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Braised Coconut Chickpeas with Spinach & Lemon

coconut braised chickpeas 1

This! Want. I came across it while cruisin’ The Kitchn, trying to research the best way to open a fresh coconut, and the idea of it stuck – I can’t recall the last time I craved something as much that wasn’t a burger. And so tonight, even though I had been up since 4, had a sick kid in bed watching obnoxious cartoons and Mike called to say he was working late and would go straight to watch game 7 at the pub, and it would have been perfectly acceptable to eat apple slices and eggs on toast for dinner, I made this – just for me.

I’m sure the original version – made with lots of lemon, garlic, ginger and sun dried tomatoes – would be perfectly fantastic, but once I got going I couldn’t not add a spoonful of curry. But it turned out more than a curry – there was more complexity to it, and the lemon was predominant. Next time I may dial down the lemon (or swap it for lime) and add a spoonful of peanut butter. I love this sort of thing – and anything that takes advantage of a roasted sweet potato as a vehicle. It was absolutely perfect for dinner in PJ pants, under the covers with my laptop and aforementioned sick kid, who did not even try to force me to share. (He had eggs and toast.)

coconut braised chickpeas 3

To roast sweet potatoes (get the dark-fleshed kind) poke a few times with a fork and place directly on the oven rack; bake at 350F (or 400F, or whatever) for an hour, or more or less depending on its size, until the skin separates from the flesh, and the flesh is soft. This can be done in advance, any time you have the oven on anyway – keep the roasted potatoes in their skins in the fridge and reheat them when you want them.

coconut braised chickpeas 2

But wait! I just went downstairs to put away the leftovers – which I’m sure will be even better tomorrow – and at the same time pulled out a tray of roasted pumpkin chunks from the oven – slightly overdone, very soft in the middle and crispy on the outside. I ate a good half dozen chunks dragged through this sauce – what was left in the bottom of the pan – and oh. My. Next time I may forego the roasted sweet potato in favour of roasted squash – same effect of salty/citrusy over earthy and sweet. Yum.

Braised Coconut Chickpeas with Spinach & Lemon


October 22, 2012

Adapted from The Kitchn.


canola oil, for cooking

1 small onion, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. curry paste or powder (optional)

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (or a handful of grape tomatoes, halved)

zest of half a lemon, and juice of all of it

pinch red pepper flakes

1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained well

a big handful of chard or spinach, torn

1/2-1 14 oz (398 mL) can coconut milk

1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

roasted sweet potatoes

chopped fresh cilantro and toasted coconut, for garnish (optional)


1Wash the sweet potatoes and poke them a few times with a fork. Bake directly on the oven rack for 45 minutes to an hour, or until soft.

2In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft; add the garlic, ginger, curry paste or powder and chili powder and cook for another minute or two. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice and red chili flakes; cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

3Add the chickpeas and cook over high heat for a few minutes or until the chickpeas are beginning to turn golden and they are coated with the onion and garlic mixture. Add the chard or spinach and cook until it wilts; add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. Add the salt and cook until it's as thick or saucy as you like, adding more coconut milk as needed.

4Serve hot over split roasted sweet potatoes, with cilantro and toasted coconut sprinkled on top. Serves 4.


About Julie

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12 comments on “Braised Coconut Chickpeas with Spinach & Lemon

  1. sara
    October 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Oh yeah, this recipe is so delicious! I made the original version from the Kitchn a while back, and totally loved it. I’ll have to try your variation next time, sounds great! I definitely love the idea of serving curry over sweet potato rather than rice – healthier and so yummy.

  2. CathyH
    October 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Ok, am feeling very guilty whist watching the American debate ~ yawn ~ and eating Special k granola and reading this wonderful recipe. What is wrong with this picture??

  3. CathyH
    October 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    That would be whilst…

  4. Joanne
    October 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I am SO serving this to the vegetarian kids when they come over. Thanks Julie!

  5. Nicole Boyhouse
    October 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Now THIS is my kind of recipe! I just made a chickpea stirfry last night and I wish I had seen this yesterday!

  6. christine
    October 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

    My son’s GF is visiting and she is a vegetarian. I have not eaten meat for the days she is here and am enjoying the vegie world more than I thought I would. Thanks for this dinner idea, this looks just yummy!

  7. Lana
    October 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

    This is totally not the type of thing I would make but it looks SO GOOD. YUMMMMMMM. Perhaps a try for this weekend, just for me. 🙂

  8. Laurie from Burnaby
    October 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m definitely going to try this – I’ve got some sweet potatoes that I didn’t know what to do with. I’ll do this. 🙂

  9. Emily
    October 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Holy cow that was good! Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Laura
    October 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I love this kind of food. And chickpeas are so flexible, you can add whatever to them. Unfortunately one daughter wants them slightly over cooked and the other wants them less cooked, so lately they have been a not peaceful ingredient choice. Alas.

  11. Kristine
    October 29, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Thank you for this recipe! It was absolutely delicious.

  12. Lisa
    October 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Just made this for lunch! So delish!!! Had it on spaghetti squash instead of sweet potatoes. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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