Harissa chickpeas with mushroom, spinach and Halloumi by Rosie Birkett

"This warming, cosy dish is the perfect thing for a romantic night in during lockdown because it’s luxurious enough to feel special, but uses a load of ingredients you’re likely to have in or be able to find in a local shop. With the deep spice from the harissa and crispy, creamy halloumi this dish is packed full of flavour, and just the thing for this chilly weather." Rosie Birkett, @rosiefoodie


  • 4 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 120g mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1 garlic clove, grated 
  • 1 block of halloumi, thickly sliced 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds 
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 red onion, diced 
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped 
  • 400g of tomato passata (or tinned tomatoes)  
  • 1.5 tbsps of rose harissa
  • 4 tbsps of water 
  • 40g cream, creme fraiche, cream cheese, coconut or full fat yoghurt - if you have none of these use butter! 
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • 80g spinach, kale or chard leaves 
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
  • A handful of coriander, to serve (optional)
  • Cooked black rice, to serve 

Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in your best non-stick pan (I recommend the Crane sauté pan) over a medium high heat and fry off the sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt for a few minutes, until they’ve caramelised and given up their moisture. Tip them into a bowl and stir in the grated garlic. Set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the halloumi for a couple of minutes on each side, until crusted and golden. Remove to a plate. 


Wipe out the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and add the remaining olive oil, bay leaf, coriander and cumin seeds, frying until they sizzle. Slide in the onion and celery and season again with salt and pepper, then fry for five or so minutes, until softened and aromatic. Pour in the tomatoes and water and stir, cooking down for another 5-6 minutes, then stir in the harissa and cream and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Blend the tomato mixture for a few minutes on high, until silky and creamy, then pour it back into your pan, set over a medium heat. Add in the chickpeas and spinach/greens and cook, stirring, until the leaves have wilted, then add in the mushrooms and stir to combine. Nestle in the halloumi and warm everything through over the heat, then divide between warm bowls, spooned over cooked black rice. Top with the coriander and a scattering of the toasted almonds.