Spicy Chickpeas with Harissa and Sundried Tomatoes


We came back from Disneyland yesterday and it will go down as one of the most memorable vacations ever.  Why?  Because this happened:

imageimageHe was wearing a “Just Graduated” pin–because you know, they give you a pin for every occasion and accomplishment at Disneyland.  I was wearing one that says “Still able to walk upright after 9 hours at Disneyland.”  I digress.  The captain took notice of his pin, JJ said he graduated from kinder and was going to first grade, which I guess was the minimum requirement for steering the Mark Twain Riverboat.  Next thing you know, he was handling that wheel like Pat Sajak.

The other reason it was memorable of course involved a meal, which we enjoyed at Carthay Circle, a restaurant inside California Adventure–yes, inside an amusement park. Carthay Circle was an oasis of calm and elegance amidst corn dogs, cheese pizzas and turkey legs. I had the harissa marinated lamb porterhouse with a side of chickpeas. I’ve never had chickpeas that wasn’t in hummus form so off I went in search of (read: Pinterest) a chickpea recipe.  I didn’t find any to my liking so I made up my own.


2 T sundried tomatoes packed in oil (include the oil)
1 T grated parmigiano reggiano
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 T harissa paste* (if spicy, adjust amount to suit your taste)
salt and pepper to taste

*Harissa is the sriracha of Middle Eastern cooking.  It’s a spicy, garlicky red pepper paste that you can use on almost anything from enhancing stews and soups to a marinade for chicken or pork.  They’re usually sold in jars in Middle Eastern stores or you can make your own.  I procured mine at a local restaurant that specializes in Moroccan and North African dishes, Cafe Grillades.  Might as well leave it to the experts, right?

Saute chickpeas in oil, using the oil in the sundried tomatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients along with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until all ingredients are heated through.  Serve as a side to your favorite protein.  I swear to you, the hardest part about it is finding the can opener to open the can of chickpeas.  The whole thing takes about 10 minutes to make, incredibly easy and such a small investment in time with big payoffs in flavor.


The holy trinity: sundried tomatoes, parmeggiano reggiano, harissa paste