Braised Chickpeas Are A Versatile Dish You Can Craft With Pantry Staples

Chickpeas are the best friends of vegans and vegetarians, not only because they're packed with the plant-based protein they so desperately need, but because they're versatile. That one can in your pantry can be thrown into a stew, mixed into your pasta, or blended into a creamy, dreamy hummus. When braised, however, these trusty legumes become soft and tender. With just one pot and a few pantry staples, they're the ultimate weekly meal prep — ready to be served over rice, dipped into a crusty piece of bread, or eaten on their own. But the real beauty is in all the directions you can take them in without even reaching into your fridge.

In all of their versatility, braised chickpeas are the perfect canvas for experimentation. Take inspiration from your favorite Indian dishes and simmer them with canned tomatoes, curry powder, and ginger. Or take a Moroccan approach with a bit of harissa paste, canned tomatoes, olives, and dates or raisins. Ethiopian beyaynetu is another example you can look to, where you'll find chickpeas blended with berbere seasoning and olive oil to create a shiro wat that's enjoyed with soft flatbread. As you might notice, there are a number of directions your braised chickpeas can take you.

Pantry ingredients make for easy prepping

Pairing braised chickpeas with things like canned tomatoes, garam masala, and coconut milk, you can build and layer flavors for a curry-inspired chickpea stew, while a tube of harissa paste, some fire-roasted tomatoes, preserved lemons, and a combination of olives and raisins will invoke all the flavor of a traditional Moroccan tagine. With a serving of jasmine rice or couscous, your lunch is done.

Of course, with chickpeas always comes the classic Mediterranean combinations. Olives are necessary here, as well as a high-quality bottle of EVOO. A can of fire-roasted eggplants, San Marzano tomatoes, dried herbs, and preserved lemons will make for the perfect pairing with crusty sourdough or pita bread. It could also be thrown on top of a bed of arugula throughout the week if you're looking to get your greens in. As a matter of fact, an open-faced toast layered with braised chickpeas, arugula, and balsamic glaze sounds like the perfect mid-day snack.

The possibilities certainly don't end there. Your braised chickpeas are a canvas for a world of flavors, all of which are found inside your pantry.