When the sun suddenly begins to set before 5 p.m., I start craving comfort food. But even die-hard pasta fans like my family can tire of Penne alla Vodka and homemade mac and cheese. When we need a warm, comforting change of pace at dinner, or for lunch at Burlington Children's Space, I turn to curry. Spiced chickpeas over rice make a delicious, economical, and very healthy meatless meal.
I usually make a quick, tomato-based sauce flavored with sauteed onions, garlic, and mild curry paste. It's not too spicy for my 4-year-old daughter, Sadie, and the tomato-sauce base keeps it familiar enough to ensure that she'll help herself to seconds. My kids are crazy about chickpeas, so serving this alone over rice with veggies on the side is our regular method. But adding roasted cauliflower, carrots, potatoes or green peas (or a combination of them) to the curry works wonderfully.
I like fragrant Basmati rice, but, if you opt for the healthier brown variety, try the slightly chewier short-grain kind. I think it stands up to the curry sauce better than other types.
Quick Curried Chickpeas
curried chickpeas ingredients
(Serves 4 as a main dish or more as a side)
3 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 5 cups cooked beans total if you're soaking your own)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 teaspoons curry paste (I use Patak's mild
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
chopped cilantro and/or sliced scallions for garnish
3 cups Basmati rice
Before you start, set your rice to cook in a large pot with a lid. I use 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water, and I usually cook three cups of rice for our family dinners so we have some for leftovers the next day.
Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.
When the oil is nice and hot, add the diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn translucent but not brown.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute until it's very fragrant.
Add the curry paste and stir well to combine with the oil and veggies.
Quickly, before your paste starts to stick to the pan, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir well.
Turn down the heat to medium low and let the mixture cook for a few minutes until it starts to bubble a bit. Add the drained chickpeas and stir well to coat them with the sauce. Let them cook over low heat for 10 minutes or so while the rice cooks.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve the curry over hot rice, garnishing with cilantro or sliced scallions if you like.
Feel free to substitute any roasted veggies for half of the chickpeas!