It’s already December, can you believe it? It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner! And where have I been?! I’ve been seeing my family that I have not seen in a long time and I’ve been busy with product reviews, recipes, packing, and design projects. Also we leave for Paris in a few days. We will be staying in Paris for a month including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so expect loads of photos on my Instagram here. It is my second time to visit Paris, but my partner Doni has been there multiple times before we’ve met. In the buildup to our trip, I wanted to make a hearty and wintery stew with a bit of spice. Doni suggested a harissa-based stew, an ingredient that fondly reminds him of his time in the South of France.
Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce made of fiery chili peppers, spices, garlic, herbs and oil and used in North African and Moroccan cooking. It can be used in couscous, vegetables, meat alternative, sandwiches, pizza, tofu, or even as spread or dip. Use it on anything! We used the “DEA” brand Harissa paste in a tube (made in France) for the base of the stew. There are other harissa products we liked, too such as the Mustapha’s Fine Foods of Morocco Harissa.
Vegan Mediterranean Harissa Stew with Purple Sweet Potato, served with crispy vegan lavash strips (lightly salted and lemon zest) from a family-owned artisan flatbread baking bakery, California Lavash.
The incredibly kind folks over at Frieda’s Inc sent us a sample of their non-GMO Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes. These mildly sweet potatoes provided a brilliant balance to my spicy stew as well an injection of bold color. Grown in California and in season, through the winter (November & December), the Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes have a low glycemic index (GI) and are high in antioxidants. Click here to learn more about Frieda’s Inc Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes.
where to purchase Frieda’s Inc Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes
Frieda’s Inc. Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes are available in some U.S. supermarkets. Click here to view the list of those stores or the following page here. If you don’t see a retailer in your area please send them a note at mail (at) friedas.com. Hey readers, here is a $1 off coupon to help with the holiday spending.
They are also available on Amazon.com.
To store Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato: keep them in a cool dry place (i.e., pantry) and use within 2 weeks.
Frieda’s Inc. Tip Usage: Scrub external skin and wrap potatoes in aluminum foil. (Rub with olive oil prior to wrapping for extra moist results.) Place wrapped potatoes on a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours. The dense flesh of this potato takes a bit longer to cook than most other sweet potatoes, but it’s worth the wait!
From left to right: Chopped onions, Meyer’s lemons and chopped non-GMO Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes
From left to right: vegan chick’n broth (Edward & Sons), chopped red & yellow bell peppers, chopped carrots, bay leaves (Simply Organic), saffron (The Spice Hunter, Spanish Mancha), tomato paste, ground cumin (Simply Organic) and cinnamon stick (Red Ape Cinnamon’s Premium Ground Cinnamon)
Clockwise from top left: Curry powder (Morton & Basset), ground cumin (Simply Organic), organic garbanzo beans with sea salt (Trader Joe’s), organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen), minced garlic, harissa (DEA) and tomato paste. You can use fresh and/or regular crushed tomatoes, but the flavor is wonderful with the fire-roasted ones.
Vegan, GMO-free and organic cinnamon stick from Red Ape Cinnamon, learn more about Red Ape Cinnamon by reading our review here. Do you know that Red Ape Cinnamon donates 5% of all profits from sales to organizations that protect the critically endangered orangutans and their habitat? What a beautiful cause!
Heat a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven (5½ quart) over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil in the pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, cinnamon stick, harissa and tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Add the carrots, purple sweet potatoes, salt, black pepper, crushed tomatoes. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, until fragrant, and add the broth and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the sweet potatoes and carrots have cooked down slightly, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, simmer uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the Israeli cous cous or grains, grate lemon rind; chop parsley.
Add the saffron threads and chickpeas to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer 10 minutes. Add the yellow bell pepper and cook another 2 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick before serving and add cous cous or your favorite grain. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley (if desired), grated lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.
The stew is moderately spicy. For very spicy, use 2 to 2½ tablespoons harissa. For mildly spicy, use 1 tablespoon harissa.
Purple Sweet Potato substitutions: Any potatoes, squash, pumpkin, turnips, or cauliflower. If you are using winter squashes or butternut, I recommend steaming them and adding them in the end.
Chickpea subsitutions: Use canned Cannellini, Great Northern and Navy beans if you like, but add them at the same time as the sweet potatoes & carrots and the beans will absorb the flavors of spices while cooking.
What are your favorite recipes using sweet potatoes or harissa? Have you tried purple sweet potatoes before?
Disclosure: Purple sweet potatoes were kindly provided to me for review. All reviews are my own personal opinions, I have not been compensated to provide any feedback positive or otherwise.