When one hears the term slow cooker, thoughts of chili, pulled pork, stews and soups usually come to mind. Major yum. Not so healthy. So several weeks ago, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to cook something completely healthy in my slow cooker. This recipe for Braised Chickpeas with Spinach Salad is what I came up with. Dried chickpeas are soaked overnight then cooked in a flavorful bath of homemade vegetable stock, carrot, onion, celery and bay. Finished with fire-roasted tomatoes, salt, and pepper, these slow-cooked chickpeas are tender, buttery and oh so delicious. The depth of flavor really is craveworthy. A spinach salad dressed in a red wine vinaigrette is a fresh counter to the rich, bold chickpeas. I enjoyed this dish several times for dinner. No meat required.
Before we get to the recipe and giveaway, I want to mention two tips that will help you make this dish as tasty as possible. First, be sure to use homemade stock or a high-quality store-bought stock. The chickpeas will be braising for 8 hours in this liquid, so you want to make sure it’s top notch. Second, do not use canned chickpeas here. Starting with dried chickpeas allows you to really infuse them mouth-watering flavor. Continue reading for the recipe plus a slow cooker giveaway.
Here’s your chance to win a 6-Court Stainless Steel Slow Cooker.
This slow cooker giveaway is sponsored by SlimKicker, a new app that turns your diet/fitness goals into a level-up game. You get points for tracking healthy calories, tracking your workouts, and completing challenges. They have many health challenges you can participate in such as quitting soda for a week, or eating like a caveman for a week. It’s a great way to stay accountable and motivated. You can sign up for their online website, or download their iPhone app. I personally love any app that makes a game out of real life 🙂
I’m giving you several ways to enter to win:
1. Share your favorite slow cooker recipe in the comments below.
2. Follow Kitchen Konfidence on Twitter and tweet this:
I just entered to win a 6-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in the @k_konfidence @SlimKicker Giveaway http://bit.ly/JlL8XP
3. Get extra entries by doing any or all of the follow [leave a separate comment for each]:
- Like Kitchen Konfidence on Facebook.
- Like SlimKicker on Facebook.
- Subscribe to the Kitchen Konfidence Recipe Digest.
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I will be collecting entries until 11:59pm on May 25, 2012. Winners will be selected at random and announced shortly after. For US residents only. Good luck! Continue on for the recipe.
Braised Chickpeas with Spinach Salad
For the braised chickpeas:
- 2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
For the spinach salad:
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups baby spinach
Add dried chickpeas to a large bowl then add water, covering by 2 inches (they expand a good amount). Let soak overnight then drain well.
Warm olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bay, stirring to coat in the oil. Cook until the vegetables are soft, but not brown (6 - 7 minutes). Stir in vegetable stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift any brown bits. Transfer mixture to a slow cooker. Add chickpeas, stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, several turns of black pepper, and the tomatoes, cover and cook for an additional 2 hours. The chickpeas should be tender, but not mushy. Season to taste with additional kosher salt and black pepper.
Remove and discard bay leaves. Scoop chickpeas from the slow cooker using a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Reserve the braising liquid.
While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Add red onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper to a mason jar, shaking to combine. Add extra-virgin olive oil and shake again until the vinaigrette emulsifies (oil and vinegar mix together). Just before you are about to serve, toss baby spinach with vinaigrette.
To serve, spoon chickpeas on to a large, dinner plate. Top with a little braising liquid to moisten. Place spinach salad on the side.