Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spicy Spanish Chickpeas

Chickpeas simmered in a rich and tangy tomato sauce, spiked with chili, paprika and a splash of sherry is what's for lunch today. The sherry really takes this humble bean dish to new levels. A squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil are the perfect finishes. These beans are delicious with a dollop of sour cream and some toasted slivered almonds sprinkled on top. They're also really good, served over rice, with my cooling cucumber tzatziki sauce (recipe below). Stuff them into warm pita, a baked potato or eat with crusty bread. This meal is high in vegetarian protein, especially when served with rice. It's healthy and filling too. It reheats well for workweek meals. Get your Spanish tapas fix in about 30 minutes.


Spicy Spanish Chickpeas Recipe

Makes About 4 Cups

Some Notes:

Dry or extra dry sherry is delicious in this recipe. I you don't have it at your disposal, red or white wine will work too.  

Smoked paprika lends cozy notes to this dish, but regular is fine too.

A squeeze of meyer lemon juice compliments the sherry with its tangerine-like taste, but regular lemon is fine too.

I use a microplane zester to mince the garlic directly into the pan.

I use Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce for its superior, fresh taste.
The honey or sugar balances the acid in the tomatoes.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • All or part of one chili pepper, diced. I use a red fresno pepper.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 meyer lemon, regular lemon or orange   
  • 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked or regular paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of honey or sugar (or to your taste)
  • A splash (about a tablespoon) of dry sherry, white or red wine 
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt to taste
  • To Serve: toasted almonds, fresh parsley, sour cream, creme fraiche, warm pita, rice, crusty bread, tzatziki sauce (recipe below)    


Put some olive oil in a large skillet or fry pan. Saute the onion and chili pepper with a pinch of salt until soft. Add the garlic, chickpeas, tomato sauce, oregano, paprika, honey, sherry and water. Salt to taste. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes, until the flavors soften and combine. Stir once or twice during the simmering. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice or any of the above suggestions.

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

  • 2 8-ounce containers of full fat labneh (Lebanese strained yogurt) or Greek yogurt. You can also use 2 percent Greek yogurt, but don't use nonfat. 
  • 2 small cucumbers, grated. I use Persian cucumbers.
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced  
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste 


If your cucumbers have big seeds and tough skins, remove them. On the large holes of a box grater, grate the cucumbers directly into a medium bowl. Grate the garlic on the smallest holes. Add the yogurt and a couple of good squeezes of lemon juice. Salt to taste. Serve immediately with the chickpeas.  

Bon Appetit!

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