Antidote to a Spring Storm

Mediterranean Chickpea Stew

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

It’s April and spring is “in the air,” however on days like this one it means torrential rain and wind. I suggest this comfort-food antidote – Mediterranean Chickpea Stew.

The ingredients that wrap flavor around the chickpeas will whisk you to a sunnier Mediterranean land – fresh rosemary, garlic, tomatoes and meaty dried figs whose sweetness is offset by piquant capers and feta cheese.

Dried beans and peas are celebrated these days as a source of plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.  This recipe is an excellent source of fiber and serves up a good portion of calcium, iron and potassium.

Don’t wait for a storm –  this stew is perfect for Meatless Monday. Toss it with a chunky pasta – cooked penne, farfalle or fusilli for a heartier meal. Pair it with grilled chicken or lean Italian sausages if meat is a must.

I created this recipe for the Valley Fig Growers Fig Focus Newsletter where you’ll find my how-to photos.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Mediterranean Chickpea Stew

Like most good stews, this one tastes even better on day 2 and can be frozen for convenience.

Serves 6 to 8 (makes about 8 cups).

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ cups chopped yellow or red onion

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

Pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes

2 cans (about 15-ounces each) chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again (3 ½ cups)

1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

1 package (7-ounce) Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and chopped

2 tablespoons drained capers

4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach, kale, arugula, stems removed

Salt and pepper, as desired

½ to 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Crusty whole grain bread, optional


  1. Swirl oil into a large deep skillet with lid. Place over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, till onion is very soft. Add garlic, rosemary and red pepper; stir for a few seconds, till fragrant. Add chickpeas, tomatoes with liquid, broth and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Stir in Figs and capers; cover and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add greens, remove from heat and stir until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, as needed.
  2. To serve, spoon into wide shallow bowls. Top with feta. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.

© Lorelle Del Matto 2017

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


  1. Marilyn Anderson says

    Was going to try this stew as presented on the Valley Fig Growers site but there were no can sizes so I looked it up on your site. Found the can sizes in this recipe
    but now not sure about the amount of greens. “4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach, kale, arugula, stems removed” Four cups each of uncooked greens or a total of 4 cups assorted greens?

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