Chickpea pasta with spinach

This is a riff off a NYT recipe and is a true no-recipe recipe. It’s creamy, nutritious and delicious. The pasta water, the chickpea water and actual cream all make this a very luxurious dish.

Soak one cup of chickpeas for 8-12 hours and pressure cook for 15 minutes. Strain the chickpeas but keep the water.

In 2 tbsp of butter, add 1 tsp of cumin seeds and 1 tsp of fennel seeds. After they sputter, add the chickpeas and toast on mod-high heat till browned in part.

Add 3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic and 5-6 oz of spinach. Add salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Thin out using some of the chickpea water.

Add cooked pasta of choice, add Parmesan cheese. Thin with pasta water if needed. Add red pepper flakes if you wish

Chickpea pasta with tomatoes cinnamon and fennel

Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fennel seeds, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 dried red chillies

Add 1/2 an onion, sauté till softened, add 2-3 minced garlic cloves, add a large can of tomatoes puréed

Cook for 20 min, add 1 cup of cooked chickpeas

Toss with pasta, red pepper flakes and feta crumbles

Tunisian Chickpea Stew

This is my version of Tunisian chickpea stew but what do I know- I’ve never been to Tunisia nor do I have any Tunisian friends. But the flavors are from the region and it’s quick and delicious.

1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight and pressure cooked for 15 minutes)

1 14 oz can tomatoes (whole tomatoes puréed)

Aromatics- half an onion and half a red pepper chopped into inch cubes, 1/2 preserved lemon, 8 or so olives, parsley, 2 garlic cloves

Spices: 1 tbsp Harissa paste (I have the Trader Joe’s version) , 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp cumin powder

Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, add 1 tsp of cumin seeds, let them sputter, add onions and peppers. Cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes till they brown slightly. Add 1 tbsp of harissa paste and the cumin powder, cook for a minute. Add chickpeas and salt.

While the onions are cooking, blitz the tomatoes, olives, preserved lemons and garlic in a blender. Add to chickpeas in pan.

Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add parsley- serve with any grain or couscous or pasta.

Artichoke and Chickpea Tagine

This is a recipe modified from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. All vegetarians should have a copy of this book- it is foolproof!!.

I love artichokes but I hate fiddling with the spiky fibrous vegetable to get at the delicious heart in the center. I find these fresh artichoke hearts (Montrerey farms) at Whole Foods occasionally and when I do- I always buy 5-6 packets and freeze the rest. The flavor is exactly the same as a freshly steamed and cleaned artichoke- never watery, always delicious. I used green olives rather than the oil cured black olives Deborah Madison recommends- I’d suggest using the black olives if you have them, they add so much more flavor in these stewed dishes.

Tagine is a Moroccon dish of slowly stewed covered meat- this vegetarian version cooks much quicker and the artichokes absorb all the flavors beautifully

Ingredients:

1 packet  herbal artichoke hearts (6oz)

1 large onion- and 2 large bell peppers- 1/2 inch diced

15 oz of chickpeas (either canned or pressure cooked for 15 minutes after an overnight soak)

3 tbsp olive oil

Flavorings: 12 olives finely chopped, 1 preserved lemon finely chopped, 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tbsp cilantro

Spices: 1 tbsp Harissa paste  (1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp caraway seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 11/2 tsp ground red chilli powder, 1 tbsp tomato paste) and 1 pinch saffron threads (ground into a powder).

Heat oil- add onion and peppers and cook till translucent and slightly browned. Add spices or harissa. Add artichokes and saffron and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chickpeas, olives, lemon, cilantro, parsley and 2 cups of water. Simmer for 15-25 minutes till all veggies are completely tender.

Serve over couscous with chermoula sauce (4 coarsely chopped garlic cloves. 2/3 c cilantro finely chopped, 1/3 cup parsley finely chopped, zest of 1 lemon and juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 tsp cumin, pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/3 cup olive oil). The chermoula keeps well in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Chole

Chole is a spiced chickpea dish that is ubiquitous in India. They say there are as many chole recipes as there are North-Indian families. I’m not North Indian and I’ve been searching for a good chole recipe for a long time.

This variation of a recipe by “your food lab”- the Tasty videos of India (link below) comes very close to what I think are perfect chole. A trip to the Indian store for the spices is essential. I had to buy the Chana masala (I got the MDH brand).

Pressure cook- on high for 30 min

1 cup chickpeas soaked for 24 hours- drained

In a tea ball or cheesecloth – 1 tsp peppercorns, 3-4 cloves, 1-2 Black cardamon pods, 2 bay leaves, 1 inch cinnamon

2 tea bags

4 cloves garlic – crushed

½ cup onions- sliced

1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)

1 tsp baking soda

Add 2 quarts of water

In a pan:

Melt 2-3 tbsp butter

Add 3 tbsp of Chana masala and 2 tbsp of cumin-coriander powder

Cook for 3 min or so

Add 1 can of tomatoes – puréed

1tbsp of ginger

Cook for 10 min or so

Add pressure cooked chickpeas with their water (removing the tea bags and the spice bouquet)

Cook for 20 minutes

Stir in 1 tsp of amchur powder (dried mango powder) and 1 tsp of garam masala and 1 tbsp of kasuri methi (crushed fenugreek)

Salt to taste – this recipe needs a lot of salt

Garnish: raw onions, chopped preserved lemon, slivers of garlic

Serve with roti or naan or rice or griddled multigrain pizza dough (store bought) which tastes a lot like naan except its whole grain.

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