Both these recipes use one of my favourite pantry staples: chickpeas. In trying to eat more vegetarian meals, I’ve found them to be one of the few ingredients that gives the same satisfying sense of fullness as meat. I usually prefer the taste of dried chickpeas, especially in salads or hummus, but I’m rarely organised enough to remember to soak and cook them ahead of time, so today’s recipes use canned. With the rich sauces that coat them, though, you’ll hardly notice a difference.
Chickpea and tahini pie (pictured top)
I’ve taken inspiration for this pie from Honey & Co’s lamb siniya, an alternative to shepherd’s pie with a filling of minced lamb and a distinctive topping of yoghurt and tahini. This version pairs that unique topping with a vegetarian filling of chickpeas, browned onions and spinach. If you’re struggling to find za’atar, use a mix of thyme and oregano instead.
Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
For the filling
4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2½ tsp ground cumin
600g brown onions, peeled and sliced
1 tsp table salt
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained (or 500g cooked chickpeas)
100g baby spinach
100g greek yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp za’atar
½ tsp cayenne pepper
For the topping
50g whole skin-on almonds
2 large eggs
200g Greek yoghurt
½ tsp salt
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, then toast the almonds on a tray for six minutes, remove and set aside to cool.
Warm two tablespoons of the oil in a 25cm-wide cast-iron skillet or ovenproof pan, add the garlic and cumin, and fry for 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add the onions and a teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring regularly, over a high heat for six to eight minutes, until the onions have softened and started to brown.
Tip the chickpeas into a large bowl, then crush them briefly with a potato masher. Tear up the spinach, then stir it into the bowl with the yoghurt, lemon juice, za’atar, cayenne pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the chickpea mix into the onion skillet and press down with a spatula to level out the surface.
Whisk the eggs, tahini, yoghurt and salt, pour all over the filling, then bake for 15 minutes, until browned at the edges. Just before serving, roughly chop the roast almonds and scatter over the top.
Chicken thighs, chickpeas and harissa
Roasting tin recipes make perfect midweek meals – a few minutes of prep, then 25 or so minutes in the oven while you unwind. The sauce for this one is particularly moreish, with the juices from the chicken melding into the tomatoes and harissa. You’ll need some good bread to mop it all up.
Prep 5 min
Cook 25 min
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
100g harissa (I use Belazu rose harissa)
1 tbsp brown sugar
¾ tsp table salt, plus extra for the chicken
3 tsp ground cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced
3 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained (750g)
25 prunes (about 175g), halved
6 skin-on chicken thighs (about 1kg)
Olive oil, to glaze
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. In a bowl, stir the chopped tomatoes, harissa, sugar, salt, cinnamon, lemon juice and spring onions. Scatter the chickpeas into a large roasting dish, followed by the prunes and the tomato mixture.
Lay the chicken thighs on top, then brush each one with a little olive oil and a dusting of salt. Roast for 25 minutes, until the chicken is browned on top, and serve straight from the roasting dish.