No matter what else I make over the course of a given week, I almost always prepare one meal that takes the form of a stew, or a thick soup, or something that can easily be scooped over grains, enjoyed with pita slices, or sopped up with toast. These meals are generally easy, they give me leftovers, and I love the contrast of something spicy and flavorful with a starchy grain or bread accompaniment. This Moroccan chickpea tomato stew is my latest favorite, a simple and summery dish that Steven and I have now tried with whole wheat couscous, rice, and over toast–and we’ve loved it every single time.
I’ve been joking in my Instagram posts lately that I’m about to turn into a tomato, thanks to the pints and pints of cherry tomatoes that I’ve been gorging on (not to mention sliced heirlooms, roasted plum tomatoes with everything, tomato jam, and so on). Tomatoes happen to have been my favorite food as a child–maybe it’s a Mediterranean family thing–and they remain my favorite produce highlight of the summer and early fall months.
As a tribute to the fruits I love so much, I used fresh tomatoes in this recipe, though it’s a year-round stew in the sense that canned tomatoes will work very well in the winter. I love the combination of tart tomatoes with the earthy, sweet tones of cumin, cinnamon, and cloves, and chickpeas give this dish both texture and a little plant protein power. Serve it with whatever grain you’d like–I give some suggestions in the recipe.
Moroccan Chickpea Tomato Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 white or yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds plum tomatoes chopped (or 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes)
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar to taste, will vary based on level of acidity and whether you use fresh or canned tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Cooked couscous bulgur wheat, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pita triangles, or toast, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion. Cook onion for five minutes, stirring now and then, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently and adding a tablespoon or two of water if the garlic starts to stick.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar (starting with 1 tablespoon -- you can add more if you need to), coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, cloves, and cinnamon. Cook tomatoes, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until they're thickening up and very bubbly. Add the broth or water, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes
- Stir in the tahini and use an immersion blender to blend the soup partially, so that some pieces of tomato are still visible but the mixture is thick and resembles a chunky soup (you can also transfer half of the mixture to a standing blender and blend till smooth, then return it to the pot). Stir in the chickpeas and vinegar. Cook for another 5 minutes, taste the stew, and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve the stew with a grain of choice and a sprinkle of parsley or cashew cream, if you like.
Sometimes there’s not too much to say about a recipe that’s flavorful, nutritious, versatile, and easy. Except maybe: try it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and I hope you find ways to make it your own.
This has been a long week, and I’m very ready for the weekend. Steven and I will be hosting a good friend who’s in town, and I’ll be catching up with another friend who was traveling all summer. After a few days of feeling pretty disconnected, I’m so looking forward to these these visits. See you on Sunday for weekend reading.