Chickpeas, fresh spinach and sun-dried tomatoes are slowly simmered with garlic, ginger, lemon and coconut milk. The result is one highly-flavorful and satisfying dish. This was one of the most downloaded recipes from Rouxbe. When you taste it you’ll know why. It’s been a favorite of mine since the first time I made it!
There is something soothing about a one-pot meal, like a thick filling soup. Chickpeas are my favorite “go-to” bean. I prefer them over beans with thick skins like white beans or red beans. Perhaps it’s the creaminess or my love affair with hummus or the movie Make Hummus Not War that got me hooked! I was a late bloomer to the world of beans and my sous chef has been my inspiration for eating more of them – living in North Carolina for a good portion of his life, he ate his share of beans and loves every kind. While studying The Starch Solution I learned that beans are super high in nutrients. Drs. McDougall and Fuhrman both agree that 1 cup of beans (164g) is ideal for our daily diets. One cup of beans has approximately 269 calories. Chickpeas have zero cholesterol (remember cholesterol is only found in animal products like cows, pigs, chickens, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, etc). Chickpeas have almost 80mg of calcium and 477mg of potassium. Compare that to a lean cut of cow like beef tenderloin and you have over 600 calories, almost 18g of fat, 142g of cholesterol, very little calcium and no potassium. You won’t likely stay full with the beef but you will be much more satiated eating the chickpeas. To be satiated means a feeling of fullness after eating food. You will feel fuller for much longer.
The recipe you have to cook (!) makes enough for 4 people. Serve it with basmati or brown rice and you have a great bowl of goodness! In the photo I’ve served with pappadums, hot lime pickle and a delicious wholegrain mix called sechskorn mischung (spelt, rye, oat, barley, millet, buckwheat available at bio shops in Berlin). The wholegrain mix was prepared in a similar style to Indian coconut rice.
First, prepare your mise en place. Mise en place means to prepare your ingredients, essentially organising them before beginning to cook your dish.
Coconut Braised Chickpeas with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 whole lemon
½ cup/45g sun-dried* tomatoes, cut into strips (it’s easy with a pair of scissors)
2 cups/400g cooked chickpeas
good pinch of chili flakes (or to taste)
½ lb (225g) fresh spinach or swiss chard
1 – 14 oz/500ml can coconut milk
1 tsp ground ginger
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro (to garnish)
To prepare your mise en place, first dice the onion and mince the garlic and ginger. Next, zest the lemon. Juice the lemon and reserve for later.
Measure out the sun-dried tomatoes. *Note: If using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, make sure to drain them first.
Lastly, drain (if using canned) and measure out the chickpeas. Rinse. Gather the chili flakes.
To cook the dish, heat a deep sauté pan over medium heat and then add some water or broth, followed by the onions and a good pinch of salt. Water sauté the onions for about 10 minutes or until soft (in this case, a bit of color is fine). Once soft, add the garlic and ginger and let cook for another minute or so. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and chili flakes. Let cook for another minute or so.
Next, add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the tomato mixture. At this point, turn up the heat slightly and sort of fry the chickpeas a bit. Keep an eye on them though so they don’t scorch. You just want them to have a little color. This should only take a few minutes.
Once the chickpeas are heated through, turn the heat down slightly and start to add the spinach, a handful at a time.
*Note: If using baby spinach you can add it as is. If you are using regular spinach, you will need to chop or tear it up a bit. Once the first bunch of spinach has started to wilt, add in the next handful. Continue until all of the spinach has been added.
To finish the dish, add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir to combine and then add the ground ginger and a bit of the reserved lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon juice, water or salt and/or pepper as needed.
Once everything has heated through, serve immediately. The spinach will start to lose its color and it won’t look as nice. Serve it with brown rice or any grain of your choice. Garnish each plate with a healthy serving of fresh cilantro and enjoy!
You can add additional spices to this dish. For instance, if you are in the mood for curry flavors, try adding 1 to 2 teaspoons garam masala, saaru, or curry mix. When adding spices, add them after the ginger and garlic. For added texture, you could also add ingredients such as water chestnuts or nuts at the end. Feel free to experiment to see what delicious combinations you come up with.
Thanx for another great recipe Rouxbe! Rouxbe not only provides certification for plant-based cooks but is also developing a program called Culinary RX. It’s a movement to redefine health care with a “food first” approach to medicine. Eating healthy is the best medicine for our bodies. Take a look at their kickstarter program and their mission behind this healthy campaign.
Eat the path of least resistance and join the thousands who have taken the challenge at Veganuary !