I’ve been going meat-free more and more lately. It’s partly because I never really want meat, so I figured I wouldn’t have it for a while, and partly because there’s a whole world of meat-free recipes just waiting for me to try. Two vegan cookbooks later and I have a pretty good handle on the new ingredients and flavours vegetarian cooking has to offer (and a husband who’s a little huffy about the amount of money I’ve spent on cookbooks).
The trouble is, I’ve been making chicken-, fish-, pork- and beef-centred meals for so long I’ve got a good handful of easy, weeknight-friendly go-to recipes (like this one). And as much as I like diving into a dozen or more exotic ingredients, as I’ve said in the past, sometimes I just want to be done and back on the couch with a glass of wine.
Enter the chickpea. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for chickpeas. Sounds weird, I know, but they just work for me. We’re like April O’Neil and Casey Jones – an odd couple. Also the first Ninja Turtles movie was on last night. Classic piece of cinema.
Anyway. This meal comes together in under 20 minutes and is super customizable, depending on what you’re in the mood for. You can also add in some veggies since this meal is, you know, vegetarian. You can throw a cup or two of frozen green peas in with your chickpeas at about the halfway point. Or roasted asparagus is nice. Up to you.
Quick Stir-Fried Chickpeas
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper
- Splash of lemon juice
First off, set some rice on to boil, either in a rice cooker or a good, old-fashioned pot. If you don’t know how to make rice, our pal Google can probably help you out.
Next, heat olive oil (or canola or whatever floats your boat) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the chopped garlic and sauté for a minute or so.
Add the chickpeas and spread out into an even layer. Leave them for 3 to 5 minutes until they start to pop. Give them a stir and you’ll see they’ve started to turn golden. At this point you can add in some salt and pepper and any spices you like. Chili flakes maybe? Some sort of rosemay-thyme one-two punch? The choice is yours.
Continue spreading and stirring for another 7 to 10 minutes, more time if you like crispy chickpeas. I like mine a little soft, so I don’t leave them as long. Just before you turn off the heat, add your splash of lemon juice. I like a little lemony zing, so I add in a tablespoon or more.
These little beans are pretty versatile. I like to pile them on top of some rice, but you could also toss them into a soup or salad, or serve them as finger foods. The name of the game is versatility.
Give this recipe a try and let me know how you use your chickpeas and what spices and veggies you add in!