Chickpeas are great with rice; they add richness to the cooking liquid and — provided you don’t overcook them — they won’t turn to mush. Add more vegetables or firm tofu to any of these recipes (especially the curried variation) and you have a nice one-pot meal.
Other grains you can use: couscous, bulgur, pearled barley, quinoa.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- Total Time: 30 Minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ bell pepper, any color you like, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1½ cups chopped fresh tomato with the juice; don’t bother to drain
- 1¼ cups vegetable stock (pages 97–100) or water
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ cups long-grain rice
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Put the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, stock, sherry if you’re using it, bay leaf, some salt, and plenty of pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the rice and chickpeas, cover, and turn the heat down to low so that the mixture bubbles gently. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot or at room temperature. Or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; reheat or bring back to room temperature and stir in a little olive oil just before serving.
- SPICED RICE WITH CHICKPEAS AND ALMONDS Great under grilled vegetables: Omit the bell pepper and sherry. Stir in 1 tablespoon or so of chili powder, garam masala, or curry powder into the cooking onions and proceed with the recipe. Sprinkle with toasted almond slices before serving.
- CURRIED RICE WITH CHICKPEAS Richer and spicier: Omit the sherry and replace the stock with coconut milk, if you like. Stir in 1 tablespoon or so of curry powder into the cooking onions and proceed with the recipe. You can also throw in a handful of peas (fresh or thawed frozen) during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- SAFFRON RICE WITH CHICKPEAS Gorgeous color and lovely flavor: Omit the bell pepper, garlic, and sherry; replace the tomatoes with an additional cup of stock or water. Add ¼ teaspoon crushed saffron threads and 1 teaspoon thinly sliced lemon or orange zest along with the stock in Step 1; proceed with the recipe. Sprinkle with Za’atar (page 652) just before serving.