Two C^4 Ottolenghi recipes with chickpeas, chard, caraway, and cilantro

September 12, 2015 at 10:04 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Monthly menu plan, Ottolenghi, Spring recipes) ()

I got Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook from Derek’s father a few weeks ago, and Derek looked through it and chose a recipe for a swiss chard, chickpea and tamarind stew. The stew is seasoned with caraway seeds, cilantro, and yogurt among other things. But then when I went to make it I looked it up in the index and found a different recipe— also a chickpea and chard sauté, which is seasoned with caraway seeds, cilantro, and yogurt, among other things. We stuck with the tamarind stew, but then made the sauté a few days later.

The chickpea sauté is a relatively quick and simple dish. Ottolenghi says that it can also be made with a mix of spinach and arugula, and a sprinkle of sumac.


  • 3/4 lb (8 cups) Swiss chard
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil + extra to drizzle over the yogurt (original recipe calls for 1/3 cup oil plus extra to drizzle)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch dice
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Tbs. chopped mint (we use much more)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped cilantro (we use much more)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)


  1. Separate the chard stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then drain everything. Refresh under cold running water and squeeze dry, then chop roughly.
  2. Heat up the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the chard and chickpeas and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Now add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool down a little. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. To serve, mix together the yogurt, 1 Tbs. olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables on serving dishes and spoon the yogurt on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle over more olive oil.

My notes:

I really enjoyed this dish. It’s pretty simple tasting, but I loved the combination of beans and greens with caraway and mint and cilantro. I actually preferred it without the yogurt though, which would make it vegan as well.

I forgot that I needed carrots for this dish and ate all my carrots as a pre-dinner snack. Whoops! The dish was still good without them, but the carrots add a bit of color and texture. We didn’t have Greek yogurt, so used regular yogurt.

Derek didn’t like this dish as much as the one with tamarind, but I much preferred it. It’s relatively simple but somehow the ingredients just came together wonderfully.

I had it a second time when my mom made it for us for dinner. But instead of boiling the chard she steamed it. It tasted great, so that’s another option. Probably pan-sauteeing would also work just fine, and would save a pan.

Update March 4, 2020: I made this dish for dinner tonight, except my chard was pretty heavy on the stems and light on leaves. And I barely had any mint or cilantro to add. The dish was just a tad boring I thought.  The yogurt helped. Alma (at age 5) ate the dish for a few minutes then got two caraway seeds stuck between her teeth and refused to eat any more.

Update June 12, 2019: I made this dish (the plain saute one, without tamarind) for dinner tonight, except I was out of mint and just used a little bit of cilantro I had pre-chopped and frozen. I peeled my carrots because they were old and the skins were quite bitter. The dish was quite good, even without all the herbs. Even Alma (at almost 4.5 years) liked it (and last time I made it she wouldn’t touch it). She didn’t like the carrots though, claiming they were “overcooked.” She picked them all out and gave them to me, then asked for some extra chard. (I had left some chard and chickpeas plain in case she didn’t like the recipe.) I served the dish with buckwheat spiral noodles, and the flavors of the buckwheat, chard, and caraway seeds went really well together. Even with the addition of the noodles, we still didn’t end up with any leftovers.

I didn’t serve the dish with yogurt this time. I think I prefer it vegan.

The chickpea, chard, tomato, tamarind stew

I don’t have time to fully blog the tamarind stew right now, but the process is similar. The major difference is the addition of liquidy ingredients—canned tomatoes with their juice, tamarind paste and water. You blanch the chard, saute onion and caraway seeds then add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, ground coriander, blanched chard, salt and pepper, and tamarind paste.  The whole thing simmers for 30 minutes, until it has the consistency of a thick soup. The stew is served over white rice with yogurt and cilantro and lemon juice on top.

I didn’t love the combination of the tart tamarind and the tomato base, but it was okay. Derek also didn’t love it, but said that he found it unusual and interesting. He ate all the leftovers.


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