I could’ve probably come up with a slightly more enticing name for this recipe, especially since it was one of the better meals I’ve made in the last few weeks. But that would be seriously detracting from what makes it DALS-worthy. You know that stunning Margaret Wise Brown baby book The Important Book? Where she poetically itemizes the characteristics of common objects before landing on what is most important about that object? (“The important thing about a spoon is that you eat with it…It’s like a little shovel you hold in your hand…it isn’t flat it isn’t hollow, but the important thing about a spoon is that you eat with it.”) Well, if Margaret Wise Brown wrote about this dinner, she’d probably say something like: “This meal is delicious. It’s vegetarian. It’s healthy. It’s one-pot if you don’t make rice. It’s super flavorful. It’s a recipe you can make faster than it would take to pick up pizza. But the important thing about this meal is that it’s almost all from a can.”
Ok, you’re probably still not sold.
Think about it this way. It’s the holidays, the Eating Season. Chances are you are spending twice as much time cooking and shopping and going to events where it would be rude not to eat a second slice of gingerbread cake. Wouldn’t it be nice if, say, on a random Wednesday night in December — a night off between office holiday parties and the kids’ winter concert and requisite latkes-and-menorah-lighting — you had everything you needed for a healthy dinner, a fleet of shelf-stable ingredients loyally waiting for you in the pantry and freezer and spice shelf?
That’s what this meal is. Next time you hit the store, pick up all the ingredients and you’ll see.
P.S. Update! My friend Robin made this last night in her Instant Pot, using a 1-pound bag of dried Rancho Gordo garbanzos instead of canned. She started it at 6:00, and sat down to dinner at 7:30 and said it was a hit with every last person, large and small.
Curried Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Greens
I know what you’re going to say. The kale is not from a can! You’re correct! I had half a bunch leftover in the fridge so threw them in, but this would be just as delicious if you used thawed-frozen spinach or peas. I have no defense on the ginger-onion-garlic, except to say that you should always have aromatics on hand.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
shake of red pepper flakes to taste
3 tablespoons curry powder (your favorite kind)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and dried as much as possible
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth, plus up to another 1/2 cup as needed
4-5 lacinato/Tuscan kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped (could just as easily have been thawed frozen organic spinach or peas)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon white miso, mixed with 1/4 cup warm water (optional)
lime wedges and cilantro for garnish (optional)
In a large skillet (like the one shown) set over medium-low heat, add olive oil, onions, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add curry powder, smoked paprika, and cook, allowing the spices to toast a bit. Add chickpeas, stirring to cover with curry powder. Cook about 5 minutes until they look like they are slightly crisping. Taste. If you think they need more seasoning, adjust accordingly.
Stir in tomatoes and half the broth, and let simmer on the stovetop for another 10 minutes or so until everything is warmed through. (If it looks too gloppy, add more vegetable broth to loosen.) Add kale and cook until wilted. Stir in coconut milk and miso mixture (if using). Serve with rice topped with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.