Chickpeas are easy to grow, although unlike most legumes, they prefer cooler temperatures. We started our seeds, known as ceci in Italy where our seeds came from, in mid-November and started harvesting in March. The low-growing plants are first loaded with lots of little white flowers, each of which turns into an individual chickpea pod. The chickpeas are ready to pick when the pods feel full and hard, and it is not uncommon to find "twins" (two chickpeas to a pod) when the pods are opened. Now that the temperatures here in Houston are hitting the 80's during the day, the leaves are starting to yellow and the last pods will soon be ready for harvest.
With our fresh chickpeas, we prepared a dish with mixed grains and haloumi. The recipe is quite flexible, so feel free to change the grains or proportions as you like. We add lots of fresh parsley from the garden, another plant that overwintered in our garden and is now flowering profusely before it dies back. This recipe makes a filling meal for two, especially with the haloumi cheese on the side.
Fresh Chickpeas with Couscous, Grains and Haloumi
makes entree for two
1/2 cup fresh chickpeas, removed from pods
sea salt for cooking chickpeas
1/4 cup medium-grain couscous
1 1/4 cup vegetable stock, brought to a boil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa
1 Tbs barley flakes
1 Tbs oat flakes
1/3 cup Italian parsley, freshly picked and minced
1 package Haloumi, cut into 8 slices
- Heat pot of water, add 1 tsp sea salt and cook chickpeas until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, run under cool water to stop the cooking process, drain again and set aside.
- Heat fry pan to medium high and grill haloumi until golden brown. Flip and repeat. Remove from heat, then cube.
- Once vegetable stock is boiling, add couscous and 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste). Stir and then cover.
- After 10 minutes, fluff couscous with a fork. Mix in quinoa, barley and oats. Add in chickpeas.
- Serve in bowls topped with the minced parsley, and the grilled haloumi cubes on the side.
Other Haloumi Recipes from Vegetable Matter:
Spiced Pear, Date and Haloumi Flatbread
Grilled Eggplant, Haloumi and Arugula Sandwich
Boca Burger with Grilled Haloumi and Lemon
Other Fresh Chickpea Recipes from Vegetable Matter:
Pasta with Fresh Chickpeas and Basil Sauce
Fresh Chickpea, Bulgur and Mint Pilaf