Is it just me, or has grocery shopping during the coronavirus quarantine gotten crazier still. I understood the rush to stock up on toilet paper and I even loaded up on pasta and sauce for some anticipated comfort food meals. But lately I can't even find dried beans!
Dried Beans- the best value
All of a sudden there is actual competition for the shelf-stable pantry items that used to be all mine. Rows of shelving that once held bags of dried pinto, great northern, and black beans all empty. There wasn't a bag of green and red lentils to be had. Last week the only legume left was four bags of garbanzo beans. Lucky for me, garbanzos were exactly what I wanted. I slipped two of the bags into my cart and left the remaining bags for the next guy. At $1.50 a piece, those two bags will be the best value of my shopping trip.
Some people call them chickpeas, but whether you call them garbanzos or chickpeas, they are one of the most versatile and interesting legumes to cook. They can lend texture to a salad or Sesame Garbanzo Pitas or can be blended for hummus. One of the most popular recipes in my recent Mediterranean cooking class was garbanzos roasted in olive oil (braised) with olives, capers and lemons. Greens stirred in during the end of the cooking process rounded out this dish.
This recipe calls for two cans of garbanzo beans, but if you are trying to eat more legumes cook up a big batch of dried beans. A one pound bag of dried garbanzos will provide about 6 cups of cooked beans or the equivalent of 4 (15 ounce) cans. Use half of the beans and freeze the rest.
Cooking Dry Garbanzo Beans
If you're preparing dry garbanzos, you have a few options: stove top, slow cooker or pressure cooker (Instant Pot). For this recipe, I prefer soaking the beans overnight and cooking them for 1 hour on the stove top. The Instant Pot beats up the beans more than I like, but hey - sometimes you forget to soak them ahead of time. If so, just put the un-soaked beans in the Instant Pot and cook for 50 minutes on high pressure and a natural release after 15 minutes.
Braised Garbanzo Beans with Lemon
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for cooking onions
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
- ¼ cup capers drained
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ fresh lemon
- 4 cups baby greens , (kale, chard and/or spinach)
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until onion softens and becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
- In a medium-sized oven-safe baking dish stir together remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, cooked onions, garbanzo beans, capers, olives, thyme and red pepper flakes.
- Thinly slice lemon, then cut each slice into quarters. Remove seeds and then tuck lemon pieces into the garbanzos. Cover tightly with foil or lid and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and add trimmed greens, tossing until they are coated in oil. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes or until greens have wilted.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve over polenta or with crusty bread.