Sometimes I find myself in a rut, eating mainly Indian or Mexican food over and over again. This dish of Moroccan chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce packed full of veggies is a welcome alternative! Served with a side of fluffy, chewy buckwheat groats that are tossed in a dressing infused with Ras-el-Hanout spice mix, you’re sorted for a balanced weeknight meal, with leftovers for your work or school lunches.
Ras-el-Hanout is a spice blend, North African in origin, that is composed of cumin and coriander seeds, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, turmeric, and cardamom. You can make your own blend, but for ease I’ve used a supermarket one for this recipe.
The dressing for the buckwheat is acidic and sweet at the same time, which really complements the mild spice and savouriness of the tomato chickpeas. It’s so warming and comforting.
The great thing about throwing a pile of veg into your dinners is that it makes it go a lot further. I originally thought this recipe would serve 2, but it stretched to 5 when I dished it up, so it’s ended up being really cheap to make. Who said that gluten-free cooking was expensive? The buckwheat might be on the pricier side compared to rice, for example, but you can easily substitute it for some gluten-free pasta and it’s just as good. I used buckwheat here to shake things up a little and to demonstrate that you don’t need to eat a monotonous diet.
- (For Moroccan chickpeas) 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium aubergine, diced
- 1 medium courgette, diced
- 2 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (or normal chilli powder)
- 2 x 400g tin tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
- 2 handfuls of raw spinach leaves
- (For buckwheat) 1 How-To Buckwheat Recipe
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp Ras-el-Hanout spice mix
- 2 tsp honey (or maple syrup for vegan option)
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Follow the How-To Buckwheat instructions. Once your buckwheat is simmering covered, fry the onion, pepper and carrot in oil in a pan on a medium heat. This should take around 8-10 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes to release its aroma.
- Add in the aubergine and courgettes and cook for another 5-7 minutes until softened slightly.
- Toss in all the spices from cumin to cayenne and cook for a minute, stirring everything until it is well combined.
- Add in the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree, thoroughly mix everything again, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to thicken for around 15 minutes.
- By this time, your buckwheat should be ready to fluff up. Mix up your dressing using ingredients from Extra Virgin olive oil onwards, and toss through the buckwheat. Keep warm.
- When the tomato sauce has thickened, add the drained chickpeas and spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- When it has thickened, remove from the heat and divide between bowls, pairing with the dressed buckwheat.