I remember thinking many years ago that I’d never learn to enjoy chickpeas. Well, times have changed because now I just love them. They don’t have much taste on their own, but mix them with almost any mixture of other ingredients and they just seem to pop with flavour. The classic combination of chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach is usually seasoned with Indian influences like ginger, garam masala turmeric and cumin, but I decided to try a new twist. The traditional Greek elements of oregano, mint, lemon and feta turned out to be the perfect thing to make chickpeas sing. This hearty stew takes just minutes to prepare and will warm you even on the dampest and coldest of days.
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh tomatoes (or equivalent in canned)
- 1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt and pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) chopped fresh mint
- 2 cups (500 mL) packed baby spinach leaves
- 1 – 2 tablespoons (15 – 30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons (30 – 45 mL) crumbled feta (omit for vegans)
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes more.
- Add tomatoes, chickpeas, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and water. Stir to combine then cover pot and let cook 10 minutes.
- Add mint, spinach and lemon and stir to combine. Cover pot and cook 2 – 3 minutes, stirring once, just until spinach has wilted.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with crumbled feta. Serve hot, with crusty bread.
Makes 2 generous servings.