I’ve called these ‘Mediterranean chickpeas’, but really I have no idea what they are. They’re sort of Moroccan, sort of Greek, sort of Italian… so I thought I’d just stick with Mediterranean. I bet someone who lives near the Mediterranean Sea would eat something like this… I just can’t tell you which side of the sea they live.
Anyway, whatever they’re called, these whatsit chickpeas are rich and tomatoey, with olives, kale, garlic, spices, and all sorts of other yummy bits. It’s basically a stew, but I didn’t feel like calling it a stew, because that seems too wintery to me, whereas these chickpeas are a perfect summer meal (though they’d work in the winter too, I’m sure). The key to getting the sauce to be super flavourful is the paste I made with olives and sun-dried tomatoes, which I stirred into the sauce. Flavour ahoy!
The great thing about a dish like this is that it’s ready whenever you are. If you only have time to simmer it for a few minutes before digging in (or you just can’t resist the smell), that’s fine! If you need to leave it on a low heat for an hour while you hang up the laundry, mop up a spill and clear the kitchen table, that’s okay too! It’ll be there whenever you need it (just like a good friend… am I overly attached to food?). If you do need to leave it to simmer, just turn the heat down low and pop a lid on it so it doesn’t boil away into oblivion.
I served my Mediterranean chickpeas with sweet potato mash, but of course you don’t have to. This isn’t a dictatorship. Feel free to go for couscous, pasta, bulgur wheat, or even just a bit of pitta bread for dipping. Top your chickpeas with some extra olives and a squeeze of lemon for an extra special treat.
Mediterranean chickpeas with sweet potato mash
- ~ 15 pitted olives (I used kalamata)
- 4 pieces sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Large handful kale
- 400 g tin chickpeas, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes (~ 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- Black pepper
- To serve: sweet potato mash (optional)
- Add the pitted olives and sun-dried tomatoes to a mini food processor, and blitz until a coarse paste is formed.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the kale, chickpeas and spices, and cook for a few more minutes, until the kale has wilted.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomato paste, lemon zest, and plenty of salt and pepper, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the sauce is rich and thick (at least 5 minutes), and serve with sweet potato mash if desired, topped with extra olives and a squeeze of lemon.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.