Spiced Chickpeas

On pretty much a weekly basis for the past five years, when John and I ask each other what we should have for dinner, “spiced chickpeas with ginger” comes up. It’s also not unusual when Stephanie and Jack and I are planning on dinner together for this recipe to be tossed out as an idea. While it may have been an exotic way for us to fuel our spice purchasing addiction at one point, now it just feels like a homey family recipe.

Penzey's Order

One of the reasons this recipe has elevated itself to staple status is that it can be made from basic ingredients I tend to have on hand anyway: cans of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, garlic, onion, spices, ginger (ginger can keep for quite awhile if you stash it in a cupboard rather than the fridge), rice, lemons, and cilantro. Oh, and a touch of mayo — it sounds crazy, but it really elevates this to a wonderful level of deliciousness. You can call it aioli in good conscience if it makes you feel better.

This meal also makes wonderful leftovers the next day in your lunch. That is, you should have plenty of leftovers if you don’t always end up eating more of it than you intend to…luckily I stopped myself in time last night!

spiced chickpeas

Spiced Chickpeas with Garlic Mayonnaise and Brown Rice

adapted from Deborah Madison’s recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 15-oz can of whole tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For the garnishes:

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro

Directions:

Start the rice. Use this method: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Rinse the rice and add it to the pot to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain. Add it back to the pot and cover it to steam for another 10 minutes. Voila. The easiest brown rice ever.

For the chickpeas: Gather all the unprepped ingredients on the counter. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, 10-12 minutes. You can prep, measure, and chop the rest while the onion cooks if you have everything at hand and work quickly. To a medium bowl, add the ginger (try peeling it with the edge of metal spoon — it works great), the minced garlic (setting aside half for the garlic mayo), the chopped tomatoes (drain the liquid into a measuring cup), the bay leaf, spices, and salt. Once the onions are browned, add the tomato and spice mixture, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add enough water to the tomato liquid to equal 1 1/2 cups. Add this, along with the drained chickpeas to the pan, and simmer until thickened to a sauce-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Taste for salt. Don’t burn your tongue.

Meanwhile, zest and juice the lemon, adding it to the mayo along with the reserved garlic. Set aside.

Chop cilantro.

How is your rice doing? It is probably done at this point. Dish up. Add a spoonful of the mayo…I mean, aioli, and sprinkle on that cilantro. Enjoy!

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Green is delicious: Pozole with Pepita-Tomatillo Mole

These past two months have gone by without posting, but not without cooking. Luckily for me though, a lot of it has been done by John! Since he finished the semester back in the middle of May, he has been making a number of tasty creations, including these chickpea sandwiches, green smoothies with almond milk, and a number of pizzas.

There has also been a number of new favorites from some of my favorite cookbooks, including David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook. I highly recommend all of them! I’ve had a lot of fun exploring recipes from these books.

Ingredients for the Mole

My favorite recent meal was the Pozole with Green Mole from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (the cooking bible from Deborah Madison). Actually, this is one of my favorite dishes of all time. This is not the first time I’ve made or consumed this dish (Stephanie was the first to make this one), but this time around, I was struck by how quick and easy it actually is, especially when using canned hominy. Is making pozole from scratch, versus using canned hominy, worth it? Yes. But you shouldn’t not make this because you don’t feel like making the dried stuff from scratch. Just use the canned stuff. It is still incredible. When you’re feeling extra ambitious, go ahead and make the pozole from scratch.

And even though there are a number of dirty dishes, this recipe is so fun to make. The green on green on green ingredients are so pretty, the tomatillos are wicked cute, and you’ll feel like you’re making a magic potion when you add romaine leaves to the sauce and then fry it. But it will seem the most magical when you finally taste the finished product.

Pozole with Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Mole and Garnishes

Pozole with Tomatillo-Pumpkin Seed Mole
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison

Ingredients:

  • 2 29-oz cans of hominy
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¾ cup of roasted pepitas/hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
  • 10 romaine leaves, cut into strips
  • 2 jalapeños, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • garnishes: lime wedges, diced avocado, Mexican oregano, Cholula, corn tortillas (homemade are really good here), quesadilla wedges, a bottle of beer…

Preparation:

Prepare the hominy:

Drain the hominy. Add it to a pot with 5 cups of water, along with the minced onion and garlic, and salt to taste (I’d start with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt). Simmer for approximately 20 minutes (while you are preparing the mole). Add water in ½ cup increments if the pot gets a little dry.

Prepare the mole:

If you are using pepitas/pumpkin seeds that are already roasted, you can go right to pulverizing them in the food processor. If they aren’t toasted yet, toast them in a skillet on the stove top first before grinding. Set aside.

Cook the tomatillos in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, until they are dull colored and soft. Drain. When cooled slightly, add to the blender along with the romaine leaves, jalapeños, cilantro, and a cup of water. Press your favorite blender settings to juice it up. You now how a blender full of delicious green.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Add the mole, and stir frequently. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the ground pepitas, and fry for about 12 minutes, until thickened. Then, strain it through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the solids. Taste for salt (the mole might taste quite bitter and spicy at this point – don’t worry. It will be magical when paired with the slightly sweet hominy).

Put it all together:

Taste the simmering hominy for salt. Depending on if you used salted pepitas earlier, your mole may have some salt in it, but probably not enough if the hominy tastes flat. Add the mole to the hominy and stir it all up.

Serve with your favorite garnishes. I like Mexican oregano, avocado, lime, and cilantro — it carries the green theme through, and they just taste right. Some people add sour cream, but I think that actually muddies up the flavor, so I don’t add that anymore. Homemade corn tortillas or corn quesadillas on the side are marvelous. Beer is a great beverage to consume here.