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Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) in Spicy Tomato Sauce: A Quick, Cheap and Healthy Supper Recipe

After 40 years cooking for a family, Glenis recently adopted a flexitarian approach, adding more plant-based meals into the weekly diet.

Chickpeas with peppers in a tomato sauce

Chickpeas with peppers in a tomato sauce

Go-to Recipe for a Cheap, Quick and Healthy Meal Using Store Cupboard Ingredients

Here's my go-to recipe for a cheap and healthy meal that can be assembled in twenty minutes, using store cupboard ingredients with the addition of onions and bell peppers. It's based on chickpeas, which are a good source of cheap protein.

Nutritionists advise that we substitute beans and pulses for some of the red meat in our diets. What's more, plant foods do not have the adverse effects on the environment that are caused by animals that graze. This recipe is a tasty way to follow current advice on both nutrition and sustainability.

Passata is available on the supermarket shelves in cartons and in bottles (it is simply unadulterated tomatoes that have been sieved). But if you have only cans of chopped tomatoes in the cupboard, that's fine. 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. You might want to add a little water and perhaps a little tomato puree to create a more liquid sauce. Tomatoes are quite acidic—adding a pinch of sugar to recipes makes them less sharp to the taste buds.

Taste and re-taste the dish as cooking progresses, and make the necessary adjustments to suit your palate. Leave out the bacon lardons if you prefer a vegetarian meal.




  • 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 cooking oil of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika or chilli flakes, according to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 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.
  • This recipe makes 3 servings.

The British Love of Rapeseed Oil

Smoked bacon lardons

Smoked bacon lardons


  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 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 on Recipe for 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

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

How to Cook Dried Chickpeas

Soak in cold water for 12 hours, drain, and fresh water to a pan and boil for approximately 1 hour.

Soak in cold water for 12 hours, drain, and fresh water to a pan and boil for approximately 1 hour.

© 2017 Glen Rix