Chickpeas & Chard in a tomato sofrito
An easy 10-minute lunch or dinner, a mix between warm comfort food and nutritious.
- olive oil
- 1 large jar cooked chickpeas
- several chard leaves
- 2 tbsp tamari sauce
- 1 tbsp capers
- 4 tbsp tomato sofrito or basic sauce or 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 lemon juice
- salt, black pepper
Set a pan to medium heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Rinse and strain the chickpeas, sauté for 3-4 mins.
Meanwhile, rinse and pat dry the chard, and chop into thin strips.
Add the tamari sauce, tomato sofrito and capers to the pan. Mix and cook for 1 min.
Add the chopped chard. Turn off the heat and stir, let it rest for 2 mins or until the chard leaves have softened but are still a bright beautiful green. Add the lemon juice. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
I recommend serving this with rice, toasted breat, cooked buckwheat, millet or quinoa. Or whichever grain you like the most! Enjoy.
So this is a stolen recipe. Or rather, borrowed.
My mom, perhaps to your surprise, is not a huge fan of spending time in the kitchen. She loves good food though, so she tends to have these very simple, quick recipes up her sleeve.
This chickpeas and chard recipe is one of them.
It takes 10 minutes to prepare and you could make extra portions to save as leftover for next day lunch or dinner. This is very handy for weekdays, when you’re too tired or unfocused to make anything too ambitious.
The combination of chickpeas (protein), chard (fibre, vitamins, minerals) and a grain (carbs) not only means you are having a delicious meal, but also a nutritously complete one.
Although I love spending time preparing, researching and cooking food, it is so nice to have some good old simple recipes that I can always go back to when I need to.
Options, always options
I like to think as recipes as invitations. Invitations to play with certain ingredients, to explore their flavour, smell, texture… They can be taken as scripts or as inspiration to create your own. You can follow them to the gram or freestyle it all the way. You can also meet the recipe halfway.
I love love love freestyle-friendly, open recipes – this is one of them. Here are some ideas and alternatives to the recipe-mentioned ingredients:
- Chickpeas: pick for your preferred (or available) legume e.g. lentils, black/red/white beans.
- Chard: any green that is nice when cooked will do e.g. spinach, cabbage, kale…
- Tomato sofrito: if “sofrito” is not available where you live (it’s a very Spanish thing to have in stores) you can use regular tomato sauce, tomato paste, grated (ideally ripe) tomatoes or simply not use any tomato-based flavour, and use another sauce to drizzle on top once the dish is served. Here are some suggestions:
This recipe is also the first of my #HuertoSpotlight (‘huerto’ means vegetable garden in Spanish), where I aim to showcase a typically unappreciated, taken-for-granted, apparently unsexy vegetable every month. Basically, giving it its 15 mins of fame that it deserves.
Chard is the chosen vegetable for January. A little bit about it:
Chard is a variety of beetroot, whose stems and leaves develop much more than its root. There are many varieties: meatier or thinner stem, larger or smaller leaves. The colour of the stem is usually white, but some varieties (such as the rainbow chard) offer a wide range of colours. The leaves can go from dark green to yellow.
Chard is cheap and widely available, especially in Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, Suitzerland, US, where they are grown the most.
They naturally grow and are harvested in Spring and Fall, although we can find them pretty much throughout the entire year.
When buying chard, make sure the leaves are terse, alive and colourful, and the stem is crunchy. Avoid buying brown or yellow ones, or those with slightly torn or punctured leaves. Bigger leaves usually means more bitter.
At home, make sure to rinse and properly clean the leaves and stems. Store in a bag, previously wrapped in a kitchen towel or paper.
Its flavour is lightly to moderately bitter, depending on the variety and size of the leaves (maturity). However, nowadays this bitterness is much milder than it used to be, making it a wonderful vegetable to include in almost any dish, as a way to include more greens in our diets.
Ideally, cook them just enough so that they keep their beautiful bright colour and are soft but al dente. You also have the option to thinly chop them and add them to a salad.
A wonderful source of fibre and vitamins (A, C, K, E) and magnesium, iron, potassium and manganese.
Research has shown that its flavonoids play a part in stopping the growth of cancerous cells and DNA cell reproduction. In a diabetic rats study i was also shown that they help stabilize glucose levels in blood, avoiding the negative effects that diabetes can have (nerve deterioration and cardiovascular desease).
Traditionally, it was used to treat ulcers, tumours, leuchemia and other types of cancers, hemorroids and neutralizing heartburn.
In your kitchen
If you try this recipe, please let me know how it went in the comments section.
If you share it on social media, tag me @silvia.cooks and use #SilviaCooks and #HuertoSpotlight.