This Chickpea Stew couples the sweet, deep flavor of meltingly tender onions and fennel with the bright, vibrant acidity of tomatoes. And you top it off with fresh herbs and briny, crumbled feta cheese.
It's also mercifully light on your grocery budget, and mercifully simple to make. Plus, you can find the ingredients in just about any grocery store.
I love the vibrant play of sweetness against acidity, especially in savory dishes. Even more, I'm always looking for simple and FAST, flavor-forward meals.
And this chickpea works so well. That's because the intense flavors of slowly cooked onions and fennel coupled tomatoes offer a nice complement to the muted flavor of chickpeas. Dishes made from chickpeas, like socca or hummus, really benefit from flavor-forward companions like tomatoes, chilies or lemon.
Tips for Making Chickpea Stew
- Cook the onions slowly until meltingly sweet. This recipe depends upon the beautiful balance of sweetness, acidity and earthiness. So take the time to cook the onions until sweet and meltingly tender.
- Pierce your cherry tomatoes before adding them to the stew. You want the cherry tomatoes to melt into the sauce, but still retain some body. Some cherry tomatoes have thick skins, so piercing them helps them release their juice.
- Use Sungold tomatoes if you can find them. These orange-colored cherry tomatoes have such a vibrant, sweet-sour flavor.
- Bone broth gives the stew a subtle umami-note, but if you don't have any handy or are cooking for vegetarians, try swirling in vegetable stock or water with a teaspoon of miso.
- Choose chickpeas and tomatoes in glass jars, they'll have a less metallic flavor and you can find them here, or cook your chickpeas from dried.
Pro Tip: Use chickpeas and tomatoes in glass jars to minimize exposure to plasticizers and BPA. Jovial Foods offers chickpeas that are soaked in advance, pressure cooked, and jarred in glass
Chickpea Stew Recipe
For the Chickpea Stew
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (sliced thin)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 medium fennel bulb (cored and sliced thin)
- 2 (13 oz) jars chickpeas (drained)
- 2 (18.3 oz) jars diced tomatoes
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup bone broth
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1 medium lemon
Making Chickpea Stew
- Warm the olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, dried oregano and fennel. Sauté in the hot oil until fragrant and softened, about 8 minutes.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes.
- Pierce the cherry tomatoes with a paring knife, and then drop them in the Dutch oven.
- Stir in the bone broth, and simmer about 40 minutes until thickened and fragrant. Stir in the chickpeas and continue cooking about 10 minutes further. Turn off the heat and adjust seasoning with fine sea salt.
Finishing the stew.
- Ladle the stew into soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley, fresh oregano and feta. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
This chickpea stew is super simple to make and has a bright and deeply complex flavor fueled by slow-cooked onions, fennel, and plenty of tomatoes. And once you get the hang of it, you can also make some pretty simple adjustments to the recipe, too.
Use dried chickpeas. You can use dried chickpeas - soak 1 cup dry chickpeas overnight in warm water with 1 tablespoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon baking soda. Rinse and drain, then cook until tender.
Substitute garlic confit for the fresh garlic. Garlic confit, with its deep and complex sweetness, gives a nice depth of flavor to this dish, too.
Add turmeric, cumin, and ginger instead of dried oregano. Then skip the feta, and use chopped cilantro instead of oregano and flat-leaf parsley.
You can skip the chickpeas, and serve this savory, sweet-tart sauce with eggs as in this recipe for Avga me Domates (Greek-Style Eggs with Tomatoes).
Try adding chicken. If you need more protein, stir some diced cooked chicken thighs or chicken breasts into the stew.