season, Mariquita Farms offers their organic produce to customers as a part of their 'Lady Bug' delivery throughout the Bay Area. I look out for their email fliers that announce the latest delivery schedule and available produce. The other week I couldn't help myself. Some people can't resist and unintentionally spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on shoes or clothes on a whim. I buy cauliflower -- purple cauliflower! And apples. And greens. Ten pounds of cauliflower, twenty pounds of Braeburn apples and a mystery box of veggies.  The result =  a stuffed fridge with no room for milk (or beer!) and the need for lots of culinary inspiration, quickly.

Luckily Bill has been juicing mad amounts of apples (and pretty much any fruit or veggie that I bring into the house). And double lucky that and I was on my way to a pickling party (no joke). That still left LOTS of veggies. Happily, I recently discovered homemade Harissa. Harissa is a Moroccan chili sauce that takes lentil soup, black bean soup, hummus, eggs, and lots of other dishes to the next level.  I originally made it to go with this recipe, a chickpea and butternut squash stew from Martha Stewart (which I really liked and have made twice in the past two weeks).

This week's recipe is similar to a black bean, sweet potato & kale dish I made a few weeks ago... but the Harissa makes it surprisingly unique. You can purchase Harissa already made, or make your own. It's surprisingly easy to make, and one batch will last for a couple weeks in the fridge, and the recipe below will make enough for several meals. Roasting the cauliflower and butternut squash also contributes to the awesome flavor in this dish -- much deeper flavor than if you simply sauteed everything (which you could also do, but it wouldn't necessarily be quicker).  Roasted Cauliflower, Butternut Squash & Chickpeas with Harissa was great served over red Thai rice, but any grain would be tasty.

Roasted Cauliflower, Butternut Squash & Chickpeas with Harissa
1 head cauliflower (purple cauliflower is pictured), cut into bite-sized florets
2 carrots, cut into small coins
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked & rinsed
2 cups beet greens (or Swiss Chard or other greens), chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
3 Tablespoons Harissa*
rice, quinoa or other grain, cooked
salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower and butternut squash with 1 - 2 Tablespoons olive oil and a big pinch of salt, on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Prepare the Harissa (see below), and set aside.
3. Saute the onion in a Tablespoon oil over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Add a big pinch of salt.
4. Add carrots and garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
5. Stir in 2 - 3 Tablespoons Harissa.
6. Add the beet greens, saute another 1 - 2 minutes, until wilted.
7. Add chickpeas, heat through.
8. Add roasted cauliflower and butternut squash, toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Serve over rice or another grain.

1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1 Tablespoons cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon New Mexico chili, dried and powdered
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of good sea salt

To Make the Harissa:
1. In a dry, hot skillet, toast the caraway, coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant but not burned.
2. Grind the toasted spices and the mint in a spice grinder or with a mortar & pestle.
3. Mix the ground spices with the cayenne and chili together. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine. Store in a air-tight container for up to two weeks. The oil will naturally separate.


  1. Delicious and healthy! What else could one want? A nice flavor with a roasty depth :P

  2. that purple cauli looks so so pretty! looks so hearty & nutritious, i wish the cauli wudav kept its colour after roasting :)

  3. first of all, there's always room for beer.

    second of all, lookin' good sister!