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The name says it all: satisfying chickpeas and potent olives are thrown into a pan with a pile of tomatoes, lemon slices, and an assertive blend of spices, then left to cook into one impressive, saucy, Moroccan-inspired  dish. Make the rice while it simmers, and dinner is served. And really good.

Since making your beans from the dried state results in a firmer bean than canned, we suggest doing that here for a satisfying main-dish texture, not to mention flavor you can control, and lower cost. Do note, if your beans take longer than the suggested time in this (or any) recipe, don't panic. Older beans can take longer to cook, sometimes significantly.

To allow comfortably for the longer cooking time, try putting this together on a weekend day while you're doing other things around the house. You'll be rewarded with a dish worth the extra wait. Or make the beans in advance, on an evening while you're cooking a different meal. With beans already prepared, the whole thing comes together in just about half an hour. If you do use canned, you'll need 2 1/2 cups of beans, well rinsed and drained, and add a bay leaf to the whole mixture before covering to let simmer. Remove it along with the spent lemon slices before serving.

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Chickpeas and Kalamata Olives in a Spiced Tomato Sauce

Print the recipe

serves 3-4

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked 8 hours

3 1/2 cups water

1 dried bay leaf

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt, divided

2 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp ground cumin

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes

1 TBSP smoked paprika

 1 TBSP turbinado or brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

scant 1/2 cup kalamata olives (meaning, aim for under the line rather than over)

1 lemon, scrubbed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas. Place them in a pot with the water, bay leaf, and liquid smoke. Cover, bring to a boil, cock the lid, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook at a low simmer until tender, about 60 minutes, checking occasionally after 45 minutes. When the chickpeas are almost done, add 1/4 tsp of salt (reserve the other half) and continue cooking until done. Drain well. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and cumin and cook for 3 minutes, tossing frequently.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the garlic, and cook, stirring/tossing constantly, an additional 2 minutes.

Carefully crush the tomatoes individually into the sauce pan with your hands and pour in their liquid. Stir in all remaining ingredients, except reserved salt, topping with the lemon slices. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer, uncovered, an additional 5-10 minutes, until thickened to the desired consistency (increase the heat a bit, if needed, to maintain a steady simmer). Taste and add the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, if needed. 

Remove lemon slices and serve over rice, any grain of choice, or with a generous serving of crusty bread.