Vaguely Mediterranean Chickpeas

This goes together pretty fast if you have a pressure cooker. If not – well, you should get one. Not only are dried beans incredibly nutritious & versatile, they’re super-cheap as well. Besides being prima facie cheap, think about how much less gas it takes to transport a volume of dried chickpeas vs. a volume of canned chickpeas, with the canning liquid and the can itself adding to the weight. Sure, you have to soak dried ones, but carnivores have to defrost meat, and dried beans and peas keep a lot longer than frozen meat, too. A pantry full of beans is a great basis for improvisational cooking. This is just that kind of dish – a “what’s in the fridge that goes together?” recipe.

For the chickpeas:
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
some chili flakes
2.5 c. dried chickpeas, sorted and soaked for 8 hours or overnight
black pepper

Sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté briefly, then add the chili flakes, the chickpeas, and enough water to cover. Grind black pepper in liberally. Do not salt the chickpeas before cooking – it will toughen them & make them take longer. Cover with water to cover plus one inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, 1-2 hours. If you have a pressure cooker, soaked chickpeas take about 20-25 minutes, depending on age. If none of the above is an option, open up 4 cans of chickpeas and sauté the onions & garlic thoroughly before adding them.

Place in a microwave-safe bowl:
½ bag frozen spinach
and cook for 4 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove, let cool slightly, then chop fine. Also prepare:
1 c. parsley, minced
1 red pepper, minced
2-3 cloves garlic
juice of 1-2 lemons
When the chickpeas have finished cooking, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid. Add salt & more pepper and then the remaining ingredients. Mix gently so as not to mash the chickpeas. Add cooking liquid if necessary & another splash of olive oil if you feel like it. Serve with pasta, couscous, pita bread, or whole-wheat toast.

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