Harissa Roasted Fennel, Carrots and Potatoes

The term “tapas” refers to small delectable portions of any kind of Spanish cuisine, served either cold or hot. Tapas can be simple in preparation but sumptuous in presentation, and really shine when they are complementary with flavorful vegetables, humble grains, and hearty proteins. While this week’s recipe isn’t a traditionally Spanish recipe, it is a versatile and inspired dish that combines briny Spanish olives with spicy North African harissa paste along with rich roasted root vegetables, and can be served as a small plate or main dish. Lemony black lentils and nutty tempeh were served as the main protein with mine, but any fish or red meat would work well too. This particular spicy harissa paste was a cheap and lucky find at Trader Joe’s but the Mina brand also offers a milder and sweeter version that is available at grocery stores. Altogether, this was an amazingly simple and unforgettable one-sheet-wonder that has already been repeated quite a few times in our household.

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into long rectangles
  • 1-2 lbs baby potatoes
  • 1-2 TB Trader Joe’s harissa paste (it’s spicy, so flavor to taste)
  • 1/2 cup green olives with pimento and 1 TB olive brine
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add sliced fennel, carrots and whole baby potatoes on large baking sheet and toss to coat with olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes then remove carrots and fennel and place in large serving bowl. Continue roasting potatoes for additional 15-20 minutes. When done, add roasted potatoes and green olives to the serving bowl then coat with harissa paste, olive brine and squeezed lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve warm.

Mexican Red Quinoa Soup

soup I often make grilled vegetables for the week to enjoy with pasta or salad, but it never occurred to me until this week to puree those grilled vegetables into a soup base and then pour that over a grain base to make a yummy stew. WHOA MAMA! Imagine the possibilities. It all started with this amazing recipe for a Mexican flavored vegetable soup with quinoa from Reboot with Joe which I altered slightly just because it is literally impossible for me to make a recipe without changing it somehow just for the hell of it. And now that the seed has been planted, I am definitely going to experiment more with spices, flavors and grains. This soup is hearty, sweet and spicy, and makes a nice substitute for the usual chili.

MEXICAN RED QUINOA SOUP
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
2 jalapeno chili peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 medium red onion
3 tomatillos, peeled
2 15 oz. cans of black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 cups organic vegetable broth
4 green onions, sliced
1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup cooked red quinoa
sea salt and pepper to taste

veggies Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Discard all stems and seeds from the peppers (if you want it spicier leave in jalapeno seeds). Roughly chop field peppers and onion. S[read whole garlic in peel, whole tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, onion and peppers onto baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until pepper skin is soft, about 15 minutes. While roasting, heat broth in pot. Remove baking sheet from oven. Peel garlic and place all vegetables into broth, and add half of the corn and beans. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Add remaining corn and black beans, stir, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over bed of quinoa and garnish with chopped scallion and cilantro.