Harissa Chickpea Bowl with Potatoes, Lemon-y Tahini & Greens - The First MessHarissa Chickpea Bowl with Potatoes, Lemon-y Tahini & Greens - The First Mess

It’s been a while! I feel like I keep saying that. Since I was last here, I went on a wonderful weekend trip to Portland with a friend, I celebrated my 33rd birthday, finished this book + this book (affiliate links!), and have just been doing some quality Winter nesting.

We ate so much great food in Portland! Coffee at Stumptown was great. Naturally we hit up Tusk and Ava Gene’s because Joshua McFadden and his food style just rules. We had great bowl food (and deep chlorophyll-y green lemonade!) at Prasad Cafe. I had this eggplant dip/spread that left a deeply vivid impression on me at Shalom Y’all (might have to recreate soon). Quality tea lattes were had at Tea Bar and delicious togarashi-spiced avocado toast was enjoyed at Locale. Oh, and I had one of the better vegan ice cream experiences of my life at Eb & Bean. It also helped that we randomly ran into Dana of Minimalist Baker while we were there. Total serendipity!

We walked through the Portland Japanese Garden, which was honestly the most wonderful thing. I had spent the day flying and wanted to be surrounded in trees, moss, nature sounds, the smell of vegetation, and just that living and breathing sense of life in real time. I always try to do something in nature at the end of a flying day as a way to happily adjust to the new surroundings. When I do this and take care to drink plenty of water and herbal tea on the plane, it’s all smooth sailing, energy for days, and sound sleep when the time comes.

We hit some great shops as well: Field Trip, Solabee Flowers, North of West, Alder & Co., and my fave of them all Pistils Nursery. I came home with a gorgeous piece of labraodrite that glows like the northern lights, a very gentle tarot deck, a suncatcher prism, some very important hot sauce, and a new toiletry bag to go with my forever dependable Filson carry-on. We leaned on Alison Wu’s excellent Portland travel guide if you’re planning a trip soon ;)

Anyway! Now that you know my entire life story from that weekend (hehe), let’s jump to today’s recipe. We had these loaded fries the first night in Portland. They had tahini sauce, zhoug, fresh dill, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. I loved them, but I also remember wishing that they were a bit messier/more saucy. Maybe it’s the Canadian built-in preference for poutine or something?

I don’t really fry at home, so this roasted potato bowl with za’atar, slightly saucy harissa chickpeas, greens, and tahini sauce is what I’ve happily settled on here. Definitely a bowl food vibe, and definitely simple enough for weeknight enjoyment. rather than making a traditional harissa paste, we kind of just build those same flavours as we cook the chickpeas. Also, just need to add that potatoes are pretty much the best wherever you find them. Hilariously, this is yet ANOTHER chickpea, stewed tomato deal from me (see here, here, here + here). Can you tell it’s still deep winter here?!

Harissa Chickpea Bowl with Potatoes, Lemon-y Tahini & Greens - The First MessHarissa Chickpea Bowl with Potatoes, Lemon-y Tahini & Greens - The First Mess


Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 3 hearty portions or 4 smaller ones ;)
NOTES: If you don’t have a spice grinder, use the same amount of ground cumin, coriander, caraway seed, and chili flakes. If you can’t find it in ground form, whole caraway seed is fine too.
-I know that plenty of people are kinda “meh” on caraway, feel free to leave it out!
-The amount of chili here gives the chickpea mix a good amount of heat. If you’re sensitive to spice, I’d cut it back to half a teaspoon.
-I like to make the tahini sauce first, so that I have it out of the way, and also the flavours get to marry a bit. You could fix it up while the potatoes roast if you prefer.

¼ cup tahini
¼ cup filtered water
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, finely minced (or grated with a Microplane)
1 teaspoon olive oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1 ½ lbs new potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon heat-tolerant oil, such as avocado
1 teaspoon za’atar

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon heat-tolerant oil, such as avocado
1 shallot, fine dice (about ⅓ cup diced shallot)
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15-ounce can, drained)
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes (I like fire-roasted here)
¼ cup filtered water (+ extra if necessary)

4 big handfuls of chopped mixed greens
olive oil
fresh lemon juice
extra za’atar
⅓ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Make the lemon-y tahini. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once combined and seasoned to your liking, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch thick wedges or cubes and transfer them to a large baking sheet. Toss them with the oil, za’atar, salt, and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, or until tender and golden brown, flipping them once at the halfway point.

Make the harissa chickpeas. In a deep skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin, coriander, caraway, and chili flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer spiced to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind spices to a rough powder and set aside.

Place the skillet back on the heat and pour the oil in. Add the shallot to the skillet and sauté until translucent and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ground spice mixture and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas to skillet and stir to coat the chickpeas. Add the crushed tomatoes and water to the chickpeas and stir to combine. Season harissa chickpeas with salt and pepper. Bring the harissa chickpeas to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and let chickpeas cook for 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary. You want the chickpeas to be saucy, but not fluid like a soup.

While chickpeas are simmering, toss the greens with olive oil, lemon juice, pinches of za’atar, sale, and pepper.

To serve the harissa chickpea bowls, divide warm potatoes among plates. Top with harissa chickpeas, tahini sauce, piles of dressed greens, and chopped parsley.

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