When I served Matt and myself this dinner, we both raved about it as we ate. But then he said something that I wanted to share – because it was, how should I put this… interesting. In a complimentary kind of way he said that I had been disappointed lately with my recipe development – implying that it must feel good to make a hit like this one. And he was right. I have been struggling lately. I’ve made a few recipes that haven’t been shared with my communities, because I just didn’t love them, and it’s really important to me that what I put out is worth making.
So I thought about that for a minute before writing this post. After some pondering, I put my finger on the problem. I’ve been over-thinking it. Before getting pregnant, before my cooking life was thrown for a loop, most of what I ate for dinner was in bowl form. Big salads, grain bowls, thick stews with an array of toppings. Simple ingredients, crave-worthy sauces and flavorful finishing touches. Making this hummus bowl brought it all back. I don’t know how to explain it but this recipe just felt like me, it felt comfortable, it felt like home. It sounds cheesy, but when it comes to food, I’m a cheese-ball, what can I say? So I’ve learned a good lesson here – when in doubt, make a bowl full of stuff. Keep it simple, let the plants shine, I can’t go wrong.
Harissa Hummus Bowls with Roasted Mushrooms
1/2 cup olive oil
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed/peeled/roughly chopped
sea salt, fine grain
2 tablespoons harissa powder*
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons honey or other liquid sweetener
2 14-oz cans chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 2-3 lemons
1 lb cremini mushrooms (aka baby Bella), thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt, fine grain
4 mini cucumbers, finely diced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
For the mushrooms, in a large bowl, toss sliced mushrooms with olive oil and salt. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, some overlapping is good. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, tossing 2-3 times during baking. Always rearrange in a slightly overlapping layer to avoid burning. Bake until mushrooms are dried out and have a rich golden-brown color.
For the tomatoes, toss with olive oil and a large pinch salt. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Flip tomatoes once or twice during cooking.
For the hummus, sauté shallot and garlic in olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt, over medium to medium-low heat. When shallot is soft and translucent, and a bit caramelized, about 5 minutes, add sweetener, harissa and cumin. Stir to combine. After about a minute (careful not to burn), remove from heat.
Blend all remaining hummus ingredients with the harissa-shallot-garlic mixture until smooth. Add reserved chickpea liquid to achieve desired consistency (or water or olive oil). Add salt to taste, 1.5 teaspoons more or less. If it feels like it’s missing something, it’s likely salt.
To serve, divide hummus between 4 low rim bowls. Spread the hummus in an even layer across bottom of bowl. Divide toppings evenly between bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika as garnish, if desired. Serve with warm pita and spoons.
* Harissa powder has a kick – reduce to 4 teaspoons to keep it more mild (2 tablespoons is 6 teaspoons)
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