A hearty and bright vegetarian dinner.
I originally came across this recipe for Tomato, Kale and Chickpea Stew two years ago, when Food + Wine magazine included it in their Top 40 recipes of all time, under a different name. That qualification alone, plus the fact that the recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs, Missy Robbins, was good enough for me! I made it that night, and have made it countless times since.
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Recipe Notes: Tomato, Kale and Chickpea Stew
I love many things about this tomato, kale and chickpea stew recipe. For one, it is a one-pot, dump-and-stir wonder that cooks in about 30 minutes. Secondly, it has incredible flavor and texture.
Kale can be a tough green — tough in texture, tough in flavor. But cooking them down in a tomato sauce makes the kale soft and flavorful. Chickpeas, in addition to being highly nutritious, provide real substance and bulk. Adding chickpeas transforms this dish from something like a sauce or tomato soup into a hearty and filling stew.
And a word about the tomato sauce. This is no boring, watery marinara. Here, crushed tomatoes take a really bold, bright turn with a generous hit of crushed red pepper flakes. The addition of fennel seed adds depth of flavor reminiscent of good Italian sausage.
Stew Serving Suggestion: Creamy Parmesan Polenta
This recipe tastes delicious on its own. But I suggest serving it over a batch of creamy parmesan polenta to make it next-level delicious. Polenta is one of those creamy, purely satisfying dishes that tastes like a hug feels. Great on its own, or as a base or side to pretty much anything from roasts to sauces.
Did you make this recipe? What did you think?
Tomato, Kale and Chickpea Stew
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- kosher salt
- 1 bunch Tuscan or lacinato (flat-leaf) kale, sliced into thin ribbons
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Torn basil and marjoram leaves, to garnish
- grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, to serve
- Crush the tomatoes by hand, or by inserting kitchen scissors into the open can and chop, chop, chopping.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, until fragrant. Do not brown.
- Add the tomatoes, fennel seed, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt (I'd say about 1/2 teaspoon). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down an the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. This is a good time to make your polenta, if you'd like.
- Add the kale and cook until it wilts, about 3 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas. Stir and simmer together with another generous pinch of salt, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with torn basil or fresh marjoram, and Pecorino-Romano cheese.