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Vegan Ethiopian Chickpeas

Full flavor meets finger food in this Ethiopian classic.

This traditional Ethiopian dish is usually served fire-engine spicy over the mouth-rescuing flatbread injera. Our recipe cools the spice down just a touch, though adding more cayenne will heat it right back up if you’re looking for an adventure. If your local grocery doesn’t carry teff flour, which is the base for injera, try serving this wonderful wat over thin, savory pancakes for the authentic eat-with-your-hands Ethiopian experience.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 16-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

What you do:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and potato, cover, and cook 10 minutes longer.
  2. Remove the cover and stir in the cayenne, paprika, ginger, salt, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, and tomato paste. Add the chickpeas and water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and the flavor is developed, about 30 minutes, adding a bit more water if needed. About 10 minutes before the stew is ready, stir in the green peas and taste to adjust seasonings.