Hlalem (Tunisian Pasta and Beans)

Pasta is probably my all time favourite food, I just adore it! Lately, though, I've been trying to eat a little less of it because I'm not quite as young as I used to be and I don't burn it off as easily, so now pasta is a real treat. I'm always a bit excited when a pasta dish comes up as part of my research for a country, because then I have an excuse to make pasta :)

This Tunisian dish of pasta and beans is wonderful - hearty, nourishing and beautifully flavoured. Traditionally it is sometimes made with the addition of Mergues sausages, so if you like, you can throw in some chopped vegetarian sausages when you add the pasta. I've used frozen broad beans, but you can also use dried - just soak them with the chickpeas and add them at the same time.

Hlalem (Tunisian Pasta & Beans)

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours and then drained and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp harissa paste or harissa spice mix
3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 x 400g diced or crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
200g pasta (any large shape such as large spirals or shells)
1 cup frozen or fresh broad beans

To Make
1. Soak the chickpeas for 24 hours and then drain and rinse.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until soft. Add the harissa paste or spice mix and fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
3. Add the chickpeas and lentils and enough water to cover them. Then add the tomato paste and tin of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Keep an eye on the water level and add more water as needed during the cooking.
4. Once the beans are cooked, add the pasta and the broad beans. Simmer, uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente. You may need to add more water as it's cooking in order to properly cook the pasta.


Serves 4-6

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Tunisia!
Check out my other Tunisian recipe posts:

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