Loaded Chickpea Baguette

You know how sometimes you go to a room to grab something and when you get there, you’ve totally forgotten what it was? Well this is the recipe equivalent of that. A while back, I had worked on this recipe for a few weeks, perfected it and it seems that it completely slipped from my consciousness. So recently, when Mia suggested that we make the recipe which inspired my own iteration of it, I went through a visceral series of flashbacks of testing this recipe 3-4 times. This queued a frantic search through my note book, phone and google drive for any sort of information trail I left about the recipe and I came up totally empty handed. However, this does not mean I started from scratch again, I had a pretty good recollection of what was in it. 

This recipe makes a wonderful weeknight dinner. It can be completed from start to finish in roughly a half hour and leaves lots of wonderful leftovers to extend the pleasure. One key ingredient in this recipe is store-bought tomato sauce. The sauce you use in your recipe will obviously have a tremendous impact on the quality of the end meal, so I would recommend getting some high quality sauce. My personal favourite is Rao’s tomato sauce, which can be found in most high-end grocery stores or even at Costco (where I buy it). 

Another ingredient called for in this recipe is harissa paste. A North African chili paste that packs a lot of heat. If you can’t find it, feel free to replace it with a spicy chili powder. Lastly, I use homemade chickpeas, but they can easily be replaced with canned chickpeas. I  hope this wonderful recipe finds its way into your kitchen soon!

Active time: 20 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients

Chickpeas

  • ½ lbs dried chickpeas (or two 14oz cans*)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt

Sauce

  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, sliced into thin semi-circle slices
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (recommend to use Rao’s)
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 150g feta
  • Baguette
  • Butter or olive oil
  • Basil, to top
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. If using homemade chickpeas, this step must be completed in advance. Cook chickpeas your preferred method with the paprika and the salt. I use my instant pot, combining the chickpeas, paprika, salt and 4 cups of water and cooking on high pressure for 38 minutes. Quick release the pressure after it has naturally pressure released for 10 minutes, set aside until meal time. 
  2. First we will prepare the chard. Cut off the very ends of the chard bunch. Begin to slide the stems into small bite size pieces. Once you reach the leaves, cut them into larger strips. Set aside. 
  3. Heat up a large heavy bottom pan and add in the olive oil. Once hot, add in the shallots and a pinch of salt. After about 2-3 minutes when the shallots begin to be fragrant add in the chard, garlic, fresh thyme and another generous pinch of salt. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes until the chard begins to soften. 
  4. Next add in the tomato sauce, harissa paste, smoked paprika and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high until it begins to simmer. Add in the feta and stir in to integrate. Now, carefully taste for salt levels and adjust. It’s hard to give a quantity as it depends on your tomato sauce but don’t be shy with the salt. Turn the heat off and put the lid back on. 
  5. Turn the oven on to broil high. Slice your baguette into lengths of about 5-6 inches and then slice in half. Butter both sides and place on a baking sheet buttered sides up. Place into the oven and toast. Be careful, the bread will burn quickly. 
  6. Once toasted remove from the oven and top with heaping amounts of the chickpea mixture. Top with some basil torn up with your hands and eat immediately either with your hands if you can or with a fork and a knife. Enjoy! 

*Note: If using canned chickpeas, add in an extra tsp of smoked paprika in step 4. You may also need to salt more if using canned chickpeas.

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