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Garden Vegetable Sauce with Chickpeas

Nov 12, 2014 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

This is a great vegetarian dish that’s hearty and surprisingly packed with flavor without the use of many seasonings. The prep work is the most intensive for this dish compared to the others, but it helps create the base of this relatively simple sauce. Be sure to use a sharp knife when cutting the onions in order to minimize any crushing as much as possible. The act of crushing triggers an enzyme in the onion that releases a gas. This gas, when combined with water such as the water in your eyeball, creates an acid. Ouch. Apparently, my trusty Shun knife needs to be sharpened because I was crying worse than when I made this week’s Thai-Style Chicken Soup (I just so happened to order a sharpener the other day). Fortunately for my tummy and this column my food motivation is stronger than my dislike for cutting onions. You can find everything you need at Whole Foods or your local grocery store. I made two batches of noodles for this dish, one with gluten-free noodles and one with the Ditaloni noodles pictured.

Ingredients – Makes 6 cups
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, and halved lengthwise, and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas (8 ounces), pick over and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 zucchini (8 ounces), quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tomatoes (12 ounces), cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces baby spinach (6 cups)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce), plus extra for serving
  • Salt and pepper


1. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 cup broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir water, chickpeas, remaining cup broth, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chickpeas are tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

3. Stir in zucchini, cover, and cook on high until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in tomatoes and spinach and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan. Before serving, season with salt, pepper, additional extra-virgin olive oil, and additional Parmesan to taste.

Adapted from: “Garden Vegetable Sauce with Chickpeas.” Slow Cooker Revolution. Boston Common Press Limited Partnership. 2011. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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