Do you like flavor?
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 : )
- 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.
We were making wraps, right? Right.
- 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 : )