Harissa chickpeas and freekeh bowl

RECIPE: Harissa chickpeas & freekeh bowl

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Nourish a positive mood-food connection with this tasty chickpea and freekeh bowl. Packed with nothing but nutritious whole food ingredients it’s the perfect meal to feed your body, mind and soul.

Eating whole grains and legumes is important not only for our physical health but for our mental wellbeing as well. 

Research is emerging that a diet rich in whole grains and legumes is linked to improved mental wellbeing - highlighting the ‘mood and food’ connection. 

This bowl celebrates these mood-boosting foods with its superstar ingredients being freekeh, an ancient wheat grain, and chickpeas, an age old favourite legume

Freekeh and chickpeas are both rich in fibre as well protein, zinc and iron making them not only mood-boosting but a wonderful source of nutrients for your body, including your immune system. 

You can usually find traditional harissa in the international section at the supermarket however, you might need to head to your local grocer if you are having trouble finding it. 
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Vegetarian, vegan option

Makes 2 bowls


  • ½ cup whole grain freekeh
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon, juiced and divided
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh mint, finely chopped, reserving some for garnish
  • 1 tsp baby capers, crushed
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, crushed and divided
  • 1 tbsp currants
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp red harissa paste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cups fresh rocket leaves, roughly torn
  • 50g Greek or vegan feta

How to make

  • In a medium lidded saucepan on the stove, add the freekeh and vegetable stock and bring the stock to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, place on the lid and leave the freekeh to cook for 25 mins or until cooked and tender.
  • While the freekeh is cooking, prepare the dressing in a small bowl by adding half the lemon juice as well as the parsley, coriander, mint, baby capers, half the crushed garlic clove, currants, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and combine well. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the harissa paste, the remaining lemon juice, maple syrup or honey, the remaining garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside
  • In a fry pan over a medium heat, add the pumpkin seeds and toast them until golden and popping. Set the pumpkin seeds aside and in the same pan over a medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil as well as the drained chickpeas. Cook the chickpeas in the oil for 2 minutes, tossing them every now and again before adding the prepared harissa paste to the pan. Turn the pan down to low and toss the chickpeas in the harissa for another 2 minutes until they are really well coated and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and then leave the chickpeas in the saucepan on a very low heat to keep them warm
  • Now your freekeh is ready, drain any excess liquid away form the pot and then transfer the freekeh to a large mixing bowl. Add the prepared dressing as well as the toasted pumpkin seeds and rocket leaves and toss everything together really well. If you need to adjust seasoning with lemon, salt or pepper, you can do it now
  • Divide the dressed freekeh between two bowls then top with the warm harissa chickpeas, crumble over the feta and garnish with fresh mint before enjoying

Roberta's tips

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days
  • For meal prep, store the prepared grains, chickpeas and dressing separately and combine when you’re ready to eat