Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas with Quinoa

These spicy chickpeas evoke visions of a languorous evening spent in Marrakesh, lounging about on hand-woven rugs in a smoky den of jeweled resplendence. If you own an actual tagine, gold star for you! Use that. Otherwise, a Dutch Oven or a large heavy-bottomed skillet will do the trick.

I’ve been on a bit of a quinoa kick lately. It’s just so easy. Not to mention that it is widely considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Older than Peru, the Incas called this gluten-free grain the “mother grain”. Unlike any other non-animal product, quinoa contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein. In addition to a sizable amount of protein, quinoa is also an excellent source of fiber, calcium, phosphorus, folate, and many B vitamins. Just rinse those little suckers off for a few minutes, throw em’ in a pot of water, and simmer until they all explode into little curly q’s. When approaching this recipe, instead of running out to buy couscous (this gal’s trying to develop a budget), I cooked up a big pot of quinoa not only as a side to this dish, but enough to last me for the week.

Quinoa keeps well in the fridge and is quite versatile, reliably stepping in whenever you’re in a pinch for breakfast (reheat with a fistful of berries, honey, and nuts) or dinner (last night I made quinoa fried “rice” at midnight after getting home from a meditation circle, inspired by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks‘ Millet Fried “Rice”). Of course, if quinoa really isn’t your thing, opt for the traditional accompaniment of couscous.

Spicy Morocccan Chickpeas with Quinoa
Serves 4-6

Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cups water

Chickpeas
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, according to taste)
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cups cauliflower florets
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or two 15 oz cans chickpeas)
14 oz can organic crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Garnishes
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
low-fat Greek yogurt, to taste
cilantro
lemon wedges

1.) Before prepping the chickpea ingredients, begin the quinoa. Rinse thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer for several minutes, using your fingers to really get in there as quinoa is typically quite filthy. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or so; until water is fully absorbed and the quinoa has “sprouted” to reveal its little curls. Remove from heat and set aside. Before serving, fluff with a fork.

2.) Begin the chickpeas. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet, Dutch Oven, or tagine over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 1 minute. Add all of the spices, ginger, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or so; until onions are softened and beginning to brown.

3.) Add celery and cauliflower and stir well to coat with the spices. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes; until cauliflower is fork-tender.

4.) Remove from heat and stir in parsley, cilantro, and lemon juice. Serve with a scoop of quinoa and garnished with apricots, yogurt, cilantro, and with a lemon wedge on the side.

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6 responses to “Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas with Quinoa

  1. I love vegetable tagines with Moroccan spices. Yours looks great! I have had quinoa with some of my tagines, but have often wonder whether millet would work as a good couscous substitute since they are a similar size.

    • Thank you!!! I had quinoa hanging around my fridge and just thought “WHY NOT?!” Weird at first glance but you really don’t even notice the difference! Next time I’ll try millet… let me know if you do!

  2. This is really delicious….made it last night using red quinoa. Yummy! Also, love the photo of the dish……..very Marrakesh!

  3. Emily, dear, I just have to tell you that this recipe is AMAZING–soooo easy to make and the result is beautiful, spicy deliciousness that is actually very good for you (obsessed with vegetarian dishes right now, and dear god I LOVE quinoa)…. I’m already on my second bowlful! I used my dutch-oven since i don’t own a tagine but now I’m thinking of purchasing one…

    A+ as always!

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