Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas
Warm spices, golden nutty chickpeas, bright red sauce, oil-free vegan Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas is great as a celebration dish, but is quick enough to enjoy anytime.
This Moroccan inspired combination of spices includes cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, hot red pepper (the Aleppo pepper) and black pepper. While each spice plays a role, the cinnamon is what takes it over the top and fills the air with Fall and holidays.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and adds an earthiness and zing that is rounded by the cinnamon which gives a sweet sensation and taste. And whenever turmeric is used a little black pepper should be added too, both for flavor and it boosts the bioavailability for all the nutrients that turmeric brings. (see the article by Dr. Gregor of nutritionfacts.org explaining how black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric.)
Cumin adds a deeper flavor and slight smokiness, especially if you toast it a little in the pan as noted in step #6 below. Citrus notes come from the coriander, the seeds of the cilantro plant.
Then for a little piquante, Aleppo pepper is perfect. Aleppo pepper is similar to hot red pepper flakes, but is less piquant, doesn’t have seeds and has more moisture. It tastes somewhat like a combination of paprika and cayenne, in fact if you don’t have Aleppo pepper, paprika and cayenne will substitute nicely.
The apricots are optional, but give an extra sweetness and brings forward the spices a little more.
Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas can be made any time of year. When red peppers are not in season, jarred red peppers work and taste good in this dish.
Chickpeas Made From Scratch
Chickpeas taste best when they are cooked from dried. In the technique section, see how to cook dried chickpeas and also get the resulting chickpea stock which you can use in this dish. You just need to remember to soak the beans the night before or in the early morning of the day you want to make this dish.
This Moroccan inspired dish is particularly good with the saffron and lemon infused basmati rice dish. Saffron and lemon go so well with this warm-spiced dish.
Tools Used in this Recipe
- Cutting Board
- Chef Knife
- immersion blender
- paper towel
- 1 cup size jar with lid
- heavy bottom braiser pan or Dutch oven, tri-clad and enameled cast iron cookware work great for this type of dish
- wood spatula
- flexible spatula or spoon
- 1 large ripe red bell pepper or jarred red pepper
- 1 onion diced, about 1 cup
- 1 2in piece ginger grated about 2 Tbls
- 4 cloves garlic grated or crushed, about 1 Tbls
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbls Aleppo or 1 tbls paprika plus 1/4 tsp cayenne more Aleppo or cayenne if you like it more piquant
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbls chickpea miso optional
- 2 cups chickpea stock or vegetable stock
- 6 cups cooked chickpeas or 4 cans of chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 6 dried apricots sliced optional
- Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and rough cut to fit in the blender cup or blender. Place the pepper in the blender cup or blender. If using a blender cup, wrap a paper towel around the top so the liquid doesn’t spatter out. Continue blending until you get a pretty smooth consistency. Set aside.
- Heat the braising pan to medium with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. When the water starts to boil (about 3–5 minutes), add the sliced onions (don't let the water evaporate before adding the onions). Stir, then leave to brown a bit, about 3 minutes, stir and brown a bit more.
- Make a space in the center of the pan and add the grated ginger. Using the edge of the spatula push the ginger down to make a layer. Cook until it picks up a little color and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan so that it caramelizes a little and becomes fragrant (about 1–2 minutes). Add a few drops of water or stock to lift the garlic from the pan surface.
- Do the same for the grated garlic next; make a space in the center of the pan and add the grated garlic. Using the edge of the spatula push the garlic down to make a layer. Cook until it picks up a little color and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan so that it caramelizes a little and becomes fragrant (about 1–2 minutes). Add a few drops of water or stock to lift the ginger from the pan surface.
- Clear an area in the pan and sprinkle in the cumin and coriander. Let the spices heat through until they just start to smoke and become fragrant (about 1 minute). This step brings out a toasty, nutty flavor in the coriander and a, smoky flavor in the cumin.
- Sprinkle in the rest of the spices on the top of the onion mixture. These spices, turmeric, pepper, aleppo pepper and cinnamon don’t need toasting.
- Pour in the blended red bell pepper mixture and stir in onion mixture.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes to the blender along with the miso or salt if using and blend until smooth, then add to the pan as well and stir. This is a good time to take a taste of the sauce in the pan so far. It will taste concentrated and not quite blended, but will give you an idea. If you want more of any of the spices, put some of sauce mixture in a small bowl and add the desired spices to this mixture before adding back into the sauce. Doing it this way as opposed to just adding the spices directly to the sauce in the pot will make it so the spices aren't gritty.
- Then slowly add the vegetable stock, one cup t at time stirring after each cup. Then add the beans.
- Put the lid on and simmer for at least 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the apricots if using about 10 minutes before cooking is finished. This will allow them to plump up and give a sweet note to the dish.
- Garnish with fresh herbs. Parsley and mint are both good choices for this dish.
- Enjoy accompanied with the Saffron & Lemon Infused Basmati Rice, link below.