Updated: Jun 22, 2019
This recipe is adapted from a dish I first had upon returning from a long hike with my boyfriend a couple summers ago. Weary and muddy, we returned to his house, where his mother served us a delightful chickpea dish with whole cumin, saucy chickpeas, and chard. We ate it with sourdough toast and a little bit of red wine vinegar, and both had seconds. This stew has quickly become one of my favorite comfort foods, and I make it almost weekly at school. Made with pantry staples, this dish really transcends the sum of its parts: a little spicy, salty, rich, and somehow creamy from the olive oil and chickpeas, this dish is made to be savored and shared with those you love. This recipe is easily doubled, and makes great leftovers (if you can resist eating it in one sitting!).
Serving suggestions: eat plain, with crusty bread, over pasta (I like rotini or orzo), rice, or even raw greens such as arugula
Makes 1 hearty serving plain or can serve accompanied by a grain of your choice
Naturally vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, nut-free
1-2 shallots, finely sliced
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
~1 tablespoon ground cumin (use more or less to taste)
Pinch dried red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (use more or less to taste)
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed*
1 bunch hearty greens, such as chard or kale, stems separated and sliced; leaves coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Paprika, (optional), to taste
Prepare the aromatics and greens: thinly slice the shallots, and roughly chop the garlic, and cut the stems of the greens into bite-size pieces (I like to include the stems for extra fiber and flavor, but discard if you would prefer). Roughly tear or chop the leaves.
In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, heat most of the olive oil on medium-low heat until it becomes fragrant and starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and shallots into the pot, and stir well.
When the shallots and garlic start to soften, add in the chili flakes and ground cumin, as well as a pinch of paprika if using (this will "bloom" the spices and bring out deeper flavors: you will immediately be able to smell fragrance coming from the pot).
Turn up the heat to medium/medium high and add the chopped stems to the pot, if using. Leave to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, to ensure the aromatics do not burn.
Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas, and add to the pot, along with a splash of water and a large pinch of salt. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, crush up the chickpeas into smaller pieces, adding more water when the stew becomes too dry.
Cook until the chickpeas are soft, saucy, and flavorful. Add handfuls of the greens to the pot, along with another splash of water if needed. Wilt until the leaves are bright green and decreased in volume.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve in a large bowl, and top with more olive oil, chili flakes, and paprika. A squeeze of lemon also goes a long way.
*A note on chickpeas: while I suggest canned chickpeas for this recipe, simply for ease, dried chickpeas can also be used. Soak overnight, cook in salted water until tender, and use as specified above.
Millie Hillman is a part of the class of 2021 at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. She is studying psychology, with minors in french and art. She is passionate about good old fashioned farm to table cooking, spicy food, and farmer's markets.