Have you noticed that I love spicy food? It’s true. I do.

Spicy harissa is something that’s been on my “must try list” for a while now. I finally got my hands on some yesterday and I am so glad I did: I think this chickpea salad with roasted red pepper and harissa is terrific!

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If you are not yet acquainted with harissa, it’s a gorgeous, deep red chili sauce that hails from North Africa. Harissa is a very versatile condiment that can be used to add an exciting flavor to nearly any dish, from eggs to sandwiches to soups/stews to salads. It can be mild or very, very spicy, depending on the chilis used in its preparation.

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I think you’ll have no trouble finding it if you live in a large city, and you can definitely buy it on the internet. If you can’t get harissa, though (or if you’ve been unhappy with the brands you’ve purchased), consider making your own. I found a few harissa recipes that look great: here’s one from Cordelia on food52, and here’s one from Saveur.

Chickpeas are a wonderful source of vegetarian protein and they also contain good amounts of the minerals calcium, zinc, and folic acid. I just love them in all sorts of recipes, but particularly in healthy salads like this one. I cooked my own dried chickpeas for this recipe, and you’ll find my method for these below. If you use the dried chickpeas, you’ll need to start soaking them at least the day before you plan to make the salad. If you prefer, you can use canned chickpeas.

I also roasted my own red pepper. This is very simple to do if you have a gas stove.

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I blackened the pepper all over, placed it in a paper bag for 10-15 minutes to cool, and then rubbed the charred skin off. You can substitute jarred roasted red pepper, if you like.

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5 Comments

  1. 1

    sally — February 10, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

    This salad looks great! I’ve been interested in trying harissa. I will definitely have to look for some or try making my own. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. 2

    Heather Loves Healthy Vegan Recipes — February 11, 2010 @ 12:22 am

    Looks great! I’ll probably skip the harissa, as I don’t do so well with the spicy, but I always love new ways of getting protein into my vegan recipes. Thanks!

  3. 3

    Julia — February 11, 2010 @ 6:18 am

    Hey Winnie- Love the salad, so bright and sunny for these winter time blues. And I love the blog, it’s beautiful and inspiring! Great work. Hope the family is well…all best, Jules

  4. 4

    Mezze for the Daring Cooks | Healthy Green Kitchen — February 14, 2010 @ 6:38 am

    […] I stayed pretty traditional and served my pitas and hummus with homemade preserved lemons, a bowl of olives, a tomato and cucumber salad enhanced with fresh mint, and leftovers of this chickpea salad with fiery harissa. […]

  5. 5

    Chris — February 14, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    I love all things chickpeas! I am going to make sure I try this one. :) Thanks for participating in WHB….round up tomorrow!