Wondering what to make for dinner? This delicious Moroccan chickpea stew is an easy and healthy meal rich in protein and fiber.
This Moroccan chickpea stew is an easy and healthy dinner, rich in plant-based protein and fiber. Using dried chickpeas makes this recipe cheaper, plus you know exactly what you’re eating and you don’t have to worry about preservatives and other additives. Having said that, if you’re in a hurry, using good quality canned chickpeas will make your life easier and you’ll be able to bring food to the table in less than 30 minutes. 🙂
My all-time favorite chickpea recipe is this baked chickpeas (Revithada), a classic Greek dish which requires a 4-hour baking for the chickpeas to develop an unbelievable rich taste and become soft and tender without losing their shape.
So, at first I thought of baking these Moroccan chickpeas instead of making them a stew, but I was afraid that the acidity of the tomatoes would prevent them from becoming soft and dreamy. That’s why I decided to use boiled chickpeas and bathe them in a rich tomato sauce scented with classic Moroccan spices. If you want to go to the extra “trouble” you can combine the boiled chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients in a dutch oven and bake them for a little more than an hour at 390°F (200°C).
How to boil chickpeas (and other legumes)
Except for lentils which boil very easily, dried beans and chickpeas can be difficult to cook sometimes, because they require a lot of time to get soft and tender. Aside from using good quality and not too old legumes, it’s always a good practice to soak them overnight in a bowl filled with water. Beans will soften even more if you soak them in salted water and chickpeas in water with a tablespoon of baking soda added in it. Just make sure to rinse them very well before cooking and cook them in a pot filled with soft water.
I remember that my grandma and other women in my villlage used to collect rainwater every time it rained, just for this purpose, since the water in our village was high in calcium and magnesium. For the same reason you should never salt your legumes from the start, but wait until they’re soft (the same goes for acidic ingredients like lemon or tomatoes).
*If you have a pressure cooker you can skip the soaking stage.
- If you want to use dried chickpeas, the “secret” for making them soft and tender is to soak them overnight in a bowl filled with water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
- Keep in mind that when you cook legumes, you should use soft water (low in ions of calcium and magnesium). If your tap water is hard, then use bottled water for best results.
- After you boil the chickpeas you can also bake them in the oven instead of stewing them.
- This Moroccan chickpea stew will also work if you skip or substitute one or two of the spices with others that you may find fitting (allspice, ginger, turmeric, saffron, cloves, thyme are good choices!)
Similar recipes you may like:
- 1 pound dried chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- Pinch of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups pureed tomatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped raisins (or other dried fruit)
- Chopped parsley for serving (about ¼ cup)
- Prepare the chickpeas: Soak the chickpeas overnight in a large bowl filled with water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Make sure the surface of the water is at least 2 inches higher than the chickpeas. The next day, rinse the chickpeas very well and boil in a pot filled with water until tender (about 40 minutes to 1 hour). Drain them and keep aside.
- Make the stew: Transfer the olive oil, the onion, the bay leaf and all the spices to a pot and cook over medium/high heat until the onion is soft (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the pureed tomatoes, the chickpeas, and the raisins, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20-30 minutes. (Check from time to time in case you need to add a splash of water).
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
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