Since I started this blog, I’ve come to appreciate the value of an easy one-pot vegetarian meal. This Mediterranean Chickpea Skillet definitely helped that process along, with fiber and protein-rich chickpeas simmered with lightly spiced tomatoes and greens. It's topped off with...what else? Lotsa feta! It takes 20 minutes to get on the table and only needs some warm whole wheat pita bread on the side. Sign me up!
Who doesn’t love a delicious meal that comes together in 20 minutes? That’s healthy and rich and cheesy and just a tiny bit spicy? That you can prep ahead, make ahead, and reheat easily? My Mediterranean chickpea skillet is all these things, and the fact that it’s vegetarian is practically just a bonus. A great bonus, though, because one-pot vegetarian meals like this make it easier to follow the Mediterranean diet.
For those of you who like meat, don't worry, there's no need to run the other way at the first mention of the word "vegetarian." The Mediterranean diet is plant-forward, meaning you can still have meat, but you'll want get more of your protein from plant-based sources than from animal sources. Having a few satisfying vegetarian recipes in your back pocket is an essential strategy to help you meet that goal.
Power up your protein with chickpeas and whole grains
Chickpeas are a traditional ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, and they aren’t just for hummus! In a plant-forward diet, they are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients that aren’t found in abundance in a lot of plant foods. And, since they are inexpensive and easy to store, they make a great choice for adding protein to vegetarian one pot meals.
At 14.5 grams of protein per cup, chickpeas are a great substitute for meat in a variety of dishes, but they only contain 8 of the 9 essential amino acids humans need to get from food. That’s an easy fix, because whole grains provide the 9th amino acid, methionine, to create what’s called a complete protein. That means pairing this dish with whole wheat pita bread ensures your body won’t be missing the meat you’re not eating in this meal.
If you want to read more about the concept behind complete proteins, check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic.
Switch up your Mediterranean chickpea skillet
This dish is extremely versatile and easy to modify to suit your taste or use what’s in your pantry. Here are some possible variations:
- Switch out the chickpeas for white kidney beans or butter beans, or use any combination of beans that you like.
- Use whatever greens you have on hand, including kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, or spinach. If you use spinach, add it at the very end and allow it to wilt into the beans and tomatoes for just a minute or two.
- A splash of wine with the broth and ½-1 teaspoon of anchovy paste can really enrich the flavor of this dish. Obviously anchovy paste will make it no longer vegetarian, but if that’s not a deal-breaker for you, it’ll knock your socks off!
- Top this dish off with whatever herbs and/or cheese you prefer. Basil and mozzarella would be delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve been running into a lot of tart canned tomatoes recently, and have been casting about for a solution that doesn’t involve sugar. I recently came across this post from Oh That’s Tasty, which suggested using a pinch of baking soda to neutralize the acid in the tomatoes. Guess what, it works! Don’t add any more than a pinch, though, or it will change the taste and possibly the texture of your dish.
Absolutely! The easiest is to add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Tomatoes naturally have umami, so it stands to reason that the umami flavor is more concentrated in tomato paste. Just stir it into the onions, garlic, and spices, and let it cook for a minute or two to caramelize and deepen the flavor before adding the broth. I also recommend adding a pinch of red pepper flakes and a splash of tamari or soy sauce to better match the flavor of the seasoning.
Prep ahead and storage information
The only ingredient in this recipe that can’t be prepared ahead of time is the garlic, which is not safe to store once it has been cut, so save that until you are ready to cook. All of the other ingredients can be prepared and stored for up to 5 days in separate containers in the refrigerator. I usually wrap my chopped kale in a paper towel before storing to keep it from getting slimy.
You can also prepare the recipe up to the point just before the greens are added, then cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Slowly bring it back to a simmer over medium-low heat, then continue with the recipe. It’s also perfectly wonderful prepared all the way through and reheated in the microwave. I made it for lunch today and just had the rest for dinner…it’s about the easiest vegetarian one pot meal ever!
I love hearing from you!
Drop me a question, a comment, or a rating and let me know what you think of this Mediterranean chickpea skillet. You’ll make my day! You can also take a picture and tag me @parsleyandparm on Instagram.
Mediterranean Chickpea Skillet
- 1 Skillet
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Multipurpose Umami Seasoning see notes for substitutions
- ½ cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes add a second can for a saucier mix if desired
- 1 14 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 2 cups kale chopped
- kosher salt to taste
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 4 whole wheat pita bread
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute for 4, until translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
- Toss in the cumin, coriander, and umami seasoning and cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant. Add the broth and stir to combine.
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a moderate simmer. Allow to simmer for about 7 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed so it doesn’t simmer too vigorously.
- Give the mixture a quick taste. If your tomatoes are tart, add a pinch of baking soda to neutralize the extra acid.
- Fold in the kale and cook for about 5 minutes, until the greens are tender. Turn on your broiler while everything is simmering.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning before adding the feta cheese.
- Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the mixture and transfer to your broiler for 2 minutes to melt the feta.
- Top with the chopped parsley and serve with warmed whole grain pita bread.