Food & Drink » $20 Dinners

$20 Dinner with David Sweeney

The Dynamic Dish founder talks clean and healthy food with the 'true urbanite' in mind



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Moroccan-style vegetable tagine with couscous and braised mustard greens

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 average-sized onion, diced
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight
• 1 average-sized sweet potato, boiled until tender, peeled, sliced
• 2 small red jalapeño chiles, seeds removed
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (save peel for couscous broth)
• 2 mild banana peppers, seeds removed
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
• 1 teaspoon mace leaves
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
• 2 lemons (save peel of one for couscous broth)
• 1 can crushed tomatoes or 1 3/4 cup peeled and diced tomatoes, with their juice
• 1 1/2 cups leftover chickpea broth
• Fresh cilantro• Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring 4 cups of salted water to boil for at least four minutes, then add sea salt and chickpeas. Simmer the chickpeas for at least 45 minutes, occasionally skimming off the foam. Drain, saving stock and set aside.

Toss sliced sweet potato with one tablespoon olive oil and salt and roast for about 20 minutes until they become somewhat firm again and dry on the outside (having absorbed the olive oil). Set aside.

Warm remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and two teaspoons sea salt. Turn the vegetables over with a wooden spoon for about five minutes, then add the jalapeño chiles, banana peppers and ginger. Reduce heat to low or simmer, cover and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Toast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mace, paprika, fennel seeds, and peppercorns in a skillet or saucepan on low to medium heat for a few minutes. You want the seeds to pop and toast just a little but be very careful not to burn them. Toasting will set free the oils and flavor. Grind in mortar or coffee mill. Add them to the garlic and onion mixture and stir until they get sticky, about one minute, then add tomatoes and sweet potatoes, chickpeas and 1 1/2 cups of reserved chickpea water. Reduce the heat to low, simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes until thickened somewhat but not too thick. Ideally you want the tomato sauce to be somewhat loose with broth so it will soak into the couscous.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve with cilantro garnish.

Braised mustard greens with toasted black mustard seeds and garlic

• 1 large bunch mustard greens (stems removed and saved for couscous broth)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
• Salt

DIRECTIONS: Bring 5 cups of salted water to boil. Add greens for not even a minute, quickly drain, and squeeze out remaining water.

In a skillet on medium heat, toast mustard seeds for about three minutes until they pop a little. Set aside. In the same skillet add olive oil and garlic and sauté for about three to four minutes on medium heat. Add mustard greens, seeds and salt and sauté lightly for about three minutes, making sure they don't overcook. Serve immediately.


• 14 ounces organic couscous
• 14 ounces water (or vegetable stock, if available)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS: Boil water and add the leftover ginger peel, mustard green stems and peel of one lemon. Simmer for two minutes (like making tea).

Place couscous into a large bowl and add the hot broth while filtering the stems and peels out through a mesh strainer.

Seal bowl immediately with a secure lid or plastic wrap. Set aside for four to five minutes until broth has absorbed and then gently loosen the grains with your hands. Couscous needs to be light and fluffy, not wet and sticky.

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