Spanish Inspired Chickpea Bowl

In the past five or so years, cooking has become one of my main ancillary passion in life. Interestingly enough, I haven’t always loved food. Weird right? Especially because I come from two distinct cultures who base a large portion of their traditions on food, Italian and Jewish.

My dad would always say, “food is fuel.” Which I sort of interpreted as, his way of telling me to stop complaining about what I was eating, and just reap the benefits of what it did to my body. The only moment that I distinctly remember my parents enjoy cooking was Saturday morning breakfast. My parents would make a large spread full of fresh bagels, pancakes, eggs, and all the fruit you could eat. My dad will always and forever be the best pancake maker in the house, although I will say my sister is a solid second contender.

My mother never bought microwavable food, she raised us on salads and veggies, it was only once a week that we ate pasta usually prepared by my dad with red sauce and herb roasted chicken. Whenever I witnessed either of my parents cooking it was always laborious, daunting, and typically revolved my mother frantically cleaning every surface of the kitchen for hours until she felt like our house was back in its continual pristine state.

It wasn’t actually until college that I started experimenting with cooking, and ultimately led me to discover an affinity for food.

Below is my recent exploration of this affinity for food. It’s a Spanish take on a Middle Eastern dish, full of fresh herbs, things I had lying around the kitchen, and a subtle heat that is perfect for the summer. I hope you love it, give it a try and let me know how it turns out for you.




Yields: 2-4 Servings

For the rice

2 cups of basmati rice

1 pint of whole peeled tomatoes

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 lemon, zested, juiced

1 yellow onion, diced 1/2 inch

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, minced

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

For the black beans

1 can of black beans

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

For the chickpeas

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

For the kale

1 bunch dino kale

3 cloves of garlic, slivered

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste

1 Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste


I would say start with the rice, then the beans, and then the chickpeas, and finish with the kale.

For the rice 

  1. Start off by dicing your onion, mincing your garlic, shallot, and combining them to heated olive oil in a deep saucepan.
  2. Cook the onions until they become slightly transparent, and add your paprika and lemon zest and juice to the mixture.
  3. Then throw in two cups of rice and mix into the mixture for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Now, open your can of whole peeled tomatoes and add to the rice mixture.
  5. Combine with about a cup of water and allow to simmer on low for 20 minutes. (Occasionally stir the rice so it doesn’t stick to the bottom, add more or less water depending on preference.)
  6. Salt and pepper to taste

For the black beans

  1. Combine the beans, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper together in a small pot and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Be sure to simmer the beans long enough so they aren’t watery.

For the chickpeas

  1. First, rinse, drain, and dry your chickpeas if they are canned
  2. Next, mince 1-2 garlic cloves and heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan.
  3. Once the olive oil is smoking, throw in the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, don’t let it brown.
  4. Then add the smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper for a minute just to allow the spices to warm up.
  5. Throw in the chickpeas and coat, cook for about 5 minutes.

For the kale

  1. Remove the stem from the dino kale and roughly chop.
  2. Then slice your garlic thinly.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan, and add the garlic. Cook until slightly browning.
  4. Next, add your kale and mix thoroughly until it starts to turn a vibrant green. (Make sure to remove kale quickly and do not overcook. Kale only takes about 2-4 minutes to be fully cooked.) 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

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