A Quick, Cheap, Nutritious Meal: Chickpeas With Bacon Lardons in Spicy Tomato Sauce
This cheap and healthy lunch or dinner dish can be assembled in twenty minutes from ingredients stored in the cupboard.
Nutritionists advise that we substitute legumes for some of the red meat in our diets, and the recipe provides a delicious means of following the advice. If you prefer a vegetarian diet or want an even lower-fat alternative to the list of ingredients, Quorn (plant-based meat substitute) may be used instead of the lardons.
Passata is readily available on the supermarket shelves in cartons and in bottles. It 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, you can throw them into the pan direct 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.
Ingredients for three servings
- 400g can of chick peas
- 500 g passata or 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 150 g smoked bacon lardons or pancetta (available packaged in the supermarket chiller cabinet)
- 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or green)
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbspn olive oil
- Half a teaspoon of paprika
- Half a 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.
- Assemble the ingredients, and then chop the vegetables and garlic.
- Drain the chickpeas, rinse, and put to one side.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.
- Toss in the lardons, and cook on a moderate heat for one minute.
- Add the chopped onion and chopped pepper to the pan.
- 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.
- Add the garlic, passata, sugar, and paprika. Continue to cook for one minute.
- Add the chickpeas to the pan.
- Cook for a further five minutes until the chickpeas are heated.
- If necessary, thin the sauce with a little water.
- Add salt and pepper. Taste. Adjust seasoning to personal taste.
I sometimes use chili flakes instead of the paprika in this recipe.
- Boiled rice ( brown contains more nutrients and fibre)
- Baked potatoes
- Crusty bread
Nutritional content of chickpeas
An 80 g serving provides
- 1 of your 5 a day
- 97 calories
- 1.1 g fat
- 0.2 g saturates
- 0.4 g sugars
- 0.02 g salt
Nutritional content of bacon lardons
A 50 g serving provides on average
- 11.9 g fat
- 4.4 g saturates
- 0.0g sugars
- 1.18 g salt