The glossy photo of a plate of herbed chickpeas topped with a crispy, golden-yolk fried egg in the January issue of Bon Appetit magazine caught my eye. My winter cooking always needs a jolt of inspiration, and the caption read that this preparation was “fast, easy and fresh.”
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a round, buff-colored legume slightly larger than the average pea. They have a firm texture, and a mild, nutlike flavor. Used extensively in the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean, chickpeas are available canned and dried. We Americans are probably most familiar with them in hummus, the garlic dip seasoned with lemon juice and sesame oil.
The chickpeas is one of the most nutritious members of the bean family, rich in protein, calcium, iron, and the B group of Vitamins. Although not cultivated here in Maine, they are widely grown in India, and canned chickpeas are an excellent pantry staple.
I was interested to learn that they are almost impossible to over cook, which is why this recipe really works.
A batch of herbed chickpeas yielded just a little over four cups, and we gobbled some up hot from the skillet. Crispy, salty, creamy, nice fresh herb flavor … a great snack. For a hearty breakfast, I served them over toast, with a splash of yogurt on top. For supper, I made a Mediterranean style pizza: marinara sauce topped with smoked turkey and herbed chickpeas, finished with mozzarella and feta cheeses.
With the exception of the fresh herbs, Herbed Chickpeas are economical health punch, less than twenty-five cents a serving. Purchasing fresh herbs in the winter is a luxury, potentially adding another twenty -five cents per serving, but still a tasty bargain. For we frugal Mainers who like to grow things, rosemary, parsley and thyme will overwinter in pots in the house. And I found sage and mint leaves still fresh under the snow to finish off the flavors of Herbed Chickpeas.
- 3 ½ cups cooked chickpeas 2 – 15 ouonce cans
- 4 cloves finely chopped garlic or more
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped cooked greens (spinach, kale, chard)
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, sage, and / or basil)*
- Rinse the chickpeas and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet; add the chopped garlic and chickpeas. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are crisped and some have split open. Stir in the chopped greens and cook until heated.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the chopped fresh herbs.