Fried into balls of falafel, stewed into a chana masala or blended into ubiquitous hummus, the chickpea has long been a vegetarian staple. Hearty, protein-packed, and possessing that kind of meaty texture that animal product-free diets crave, it's the workhorse of the meatless kitchen. But it's just this kind of usability that casts the chickpea in a somewhat humdrum light.
To combat chickpea fatigue, Yotam Ottolenghi chef and author of Plenty created this reimagined take on a vegetarian classic, a humble preparation of sautéed chickpeas. His Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt incorporates flavors that are both expected—garlic and cilantro—and entirely new—caraway and mint.
This lively combination, along with a generous squeeze of lemon juice (don't be shy, the acidity really makes the dish) works to elevate the chickpeas into something unexpectedly delicious and satisfying. Each bite of chickpeas brings bursts of fresh herbs and pops of caraway. The finishing touch is a few spoonfuls of thick Greek yogurt enriched with olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. The yogurt works as both a condiment and a sauce, coating the chickpeas and accentuating their lemony character.
This recipe can be made with canned or dried chickpeas but if time allows, go with dry. They keep an almost meaty bite and have a much heartier texture than their sometimes mushy canned counterparts.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Plenty to give away this week.
- 3/4 pound (8 cups) Swiss chard
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 1/2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas (canned are fine too)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Separate the chard stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then drain everything. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze dry, then chop roughly.
Heat up the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chard and chickpeas and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Now add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool down a little. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, mix together the yogurt, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables on serving dishes and spoon the yogurt on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle over more olive oil.