Meat-free Oriental Bliss Bowl
During 11th grade, I had a Lebanese boyfriend. He came from a very interesting background. His dad was from Israel, and his mom was from Lebanon. His family lived in England, but he decided to go to boarding school in Germany.
And that’s where we met. One time we went to see his parents in the UK during winter break, and on this trip I got introduced to Lebanese food for the first time. That’s how it started - my love affair with middle-eastern food. It only took one bite, and I was hooked.
My teenage relationship didn’t last, but my love for these flavorful dishes he introduced me to survived. Until today I remain a huge fan of the middle-eastern cuisine. And that’s why today’s recipe is one of my all-time favorites.
This vegetarian chickpea bowl is super yummy, and quite easy to make (don't be intimidated by the amount of ingredients, a lot of them are simply spices). This truly is comfort food at its best. What looks like chicken in this picture, is actually grilled halloumi cheese. Nomnomnom…
So here’s what you need to make this tasty bliss bowl:
For the chickpeas:
520 g (18,3 oz) canned chickpeas, drained
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
50 g (1,8 oz) onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minzed
½ Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp paprika powder
1 tsp turmeric (Kurkuma)
1 tsp garam masala
A bit more than ½ Tbsp salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
600 g (21,2 oz) canned tomatoes
100 g (3,5 oz) canned roasted bell peppers
For the yoghurt sauce:
200 g (7 oz) yoghurt
1 big clove garlic (optional)
Halloumi cheese slices, grilled, or fried
Cooked potato slices
Lime juice, splash
Olive oil, to taste
Mint, chopped, optional
Parsley, choppped, to taste
Cilantro, chopped, to taste
Cucumber, diced, to taste
Add the canned tomatoes, their juice, and the roasted bell peppers to a food processor, and blend until smooth. Set the mixture aside. Then heat oil in a pan, turn the heat onto medium, and add the onions.
Once they start to get a little color, add the garlic. Stir briefly. Then, before the garlic turns brown, add the chickpeas, spices, and the tomato mixture you just prepared.
Let it simmer on medium heat, while stirring once in a while, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the yoghurt sauce. Simply add the yoghurt, and the garlic clove to a long measuring jug, and with the help of an immersion blender, combine the two into a smooth mixture.
Then set your yoghurt sauce aside. Once your chickpea mixture is done cooking (remember it only takes about 15 minutes) remove it from the heat, and set it aside. Now prepare your quinoa, halloumi, potatoes, cucumber, mint, parsley and cilantro.
The amount you use of the side ingredients is up to you. Now take a bowl, and arrange the side ingredients, chickpea mixture, and yoghurt sauce nicely. Don't forget to add a splash of fresh lime juice, and olive oil on top.
Voila, done! Enjoy your oriental bliss bowl! Tip: To cook your quinoa, use twice the amount of water of the quinoa’s weight. Stir occasionaly, and once the water is gone, your quinoa is done.