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Nutrition and flavor packed into one simple dish

8/30/2016, noon
Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber, making them a healthy addition to just about anyone's diet.
Nutrition and flavor packed into one simple dish

— Chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber, making them a healthy addition to just about anyone's diet. For those who want the nutritious pack chickpeas can provide but are worried that chickpeas fall short in the flavor department, you can enjoy the best of both worlds by cooking up the following recipe for "Spiced Chickpeas" from "Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine" (Artisan) by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones and Serafina Magnussen.

Spiced Chickpeas

Serves 4

2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in cold water, or two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/2 shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 cup Scoty's Marinara Sauce (see below) or store-bought sauce

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Combine the chickpeas, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the oil, and toss to coat. Spread the chickpeas out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast, shaking the pan from time to time, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chickpeas are firm and dry. Set aside to cool. (The roasted chickpeas can be prepared a couple of hours in advance, covered, and held at room temperature.)

Put a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, stir in the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas, tossing to heat through. Stir in the lemon juice, sherry and marinara sauce and cook, stirring, until the chickpeas are well coated and the sauce is hot, about 2 minutes.

Mound the chickpeas in a shallow serving bowl, top with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Scoty's Marinara Sauce

Makes 6 cups

2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pinch of baking soda

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter stick

Working in batches, put the tomatoes, along with their juice, in a food processor or blender and puree until semi-smooth; you want a little bit of chunky texture.

Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and carrot; season with salt, black pepper and the red pepper flakes; and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the pureed tomatoes, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes. Season the sauce with more salt and black pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda, making sure it dissolves, and add the basil and the butter substitute.

Once cooled, the sauce can be refrigerated covered for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.