Harissa Portobello Mushroom Wraps

Do you like flavor?

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No, not that Flavor. I mean…you do you, but …

I’m talkin’ flaaaaaaavoooooorrrr. As in harissa, that yummy, delicious and oh-so-versatile North African condiment. I will never understand, no matter how long I live, our very American fascination with ketchup. It’s basically tomatoes, sugar and water. Bleh.

Harissa, on the other hand, is smoky, rich, layered and evocative. You can have it spicy or mild. Green or red. Out of a jar (gasp) … or homemade.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

Yup. Das right. I make my own harissa for this amazing and delicious vegan recipe. Down with preservatives and added sugars! Doing it yourself means healthy. It means control. It means you make it the way YOU want it.

So, before you make these wraps, make harissa paste : )

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 4 ounces dried chilis (use whatever kind you like … anchos, pasillas, chipotles … even Thai chilis if you want it super hot. Or make your own. Like when you go to the convenience store, get a little bit of every soda in one cup and call it a suicide. Make a chili suicide.)
  • 3 dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • A couple garlic cloves (I have trouble counting to two and often use three)
  • 1 tsp salt (get interesting with it. Try new coarse salts. A smoked one would be good here.)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cuman seeds
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

So, don’t get all huffy about this, but you’re going to have to put in some actual work to make this shizz. But it’s worth it. So do it. (Or go buy a jar. Sigh. $6.99. You’ll use it for this and then have to toss it, cuz you never use harissa, right? Whatevs.)

Roast the red bell pepper. It’s going to take 45 minutes to an hour, so watch an episode of Supernatural and turn it every commercial. If you have a Firestick or are streaming, turn it every time Bobby says “Balls.” Cuz no commercials. If it’s an episode with no Bobby, you’re probs going to have to set a timer. Anyhoo, the oven should be at 350° and you should turn it every 15 minutes or so until it is deeply roasted on all sides and totes soft on the inside.

Also, as soon as you put that thing in the oven, set a pot of water on to boil. When it comes to a boil, pause Supernatural. Go turn the red pepper, then put the chilis and sun-dried tomato in a bowl, pour the boiling water over them to cover, and let sit to soften while the red pepper continues roasting. 30 minutes or so.

The next time you go into the kitchen to turn the red bell pepper, put the seeds into a skillet and put them on the stove to toast over a medium-high heat. They won’t take long, and it will smell heavenly. Remove them from the heat, turn the pepper again, and go back to Supernatural.

The final (whew) time you have to go into the kitchen, turn the pepper and drain the chilis. De-seed, peel, and de-stem things (unless you like it hothothot.) Grind the toasted seeds in a spice mill (or Ninja whatsit). Throw all the things in a blender or food processor and blend until it becomes a thick paste. Add olive oil as necessary and/or a bit of water. Any you have left over can be stored in the fridge for up to a month. Pour a layer of olive oil over the top when you store it.

Ohhhhhhhhh-KAYYYYY.

We were making wraps, right? Right.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (I always pronounce that “ulb”) portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/4 cup harissa (that stuff you made up there unless you bought it. Which is lame.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (I always pronounce that “tub ess pee”)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (tesp)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 6 leaves for wrapping (collard, lettuce, napa cabbage, etc.)
  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro, to taste

Remove the stems (if there are any) from the portobello caps. Rinse and pat dry. Put the harissa, 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, cumin and onion powder in a ziploc bag. Mix it up really well, then toss the mushrooms in there. Push out any extra air, then squish everything around so the mushrooms are good and coated. Set it aside to marinate for a while. Finish Supernatural if you haven’t already.

After the mushrooms have gotten all flavorful, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook until they’re heated through, turning frequently. Turn off the heat and let them just sit there and think about what they’ve done for a few minutes, then slice them sorta thin, but not toooo thin.

Build your wrap: fill with some mushroom, then top with avocado, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro. Throw whatever else you can think of in there. If you’re not trying to be vegan, add some sour cream. Go wild. Enjoy : )


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Avocado Hummus

I like to make this when I’m invited to parties where everyone is bringing an appetizer so that I can eat along with everyone else and still be sure I’m sticking to my low-carbiness. My favorite way to eat it is with raw bell pepper strips … the more colorful the better … but you can do it with any of your favorites : ) Sometimes, though, I just make this and portion it out to freeze and pop it in with my workweek lunches. It’s that good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked in water all the whole night long at room temperature, unless your room is an igloo. Or a sauna. (Oh, yeah. Also. Most recipes call for unsalted, but I go with salted.)
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled. Give it a rough chop.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or so) of your favorite coarse salt (I’m currently using Red Hawaiian from Trader Joe’s 7 Salts of the Earth). Ob-vee, if you used salted macadamias, you might need less salt. Or, if you’re a camel, you might need more. You be the judge. I trust you.
  • A squeeze of fresh lime juice (I go pretty light on this)
  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed
  • Cilantro … if ya wanna. (I usually wanna)

If you haven’t toasted your sesame seeds yet, do so. Don’t burn them … but get them to a nice golden brown. There’s a basically only a nanosecond between golden and burnt, so don’t go hang out in the living room to catch a few minutes of a Daria rerun while they’re toasting. Not that I’ve ever done that super-specific thing of wrongness. Nope. Not me.

(I totally did.)

Drain the macadamias. Now’s the time to go watch Daria so they drain really well. Or you can let them drain while you toast the sesame seeds. Cuz you know you didn’t do that in advance.

Put everything except the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Give it a good whirl, and then drizzle in the olive oil until it reaches a hummus dipping like consistency. Serve with fresh veggies.

This will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. But there’s no way it’ll last that long. I’m just saying.