Some evenings I’m pulling dinner together on the run because of any number of reasons. It could be a last-minute phone call that delayed me, an appointment that ran late, traffic, or just life.
In times like this, I’m so grateful to have little containers of cooked legumes stacked in the refrigerator. After all, just because I’m running late, doesn’t mean I don’t want something healthy and satisfying for dinner. And frankly, if I don’t have a stash, dinner on those nights might be a whole lot less doctor-approved.
So I’ve learned to keep them on hand in both the refrigerator and freezer. Ditto for cooked grains. Okaaay, in the interest of full disclosure, my back up to my back up is canned beans. But once you start cooking your own beans from a dried form, I guarantee you’ll begin to tell a difference in the flavor – especially with chickpeas – and texture. And if you research the additional salt and sugar frequently added to canned beans, and about the BPA that may or may not be leaching out of the can liner into the food, you’ll switch to dried beans in a heartbeat and never look back.
This dish is one of my favorite “go-to” meals on nights I slam into the kitchen about 15 minutes before I want to actually eat dinner. Honestly, it doesn’t take much longer than that to make it. I throw a salad together, warm up a pita pocket, and I’ve got a dinner that can instantly ground me back in my home, far away from the frenzy of my day.
Moroccan Chickpea Pockets
Serves 2 entrées or 4 side dishes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (if the beans are already cooked)
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 large orange, juiced
- 1 tablespoons dried currants
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes (this time of year I use canned Italian tomatoes)
- handful cilantro (around 1/3 cup)
- 4 whole wheat pita pockets
I keep a stash of freshly cooked chickpeas in the refrigerator and freezer as I prefer the flavor of freshly cooked to the ones that are canned. To cook garbanzo beans (chickpeas), I rinse the beans, and soak them overnight in enough water to cover them by two inches. The following morning, I drain them, rinse them again, re-cover them with fresh water, and simmer for about one hour to an hour and a half. They can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days or frozen for a few months.
Combine the salt, paprika, coriander, cayenne, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl for the spice mix. Set aside.
Warm up the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the chickpeas, minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons of the spice mix. Sauté for 5 minutes until the garlic is very fragrant, but not browning.
Add the orange juice and currants, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cilantro.
Warm the pita bread in the microwave for 1 minute. Spoon the chickpeas into the pockets of the pita bread and serve with a side salad for a great, healthy meal.