This Chickpea Provençal recipe takes advantage of quite a few ingredients you likely already have in the house and turns them into a gourmet dish. Influenced by the seasonal, rustic flavors from the south of France, you’re going to love the simple way these chickpeas come together with root veggies, spinach, and herbs. Want more from this cuisine? Try our Tomatoes Provençal too!
What is Provençal cuisine?
To some, French cooking has the reputation of being fussy, pretentious, and complicated. And while you might find that to be the case if you’re trying to master the art of baking French pastries or perfecting a soufflé, Provençal cuisine is simple and homestyle.
This area of France sits in the southeast end bordering the Mediterranean, and so it’s little wonder that Provençal flavors have similarities to Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cuisines. The focus is on simple, fresh ingredients that preserve the taste and texture of the seasons. Dishes often feature plenty of fresh garlic, herbs, and seasonal vegetables. And in place of butter, olive oil reigns.
What’s in vegetarian chickpea Provençal?
In this simple vegetarian dish, we’ve chosen ingredients that can be found year-round at any good grocery store – onions, carrots, fennel bulbs, baby spinach, garlic, lemon, and thyme. That said, if you close your eyes you can just imagine the depth of flavor when these veggies come just plucked from the earth. So if time and accessibility allow, seek out the freshest ingredients from your local farmer’s market.
When you sautee the onion, fennel, and carrots, do so over slow and low heat until they caramelize to add even more flavor. The spinach should be added right at the end so it remains bright and fresh when served.
Can’t get enough of the flavor of fresh thyme? It’s easy to grow indoors as long as you have plenty of sunshine and a clay pot. Then, simply cut the sprigs you need, wash and use. But if dried thyme is what you have on hand, don’t let that stop you from whipping up this lovely dish!
And let’s not forget the chickpeas…
Are chickpeas good for you?
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a legume commonly used in the Mediterranean dip, hummus. But they are also a high plant-based protein that can be used in soups, stew, salads, casseroles, and stir-fry.
In order to make them more digestible and to remove the phytates and enzyme inhibitors beans contain in their raw form, chickpeas should be soaked before cooking. They can also be fermented or sprouted to achieve the same effect. To save on time, we prefer to buy canned chickpeas already presoaked, rinsed, and cooked. Eden Brand is one company that does this. If you prefer and have the time, you can also do these steps yourself.
Like most legumes, chickpeas are a great source of soluble fiber, which benefits digestion and overall health. They also contain starches that are resistant to digestion, which help to optimize digestion by providing good “food” for our gut bacteria. Additionally, these resistant starches provide a sensation of appetite satiation, improve insulin sensitivity, and optimize blood sugar levels. (source)
Meal Planning with our chickpea Provençal
Whether it’s for budget or health reasons, many folks like to include a meatless dish in their weekly meal plan. This Chickpea Provençal makes the perfect healthy, inexpensive meatless Monday (or any day) dinner.
In the spirit of Provence, we’d recommend serving this dish alongside a simple salad dressed with a fresh squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil, and perhaps a fresh dish of olives on the side.
Bonus for leftovers: Cooking, cooling, and reheating can increase the resistant starch in many legumes including chickpeas so make extra and enjoy!
Can you freeze chickpeas?
Chickpeas can be frozen without fuss, and defrosting them doesn’t require a special technique. Though not necessary, we recommend freezing without the spinach so the dish can have that fresh, bright green touch the second time you serve it too.
- 5.0 stars
- 1 onion
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 3/4 lb carrot
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon
- 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 c white wine, optional
- 1 c vegetable stock
- 4 tsp. fresh thyme
- 3 c cooked chickpeas
- 1 lb baby spinach
- Peel and thinly slice the onion, fennel bulb and carrot. Peel and chop the garlic. Juice the lemon.
- Heat half of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and sea salt to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add remaining oil, fennel bulb, carrots, black pepper, and garlic powder to the pan. Sauté for 10 minutes or until vegetables are golden.
- Add the wine and cook until evaporated.
- Stir in the stock, half of the thyme, and the chickpeas. Cook until heated through. Stir in the spinach and continue cooking until it is just wilted.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, and salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining thyme and serve.