A Quick, Cheap, and Nutritious Meal: Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Updated on January 30, 2019
Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis has been chief cook and bottlewasher in her home for over forty years. Nowadays she prefers to cook food which is quick and healthy


This cheap and healthy lunch or dinner can be assembled in twenty minutes from cupboard ingredients.

Nutritionists advise that we substitute legumes for some of the red meat in our diets. Chickpeas are a cheap source of protein, dietary fibre and various minerals and vitamins. Another good reason to include chickpeas regularly in the diet is that crop sources of protein are a more effective and environmentally sustainable use of farmland than meat produced by grazing animals. This this recipe provides a delicious means of following current advice on both nutrition and sustainability.

Leave out the lardons if you prefer a vegetarian meal.

Passata is readily available on the supermarket shelves in cartons and in bottles (this is simply unadulterated tomatoes that have been sieved to make a thick liquid). But if you have only cans of chopped tomatoes in the cupboard, that's fine, as well. You can throw them into the pan directly from the can, or you can quickly whizz them in the blender (but that, of course, makes more washing up). If you decide not to blend chopped tomatoes, then the texture of the final product will be similar to a stew. At this point, you can add water and a little tomato puree to create a more liquid sauce. Tomatoes are a little acidic, and adding a pinch of sugar to them makes them less sharp to the taste buds.

As all good cooks do, taste and re-taste the dish as cooking progresses, and make the necessary adjustments to suit your palate.

Always in my kitchen!
Always in my kitchen! | Source

Ingredients for three servings

  • 1 (400-gram) can chickpeas
  • 500 grams passata (or one 400-gram can chopped tomatoes)
  • Optional: 150 grams smoked bacon lardons or pancetta (available in the supermarket chiller cabinet)
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or green)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Note: I rarely weigh or measure ingredients except when baking. The quantities given above are a guideline and can be varied according to your own particular taste.

Smoked bacon lardons
Smoked bacon lardons | Source


  1. Assemble the ingredients, and then chop the vegetables and garlic.
  2. Drain the chickpeas, rinse, and put to one side.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.
  4. Toss in the lardons, and cook on a moderate heat for one minute.
  5. Add the chopped onion and chopped pepper to the pan.
  6. Continue to cook over a moderate heat, stirring to prevent sticking, until the lardons are crispy and the onions are starting to caramelize. This should take about five minutes.
  7. Add the garlic, passata, sugar, and paprika. Continue to cook for one minute.
  8. Add the chickpeas to the pan.
  9. Cook for a further five minutes until the chickpeas are heated.
  10. If necessary, thin the sauce with a little water.
  11. Add salt and pepper. Taste. Adjust seasoning to personal taste.

Variations of Chickpeas with Spicy Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • Use chili flakes instead of the paprika in this recipe.
  • Substitute the bacon lardons with slices of chorizo sausage
  • Go vegetarian and omit the meat component from the recipe
  • Substitute cubed Quorn or soya protein for the meat.

Serving Suggestions

  • Boiled rice ( brown contains more nutrients and fibre)
  • Baked potatoes
  • Crusty bread
  • Wholegrain pasta shells or spirals

Recipe rating

5 stars for Chickpeas with lardons in spicy tomato sauce

Nutritional content of chickpeas

100 grams of raw chickpeas contain:

  • 20.7 grams protein
  • 12.2 grams fibre
  • 378 calories
  • 0.6 grams saturated fatty acids

Source: USDA Food Composition Databases

Chickpeas vitamin B-6, magnesium, vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, choline, selenium, and high levels of iron.

Nutritional content of bacon lardons

A 50-gram serving provides on average:

  • 136 kcal
  • 11.9 grams fat
  • 4.4 grams saturates
  • 0.0 grams sugars
  • 1.18 grams salt

© 2017 GlenR


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