Warm Harissa Chickpea Salad

Happy 2018! If you're like most of the world population, you probably sat down yesterday and made a loose list of resolutions. 'Tis the season for The Whole 30, Sober January, and whatever the catchy name for a 30-day ketogenic resolution might be (Keto Jan-ic? Fat Bombs Until Feb?). If that's your jam, awesome. It's tough to make a big dietary change, so good for you. The thing is, it's January 2nd. Yesterday was the national day of Mourning The Loss of Vacation, which means you told yourself the stores were closed. Plus, because of how busy you've been feeling anxious about your abandoned inbox, you haven't purchased an edible thing outside of champagne and chips since December 30th. So, here's what's for dinner tonight. It's easy, tasty, and will help you ramp up into healthy-ish eating, whatever that looks like for you. The stars here are harissa and za'atar—two middle eastern flavor bombs that turn a very humble can of chickpeas and bag of peas into something that makes you wish your spoon was actually a small, mouth-sized shovel. I add the arugula if I have it, since it adds a nice peppery taste to the dish. But more often than not, this dish makes an appearance because I just want to make something I don't have to think about, with what I already have in the pantry. Bonus brain power for sorting out whatever diet plan is on deck! Godspeed.

6 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces

1, 10 oz bag frozen peas

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 ¼ tsp sea salt, divided

2 Tbsp harissa paste

1 ½ tsp za’atar seasoning

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

4 c arugula, loosely packed

¼ c pine nuts, toasted

1 lemon, zested

5 oz dairy or non-dairy yogurt

1 garlic clove, minced or grated

Pepper, to taste

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Cook until bacon is golden brown and crispy to your liking—it will not cook any further. Once bacon is done, drain the grease, but leave bacon in pan. Return to the burner and increase heat to medium-high. Add the frozen peas and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan as they cook. Cook for 4-6 minutes, until soft and bright green. Add the chickpeas, harissa paste, za’atar, and ¾ tsp salt. Stir to combine, breaking up any chunks of harissa paste. Cook 3-5 minutes more, or until chickpeas are warmed through. Remove from heat, add fresh herbs, pine nuts, and the juice of ½ a lemon. 

In a separate bowl or jar, combine the zest of one lemon, yogurt, ½ tsp salt, garlic, and a few grinds of pepper. Add water if necessary to thin the mix—it should drizzle easily.

For each serving, plate a loose cup of arugula, top with ¼ of the chickpea mixture, and drizzle with yogurt sauce. Enjoy with some toasted pita bread.

Recipe Inspired by Bon Appetit