Roasted Carrot & Harissa Mezze

My recent trip to Morocco reminded me how much I love the way the Moroccans eat and how naturally healthy their food is. Lots of vegetables and fresh ingredients served simply – unadulterated. There are many versions of this type of Mezze and I couldn’t find an official Moroccan name for this dish but it appears all over the country in various guises – and its just delicious! If you are clever, then make double and keep the rest in a sealed container for the weeks wraps & lunch box’s.

Ingredients

5 large carrots, scrubbed (600g)

1/4 cup + 2 tsp olive oil, divided

Salt + pepper

1 cup cooked chickpeas (or canned and then drained)

1 tbsp Moroccan Harissa – you can add more to taste – OR add a Moroccan spice blend (I mix equal parts (for e.g 1 tbsp each) Cumin, Coriander, Paprika, Turmeric and then 1/2 tbsp Cinnamon & ground ginger each into a jar to use – you can make as much as you need)

1 large clove garlic minced

Zest and juice of half a lemon

1 tsp tomato paste

2 tbsp tahini (My fave is Oh’Mega – as its light and creamy)

Nigella & Sesame seeds to decorate (don’t skip the Nigella (black cumin) seeds if you can – they really add to the flavour of this dish)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C degrees and place the washed and dried carrots onto a baking sheet. Toss the carrots with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Slide the carrots into the oven and roast until tender and lightly browned on all sides, flipping them over at least once around 25mins. The carrots should be tender inside but not too brown on the outside as you want to retain the colour. 40mins should be enough depending on the size of the carrots. Cool the carrots thoroughly.
  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor blend the cooked chickpeas, spices or harissa, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, tomato paste, tahini, salt, and pepper. Chop the carrots into smaller pieces and add them to the food processor as well. Pulse the mixture a few times until you have a coarse mixture. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and finally drizzle the rest of the olive oil into the mixture while keeping the food processor on until you have a relatively fine blended mixture. You can adjust this if you prefer a coarse texture.

Once you have a smooth purée, check the dip for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning level to your liking and then scrape the dip into a flat serving bowl drizzle with olive oil and serve with flatbreads as part of a feast – or with another mezze or two as part of a starter.

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