Thursday, November 29, 2012

back-of-bag recipes

I love trying non-nonsense, back-of--bag recipes.
Many foods feature back-of-bag [or box, can or jar] recipes. I am a sucker for these homey concoctions. Unpretentious and unassuming, they can usually be made with pantry staples. Their simplicity and straightforwardness is refreshing, especially when contrasted with the tiresome proliferation of high-falutin', "fancy-pantry" recipes crowding the Internet these days. Plus, they are nostalgic. Cooking a meal inspired by the back of a bag seems like something my mom would have done when I was a kid during the 1970s. And referencing a bag of beans instead of a cookbook or a blog is a fun diversion.

The other day, I was cooking up some dried garbanzos and noticed a recipe for "Chick Peas, Spanish Style" on the back of a bag of La Cena dried garbanzos. The flavors sounded intriguing, and I happened to have some Helen's Vegan Chorizo and the other ingredients in the 'fridge. It turned out to be even tastier than I imagined.

This makes a hearty, slightly spicy side dish, but serve it over brown rice and you have yourself a meal. See my modification commentary in brackets. Motto of the post: never underestimate the yumminess of back-of-bag recipes.

Spanish-Style Chickpeas [modified from the La Cena recipe]

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, cooked until tender [Or about 2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained]
  • 1 T olive oil [La Cena called for 1/2 cup – too much even for me!]
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped [Bag says green but any color is fine]
  • 5 garlic cloves [Bag says 2, but that's not enough for me]
  • 1 link vegan chorizo, or about 1 cup, chopped or crumbled [Veganized, obviously]
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste [Optional]

Serves 6

Cook your chickpeas according to package directions or your preferences. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Saute onion, pepper and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chorizo and stir to coat, cooking for about 5 more minutes.

Add tomato sauce and cooked chick peas. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.

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Joey said...

That recipe has just got all kinds of goodness going on. I used to cook from the back of bag recipes when I was a student (this was when the internet was still a relatively new phenomenon) - you've made me feel all nostalgic! Not sure I remember anything this good from back then though...

Carrie™ said...

For some odd reason, I very seldom ever make recipes from the backs of packages. It would make sense - I'm at the store buying beans or whatever, just pick up everything else and dinner is done. Perhaps your posts will inspire me to start trying some back-of-bag recipes.
This one sounds simple, and good! Chickpeas rock! And meals like this in the wintertime are always warming and so comforting. I was reading the recipe thinking...I'm never going to find vegan chorizo around here. I clicked on the link in your post for Helen's and lo and behold, they sell it at Fortino's in Burlington! That's where I shop most of the time. How have I not seen this?? I'm gonna check it out.

Mel said...

I love the sound of this recipe, chickpeas and chorizo sound like they would work really well together! Back of bag recipes always catch my eye but I haven't tried many recently. When I bought a Tofu Xpress it came with a small recipe booklet, I've only tried one of them but it was so delicious it's been repeated a few times since.