Roasted Carrots with Lentils and Green Harissa

In last months issue of the Cooking Light Magazine I came across this recipe for whole roasted carrots with lentils and green harissa. Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste with the main ingredients consisting of roasted red peppers, Serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers paired with spices and herbs.The recipe went along with an article about the senior editor from Cooking Light going vegan for a month and learning ways of getting creative with food while living such a restrictive diet. The experience completely changed the way he viewed food and now a year later he eats about half as much animal products as he used to. Before his journey began he reached out to two expert vegan chefs to learn how to make great tasting vegan food that would leave any meat loving person satisfied.
Enter roasted carrots with lentils and green harissa. This recipe immediately jumped out at me as I was reading the article. Perhaps it was the vibrant colors or my recent obsession for roasting whole carrots. Either way it quickly went to the top of my "must make soon" list of recipes.


Over the past couple of years I have become more open minded to other dietary lifestyles, and this became even more evident after having to give up dairy and soy for several months myself. I am certainly not vegan, or vegetarian for that matter, but I have started cooking more meatless dinners than I used to. At first I wasn't sure how this would go over with my meat loving husband but I quickly learned that as long as the meals were filling and delicious he was all for the occasional veggie filled dinners.


This dinner was a huge hit since it was both filling and delicious but even better it's incredibly good for you as lentils are high in fiber and protein. Since Jason nor I care for cilantro I substituted parsley in it's place. The original recipe calls for black lentils but I used brown since that's what I had on had. Alternate the cooking time based on the lentils you use as black ones may take longer to cook.

Roasted Carrots with Lentils and Harissa

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
3 cups Vegetable Stock or unsalted vegetable stock
2 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
2 pounds large carrots
2 cups Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded

Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/2 cup onion and minced garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until golden. Add stock, lentils, and 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Combine carrots, 2 tablespoons oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, tossing well to coat. Arrange carrot mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until tender.
Combine remaining 1 cup onion, remaining oil, parsley, and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
Place lentils on a serving dish; arrange carrots on top. Serve with harissa.



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