Flavor-infused chickpeas with a simple tart for Saturday supper. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I’ve mentioned before that I live several miles from a grocery store and often find myself foraging in the cupboards and fridge for something delicious to eat rather than make yet another trip to town.

During one recent foray in my pantry on a frosty Saturday morning, I discovered a bag of dried chickpeas and knew in an instant that I had struck gold. So much can be done with these little dynamos.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net.

Why not just buy chickpeas in the can, you may ask. Cook up a batch of dried chickpeas and you’ll see why. For one thing, they smell divine while cooking in their herbed, garlicky broth. For another, a one-pound bag of chickpeas goes a long way.

Chickpeas with Broth can be eaten as is or more flavors can be swirled into the bowl before serving: a spoonful of tomato sauce or pesto perhaps, a handful of wilted greens, a sprinkle of olive oil, parmesan, or a chunk of soft cheese are all worthy candidates for adding in. This versatile concoction can also be the base for a fancier soup or it can be ladled onto pasta and steamed vegetables for a meal in a bowl.

If you prefer, drain off the broth to use another time. The flavor-infused chickpeas can then be blended for hummus or just slightly smooshed with a fork and piled onto toasted bread and decorated with edible tidbits as you please. They can also be tossed into a salad or veggie side dish to add a significant protein punch as well.

These chickpeas can also be crisped up in your air fryer or simply sautéed in a pan. This is my go-to evening snack and has also served as a crunchy munchy with a cold beverage at cocktail hour. Just lace the chickpeas with a bit of olive oil and add whatever seasonings you like best.


To accompany this first edition of chickpeas in broth on Saturday night, I made a simple tart with toppings I had found hidden in the fridge. I almost always have a box of puff pastry on hand for times such as these. It’s so great how a sheet of this dough can be topped, folded, twisted, twirled and cut to provide anything from sophisticated appetizers to stunning desserts. Experimenting in such a way will make you feel like a magic wizard in your very own kitchen kingdom.

Tomato & Feta Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
4 tomatoes, sliced thin
8 ounces feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured work surface and roll to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut lengthwise into two rectangles and transfer to an oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and fold over all edges to create a border. Brush with olive oil.

Arrange tomato slices and feta on top of pastry. Sprinkle with herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Cut into squares. Yield: 4 servings

Chickpeas in Broth

1 pound dried chickpeas
2 tablespoons coarse or kosher salt, divided
2 fresh sage sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Parmesan rind (optional)

One day or several hours before, place dried chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with 8 cups water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Soak for as much time as you have, ideally at least four hours and up to a day or two in the fridge. The longer you soak them, the less time they take to cook.

Drain chickpeas and add them to a large (ideally 5-quart), heavy pot with 12 fresh cups of water. Add another tablespoon kosher salt, herbs, garlic and peppercorns, and bring the mixture to a full boil over high heat. Skim any foam from the top.

Boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to a low simmer, cover partially and cook until chickpeas are firm-tender, as little as 30 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool in their broth, then scoop out chickpeas and strain broth if desired, but I don’t bother. Store in the cooking liquid in the fridge for up to one week or drain and freeze to be used later. Yield: 4-5 cups chickpeas

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