Cheesey Baked Chickpeas with Basil

There is no time I like cooking more than on a Sunday. Ideally when the family are over, the kitchen is filled with chatter and spirits are high. Its somewhat a catalyst for my creativity. I love the process of it, even the mess that comes with it. There is lot of love that goes into my cooking and its only worth doing when I get to share creations with my favourite (and harshest) critics

Tess Ward, Spicy Baked Chickpeas with Basil, recipe, how to, italian,dish, roast, cooking, easy, simple

This is a recipe I made to take to a ‘bring a dish’ Sunday lunch to other week. Among the roast beef, crispy potatoes and shredded salads it caused quite a stir. The key to it is getting freshly cooked chickpeas, or the fancy sort you can buy in jars. These giant chickpeas are a lot more tender and have far better flavour than the canned variety. Sure they are a little more expensive, but in a dish so simple they are certainly worth it.

Although you can make this ahead, as I did, this is a dish definitely at its best served hot from the oven when the cheese is melty

For anyone vegan, you can swap the regular mozzarella for a vegan variety.I made one with regular and one vegan and have to say the vegan one was really delicious. For anyone wondering, I used a brand called Bute Island Foods.

Tess Ward, Spicy Baked Chickpeas with Basil, recipe, how to, italian,dish, roast, cooking, easy, simple

Spicy Baked Chickpeas with Basil

Serves 4 – Fills one 14-inch round pie dish

  • 800g cooked and drained chickpeas, ideally from a jar
  • 800g (x2 tins) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 4 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs de provence
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 4 heaped tablespoons sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • a large handful basil leaves
  • 2 balls mozzarella, or 1 1/2 cups grated vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 375 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas with the grated garlic, herbs de provence, chilli, tomato puree and  tin of chopped tomatoes. Add 3/4 the basil leaves and half the grated cheese and toss once more.

Turn out the mixture into a ceramic dish. Top with the remaining cheese and drizzle over the olive oil, then place in the oven to cook for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbling. Serve hot, scattered with the remaining basil leaves.

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