Isn’t it a funny thing how our tastes change?
In high school, I went vegetarian, and my mom followed suit. Most of our dinners became plant-based, and she did a lot of experimenting with different recipes. There were some that were awesome (walnut oatmeal burgers, anyone?), and some that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Of course, I was so lucky to have a parent who would go to such lengths to support my lifestyle change and keep it healthy, and I am grateful for her help!
There was one recipe in particular that she found online and made often that I remember I just didn’t like – chickpea ragout (or “that chickpea tomato thing”). At some point in college, though, a switch flipped. When I was home on a break, she made the chickpea ragout, and I loved it. I don’t know what it was – maybe a different preparation, or an extra appreciation of healthy non-dining-hall food – but I knew that I wanted to learn how to make it.
The recipe we have is a print-out (from an unknown website) of Jacques Pepin’s Chickpea Ragout from his book, Fast Food My Way. I’ve got a photo of the print-out saved on my phone and have probably asked my mom to re-send it to me about six times since I keep accidentally deleting it! (side note – I just found the recipe on this ridiculous early-2000s gem of a website) I’ve modified the recipe just a bit to suit my tastes.
What I love most about this recipe is how simple it is, and how quickly it comes together with items I usually have lying around in my cabinets. And, on top of all of that, it’s vegan! In my opinion, it goes best with rice, and I’ve been loving Trader Joe’s Sprouted Organic California Rice, which adds a nice nutty flavor and hearty texture. This dish works well as an entree for me, but could be a side dish too – maybe with some simple grilled chicken, if you’re a meat eater. In the original recipe, Pepin recommends adding fried eggs, which sounds like an excellent idea to me!
Let’s get started!
First, gather all of your ingredients. I have quickly learned that cooking is a lot more enjoyable when it’s not rushed or confusing, so reading over the recipe and prepping all (and I mean ALL) of the ingredients ahead of time is a must for me.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
- 2 cups diced (1-inch) tomato
- 1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (+/- depending on the sodium content of your broth)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
A few notes on the ingredients: I learned from my mom that diced onions freeze well in cleaned-out yogurt containers, so I usually have some stocked in the freezer for recipes like this. Fresh onions, especially sweet onions, are great if you have the time. I’ve never made this recipe with fresh tomatoes, but that’s on my to-do list. I use canned tomatoes, since we often have some sitting in our pantry. Both fresh and pre-chopped garlic work well for this recipe. The original recipe calls for chicken stock, but to keep it veg, I use Better Than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Vegetable Base.
Now back to the cooking!
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the diced onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes to soften the onions. Next, add the garlic, and saute for 1 more minute. If I’m feeling really crazy, I’ll saute until the onions begin to brown a little bit. I love the way this makes the whole kitchen smell!
Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and return to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and boil for a 3-5 minutes longer to reduce the liquid. It’s fine to have a fair amount of liquid left in the pan.
Divide among bowls, and serve hot.
(see, I told you this recipe was super simple!)
It even got the post-work-husband seal of approval!
Thanks for reading! ~Margaret