Left to my own nefarious devices for dinner, I settled on some seriously spicy, garlicky, terrible for kissing, conversing, or looking suave chickpeas in spicy tomato suce. It was vegetarian food for sure, but it was vegetarian food for the win!
These chickpeas are spicy! Garlicky! Acidic! They are also delicious, sooooooo satisfying, and easily some of my favorite vegetarian food. Not for the faint of heart, I definitely recommend that you add as much heat as you’re comfortable with and then sit back and enjoy these crazy good-for-you little bites while the sweat builds around your hairline. High in protein and fiber, filled with great nutrients from the tomatoes and garlic, smothered with healthy olive oil fat, the spice will boost your metabolism while you lean back, sweat, and enjoy! This vegetarian food is not meant for the weak.
This is not a great date dish. This is not kid-friendly. This is straight-up yummy and just for you, and maybe, if you’re very, very lucky, someone in your life who loves heat, garlic, and acidity just as much as you do!
There’s really never a bad time for chickpeas. I love the texture of those creamy little balls, but they are every bit as good roasted until they’re crispy. They puree perfectly for rich dips and spreads (like hummus), but they also make perfect little individual vehicles for spice and heat!
The idea here is all about big fat chunks of garlic, bold layers of heat, brightly acidic tomatoes, and rich, smooth, silky bites of olive oil. The sauce has a large piece of parmesan rind in it for flavor, and then there’s more freshly grated parmesan heaped on the top. If you don’t have parmesan rind, don’t worry about it! You can definitely omit that ingredient. If you want this to be vegan, you can just leave out the parmesan completely. However, if you occasionally buy wedges of parmesan that do have the rind, always make sure you save it! You can even wrap those ends tightly and freeze them if you don’t think you’ll get to them right away. If you spend a little time online, you’ll find about a million ways to use your extra parmesan rinds. They are absolutely perfect to have on hand for rich, slowly simmered beans, soups, ragu, (and sauces like this one). You can also make a parmesan rind broth if you want, which is just about the most amazing thing you can have on hand to improve a risotto or add a layer or richness and depth to an otherwise standard soup. Any tomato sauce that you let simmer for a while with a parmesan end will be richer and more flavorful, and, if you somehow end up with too many parmesan rinds, there are a million recipes out there that can help you use them up, like this one for crazy easy microwave parmesan rind puffs!
Bold and Spicy Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Intensity: Killer Vegetarian Food
- 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight covered in water by at least 4"
- 1 onion, peeled and cut in 1/2
- 1 carrot, ends trimmed
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 10-12 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 Tbs + 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2-3 dried chilies, whole (Arbol and Thai Bird work well)
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes
- 1 can tomatoes, whole or diced
- 1 wedge of parmesan rind 1"-2" (optional)
- 2-3 dashes Tapatio (as many as you can take, really. I used about 15)
- salt, pepper
- fresh basil, oregano, good quality salt, freshly cracked black pepper, parmesan cheese
- Drain the chickpeas and rinse well.
- Put them in a large pot covered by cold water by at least 2"
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, skimming off any bubbles or foam that rise to the top.
- When the chickpeas are tender, stir in the olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. It will take a lot of salt!
- Heat 2 Tbs oil in a large saute pan.
- Add the garlic, whole chilies, and chili flakes and saute until the garlic is soft and translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, parmesan rind, and a pinch of salt and pepper with a few of dashes of Tapatio.
- Simmer gently until the sauce is thickened and much of the liquid is reduced (20-30 min).
- Add 2 cups chickpeas with 1/4 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid.
- Gently simmer for 5-10 minutes, add the rest of the olive oil, taste, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs, good-quality salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and a mound of freshly grated or shaved parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Looking for some more gluten-free and vegetarian bowls with awesome flavor? You might like the Nourishing Buddha Bowl with Chipotle-Maple Roast Squash, or the Rainbow Power Bowl with Turmeric-Yogurt. You might also want to check out the Tropical Coconut, Citrus, and Avocado Forbidden Rice Bowl!