Hearty harissa spiced stew

Hearty harissa spiced stew

I don’t often experiment with Moroccan cooking, but after flicking through the Leon cook book I found myself presented with a new wave of inspiration and thus, this beautiful hearty stew was born. Rather than having heat, this stew is gently spiced, mainly with harissa, but also with subtle hints of turmeric and cumin. It’s a perfect winter staple, as it contains three sources of starchy carbohydrates, great for storing up energy when braving the cold! As well as that it offers protein from the lentils and the chickpeas (which also contain a bunch of other essential nutrients.)

Pulses I would say are definitely one of my staples, but sadly I think they are often underestimated and underused. There are so many different types – green lentils, red lentils, cannellini beans, borlotti beans, black beans, chickpeas…. And they contain an array of nutrients including B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc and not to mention protein. I feel there’s sometimes a misconception that in order to get the right amount of protein you need to eat animal products, but the fact is there’s small amounts of protein in all whole foods and as long as your eating a healthy balanced diet, sufficient in calories, with a few pulses chucked in here or there, you can make up your protein intake gradually throughout the day. Looking to plants for protein also means that you can fulfil all of your protein requirements, minus all of the cholesterol and saturated fat. If you’re transitioning to veganism, or just curious about protein and nutrients in general, then I would recommend you use a nutrient tracker like Cronometer to track your nutrients!


Now for the recipe – you can adjust accordingly depending on your preferences or just what available in the cupboard… spinach would work as a fine replacement for kale, just as black or brown lentils could work instead of green, but whatever you choose make sure to add plenty of garlic!


Ingredients (Serves 3):

1/2 cup green lentils

1 tin of chickpeas

2 carrots

2 medium onions

2 sticks celery

2 medium potatoes

5 cloves garlic

2 tbsp harissa

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 vegetable stock cubes

100g kale



  1. Start by peeling the carrots and potatoes, then roughly chop along with the onions and celery. Finely chop the garlic.
  2. Add all of the veg to a large saucepan and fry on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Add the spices then fry for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Add the lentils to the pan, 1 litre of boiling water and the vegetable stock cubes. Bring the stew to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for half an hour.
  4. Drain the chickpeas then add them to the pan along with the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes.


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