Crispy harissa-laced chickpeas, sweet roasted red peppers, crunchy cucumber bites, juicy tomato nibbles, hearty farro, all the feta cheese, so many fresh herbs – a perfect combo all on its own if you ask me. BUT we’re taking it a step farther (of course we are) and adding the BEST swoonworthy tahini-yogurt sauce drizzle. This stuff – I could drink it.
I have drunk it.
(No one is surprised.)
Grain bowls are one of my favorite meals in life.
They’re secretly salads but with extra carbs. I mean….there is nothing not to love about that. You get all the feel-good qualities of a salad PLUS the chew and oomph of a hearty whole grain. I’m into it.
Farro is my go-to because it (a) cooks pretty quickly, (b) has a glorious texture, and (c) is super nutritious and loaded with protein, fiber, all the good things.
That being said, feel free to substitute as your situation requires!! For reference: brown rice and barley have a similar texture to farro, but they take about three times longer to cook whereas quinoa and millet take about the same amount of time to cook BUT they have a completely different texture. My advice? Go where your pantry takes you and it will all work out.
The inspiration for these bowls comes from tabbouleh, which is a bright, vibrant, universally-loved Middle Eastern/Mediterranean salad. Traditionally it’s made of mostly herbs (so much fresh parsley) and dotted with bites of tomato, cucumber, and bulgur (another quick-cooking whole grain you could use here!) with a simple lemon-olive oil dressing. It honestly tastes like sunshine and while I love it as a side, it needed a little bit of doctoring up to make it a full meal.
Enter roasted chickpeas, which are the BEST salad or grain bowl mix-in if you ask me. These are harissa-coated so that they are bursting with bold spicy flavor but still manage to be perfectly crispy. They’re roasted on a sheet pan along with some red pepper cubes, which add a bit of sweet sultriness to the party.
Get them cooking while you’re farro is bubbling away on the stovetop and you’ll be doing the best multi-tasking of your life.
FINALLY, the icing on the cake….errr, the sauce drizzle on the grain bowl – the TAHINI-YOGURT SAUCE.
Otherwise known as “the white sauce” if you’re a regular halal cart frequenter.
I almost didn’t put it on here because I thought the bowls would be fine with just a lemon vinaigrette, but that would have been a mistake. Thankfully, I found my way and it led me straight to this sauce.
Honestly, I put this stuff on everything and it is my favorite way to dress up a meal. You have a the nuttiness of the tahini, the tart tang of the Greek yogurt, and the bite of a little bit of grated garlic. Salt, pep, the usual.
It’s good. JUST DO IT.
- 2 (13.5 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp harissa
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup farro
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Persian cucumber
- 2 tomatoes
- ¼ cup dill, minced
- ¼ cup parsley, minced
- 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 450F.
- In a large bowl, toss the chickpeas with the red bell peppers, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and harissa. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the chickpeas are crispy, rotating the pan halfway through.
- Meanwhile, prepare the farro. In a medium pot, combine the farro and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Season the water with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the farro is tender. Drain well.
- In large serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Place the farro in the bowl on top of the dressing and allow to cool slightly.
- Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Scoop any seeds out and discard them. Dice the cucumbers and add them to the bowl with the farro. Do the same thing with the tomatoes.
- Add the fresh dill, parsley, feta, crispy chickpeas, and roasted peppers to the bowl with the farro and toss to combine. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
- Divide among serving bowls.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, tahini, water, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Drizzle over individual bowl just before serving.