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Posts Tagged ‘chickpeas’

Green Herb Hummus made with Great Northern beans, fresh farmer's market basil and garlic, plus Celtic sea salt and olive oil.

Today’s recipe isn’t so much a recipe. It’s more of a template, that you can adjust and re-configure to your liking. Motivated by hunger but de-motivated by the heat to cook, I ended up making a really great hummus with what I had on hand, and figured I’d pass along my results to you. By the way, if hummus plus bread sounds too heavy, ditch the bread and dip raw veggie slices into this dip. That’s what I do and prefer.

If you’re bothered by the non-traditional ingredient list and the fact that I’m calling it hummus, feel free to rename it as a bean dip or whatever other moniker rocks your world.

Love this stuff! I like to dip raw sticks of summer squash, zucchini, carrots, and celery in it instead of the traditional pita bread dip.

Keep things flexible when making this. Since I didn’t have chickpeas handy (not to worry, I’m properly re-stocked now!), I used Great Northern beans, a white bean I happen to really like.  I was also fresh out of tahini, so I used olive oil as the fat instead. There was a small bunch of farmer’s market basil I needed to use, plus some fresh, pungent garlic picked up recently from that same market that had yet to be put to work. A couple of fat cloves of that garlic really took this dip up a level in my opinion, but if garlic isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out.

Green Herb Hummus

Ingredients:

1 14-16 ounce can of Great Northern beans (or chickpeas or cannellinis) Basically, choose the light-colored bean of your choice

2 fat cloves of garlic

1 small bunch of fresh basil (or other herb of choice such as cilantro, parsley, sage)

1 Tablespoon (or less) of olive oil

Salt of choice to taste (I used Celtic sea salt. Full of minerals and has a robust flavor)

Water (if needed)

Directions:

1. Drain and rinse beans.

2. Add all ingredients except for basil and water to a blender or food processor and mix, starting on a low setting, gradually increasing to a higher speed.

3. Once ingredients are fairly well-mixed, add in basil leaves and a tiny bit of water if needed to help facilitate the mixing process. Blend until smooth and creamy. Check  and adjust seasoning and serve (or store, airtight, in the fridge.)

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One pot lentil stew with chickpeas, spinach, carrots. My retreat Yogis loved it. It's easy to fix, and it tastes better after a day.

Today’s recipe is one of the very first I got good at cooking, back in my teendom days.  It’s simple, flavorful, and packed full of fiber, protein, iron, and B-vitamins, to name just a few. We’ve had some unseasonably cool days here recently, and settling down in the evening with a big bowl of this stew is oh-so-comforting.

My sister, Mona, left, and I head out for a day of sightseeing and Yoga, with lentil and chickpea stew waiting for us at home upon our return.

Good news: this dish tastes better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two. Love that! This stew was a big hit at the recent Yoga retreat I hosted, and I promised to post the recipe. I also promised my college student sis, Mona, that I’d post this so she can make it up ahead of time and have it on hand for her busy weeks of school and work. So here goes:

One Pot Lentil Stew and Chickpea Stew

Ingredients:

Olive oil

1 medium onion

2 large carrots

3-5 large garlic cloves

3 teaspoons each of cardamom and coriander

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 scant teaspoon cumin

1 scant teaspoon allspice

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

1 ½ cups lentils (brown or yellow preferred)

4-5 cups filtered water

1 28 ounce can of peeled, whole tomatoes

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

14-16 ounces cooked chickpeas (either canned or pre-cooked)

2 cups fresh spinach

Directions:

1.       Heat olive oil over a low flame in a large soup pot. As the oil heats, peel and chop the onions and carrots.

2.       Raise the heat of the pan to medium. Add the onions and carrots and stir well to begin cooking them. Cook for about five minutes, stirring often, until softened.

3.       Lower the flame to low. Add the garlic and spices and stir well. When the spices’ aroma begins to bloom (in about 30-60 seconds), remove the pan from heat immediately and turn off the heat. Cook for 30 seconds to one minute more.

4.       Add the lentils, canned tomatoes, cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and water to the pot. Break up the tomatoes and stir everything together really well.

5.       Return pot to burner, and bring to a boil. Once stew is boiling, drop the flame down to low and cook for 20-30 minutes more, or until both carrots and lentils are tender.

6.       Add the pre-cooked chickpeas. (If using canned, be sure to strain the liquid and rinse the chickpeas).

7.       To finish, turn off the flame and add the spinach. The residual heat will wilt the spinach, leaving it a bright green color without overcooking it.

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Shakshuka with eggplant. This is one variation, as there are many types of shakshuka.

Shakshuka is a dish popular in many different countries of the Middle East. Before anyone gets up in arms and says today’s recipe isn’t done “right,” 😉  please consider this: This is but one version of shakshuka.

Shakshuka is many different things to many different people. There are numerous versions, all too delicious and unique to have one “correct” version. Some use meat; some use eggs; still others are vegetarian. This is the type of food, by the way, that often tastes better the next day.

The shakshuka we’re exploring today is eggplant-based, earth-toned, and mild, but others are spicy and/or pepper based and reddish. There are other differences, which I personally think it’s great, because it means there are infinite ways to enjoy this dish. So if anyone wants to chime in in the comments section with their own take on shakshuka, feel free!

Chinese eggplants, they're called. I love their mild flavor and festive purple hue, but regular eggplants work just as well.Photo: http://www.Stock.Xchng.com

My sources tell me that shakshuka (pronounced shake-shoo-kuh) is a popular dish to use up vegetables and meats, which may explain why the dish is so flexible and has so many variations. Today’s version, while Syrian in origin, somewhat reminds me of Persian eggplant koresh (Koresh e Badenjan). However, that that stew has its own special flavor, which we’ll explore another time.

Speaking of Persian, the Persian girl in me loves shakshuka served over rice with dollop of yogurt on top, but for a more traditional presentation, you could ladle some of the stew on top of warm pita bread or serve the pita on the side. Do try to sprinkle some parsley or fresh cilantro on top for a color pop and flavor boost. Use more water to make the shakshuka more stew-like. For a dip, use less liquid.


Slow Cooker Shakshuka

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh cilantro (about 1 cup, rinsed. Leaving stems on is okay–they have good flavor)

1  medium onion, halved

4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt (can use more or less, according to your  to taste)

1 teaspoon black pepper (can use more or less, according to your taste)

4 Chinese eggplants, or one large eggplant (about 1 pound of eggplant total)

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup ketchup (better to get the kind without cornsyrup if possible)

1 Tablespoon paprika

3-4 cups filtered water

Optional: 1 14-16 ounce can of chickpeas, drained

Optional: Freshly chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

Directions:

1.  In a blender or food processor, blend the half of the onion plus the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper until this all forms a pesto-like paste. Add water as needed to keep things moving.

2. If removing peel from eggplant, remove. Then chop the eggplant into 1/2 inch disks or half moons, or chunks. Chop the remaining onion and add it, along with the tomato paste, ketchup, and paprika, to the slow cooker. Add water and stir everything thoroughly.

3. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 hours.

4. A few minutes before serving, add in the drained chickpeas and stir. Check seasoning and make any adjustments to the amount of salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh herbs (if using) and enjoy!

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Ahhhh winter. In New York City, it’s finally here. November 2009 was the 7th warmest NYC November on record, so the recent dip in temperatures feels even more dramatic, if entirely appropriate.

Soups are a favorite food of mine at any time of year, but in the winter, they taste extra cozy and inviting. Today’s Velvety Chickpea Soup is a winter favorite in my home.


Velvety Chickpea Soup made in a slow cooker. So simple!

I love chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans. They’re so versatile, filling, and high in fiber and protein.  They’re a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern food. Chickpeas are a staple in my kitchen. In fact, I made this soup from staples in my pantry. It’s simple, flavorful, and comforting. It’s one of those recipes that tastes even better after a day. The spices are key to its bold, warming flavor. Feel free to make a big ‘ol batch of it and enjoy it throughout the week.

Velvety Chickpea Slow Cooker  Soup

Serves 6-8

1 pound organic dry chickpeas

1 small onion

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

2 large garlic cloves

1 teaspoon of coconut oil or neutral cooking oil of your choice

Spice blend: Mix together 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, paprika, fenugreek, plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and  1 Tablespoon tumeric

1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, diced.  (An 8 ounce can of whole or diced tomatoes could work here as well)

1 large carrot

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 cups of fresh, washed spinach leaves

Optional: 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or flat-leaf parsley for garnish (or a mix of the two)

Directions:

1. Soak dry chickpeas overnight or do a quick soak. To quick soak, place chickpeas in a large pot. Pour in enough water to just barely immerse them. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn it off and remove the pot from the heat. Let soak for one hour. Soaking ensures the chickpeas will cook evenly.

2. Warm oil over medium heat. As oil warms, dice the onion and carrot. Cook onion in the oil for 3 minutes, turning often. Add in the garlic and ginger, and lower heat to low. Cook for another minute. Then add half of spice mixture, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently to ensure spices don’t burn. This process brings out the flavor of the spices. Remove from the heat.

3. Drain water from soaked chickpeas. Pour chickpeas into a slow cooker, and add cooked onion mixture. Add in the rest of the spices, the sundried tomatoes, and carrot pieces. Stir. Add enough water to just barely cover the chickpeas. Put in a bit of salt and pepper. You can add more later if needed. Cover with lid, and set slow cooker to desired time. (Slow cookers vary. I always set my slow cooker for at least 4 hours. Check your manual to see how long beans typically take to cook i n your cooker.)

4. Once the chickpeas are done (fork tender), you have a perfectly amazing meal or side dish without even taking this next step. But if you’re motivated and really want a velvety soup, try this: Remove 1 cup of the cooked chickpeas from the soup with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Next, blend remaining chickpeas in either a regular blender or by using an immersion blender. Add water as needed to get the desired consistency of the soup. Use less water for a thicker soup, more for a thinner soup. This is when the soup becomes velvety!

5. Place soup back in the crock, and add in baby spinach leaves and reserved chickpeas. Don’t worry about turning the crockpot back on to a cook setting–the heat will wilt the baby spinach leaves very quickly. The reserved chickpeas will provide a chunky treat against the velvety soup.

6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve or let cool and save for later.

Tips and Notes:

1. Make extra spice mixture and save for another use.

2. The sundried tomatoes are a nice touch, but fresh or canned tomatoes will do. The tomato flavor gives the soup a richness and depth.

3. A squeeze of lemon or lime on top of the soup before serving is a nice touch, as is a drizzle of olive oil.

4. If you don’t have ground cinnamon, you can put a cinnamon stick in the slow cooker. Just make sure to fish it out before serving.

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