Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Harissa Dressing

This recipe works well roasted in the oven or cooked out on the grill.  I love the way the harissa dressing mingles with the carrots, red onions, chickpeas and garlic.  Served on a bed of quinoa and topped with fresh mint and parsley, it is sure to delight!

Harissa is a hot chili pepper paste from North Africa.  Typically, it's a mix of roasted red peppers, hot peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, saffron, and various other herbs and spices.  I used a prepared brand, Dea Harissa Hot Sauce, that I picked up at a local natural foods store.  If it's hard to find where you are, you can also make it from scratch.  Harissa tastes great in salad dressings, on roasted or grilled vegetables, on grains, in pasta dishes, and on and on.  

Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Harissa Dressing.jpg

Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Harissa Dressing

Harissa Dressing

¼ cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 ½-2 ½ Tbsp harissa paste (see note above)

1 ½-2 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp agave 

Salt, to taste

Carrots and Chickpeas:

1 medium red onion, sliced into crescents

6 whole garlic cloves, peeled

4 large carrots, sliced thick on a bias

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Ground cumin, to sprinkle

Prepared quinoa, to serve

Fresh mint and fresh parsley, to top

Garlic in olive oil

1. Add olive oil and chopped garlic to a skillet over high heat.  As soon as the garlic sizzles, turn it down to low heat and allow the garlic to infuse the oil for about 2 minutes.  The garlic should not brown or get crispy.

2.  Add the oil to medium glass or steel mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients listed under "Harissa Dressing".  If you are sensitive to heat, add less harissa paste.  If you like it hot, add more.  Whisk everything together for about 60 seconds.  Taste, and adjust seasonings (salt?  more harissa? lemon?).  Set aside.

Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Harissa Dressing

3. Line an 8" X 11" pan with non-stick aluminum foil.  If grilling, make sure the pan is grill-proof.  Add red onions, garlic cloves, carrots, and chickpeas.  Drizzle with Harissa Dressing, and toss until everything is well coated.  Lightly sprinkle with ground cumin.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

4.  TO GRILL: Grill for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.  Check and stir around every 10 minutes to make sure nothing is burning.  TO ROAST:  Bake at 425 F for 35-45 minutes (checking and stirring at the half way point).  Serve over a bed of quinoa with lemon wedges, and top with fresh mint and/or fresh parsley.

Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Harissa Dressing