A Stewy, Cozy Pan of Chickpeas for Cooler Evenings (& Your Ripest Tomatoes)

August 25, 2016

While flipping through Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s I Love New York, a great source for ingredient-inspired recipes, I came across a photo of a warm panzanella, which looked more like a soup than a salad: stewy tomatoes bobbing in an orange-tinged, oil-slicked broth punctuated by golden cubes of bread and capers.

As inviting as a steaming pot of mussels or a bowl of pho, this warm salad had me instantly longing for fall, for breezy mornings, for crisp, cool evenings. And had I not just cooked a pot of chickpeas, I would have followed the recipe as written, but a legume-for-bread substitution worked beautifully, and the addition of feta made it feel hearty.

The star here is not the chickpeas or the toasted bread (or whatever starch you choose to use), but the beefy tomatoes breaking down, releasing juices, melding with the garlic-infused olive oil and a healthy splash of vinegar. This time of year, good tomatoes—with taut, near-bursting skins—make improvising easy: With cooked beans or grains on hand, this comes together very quickly, the result not a simmered-all-day flavor but a welcomed balance of cooked and fresh.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

Vary the composition of this dish as you wish, but keep in mind a few things:

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Use the juiciest tomatoes you can find, and don’t be afraid to put to use any past-prime tomatoes. That said, a handful of colorful teardrop tomatoes will add a nice contrast in shape and texture.

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Top Comment:
“have a bowl of freshly cooked chickpeas in my fridge to use in so many different dishes. I certainly will try your recipe - I am sure I will like it, too. :) ”
— Carina S.

Feta is optional but offers a nice richness. Be sure to add it at the very end, and keep it in big chunks to prevent it from disintegrating. Shaved Parmesan or teensy balls of mozzarella would be nice here, too.

Warm bread on the side is a must, and olive-oil toasted bread is particularly good: While the chickpeas are stewing, heat another sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a few tablespoons of oil, then toss in a few slices of bread. Toast on both sides until evenly golden with charred edges.

Alexandra Stafford is a writer, photographer, and occasional stationery designer based in upstate New York, where she is writing a cookbook. You can read more of her work on her blog.

What are the recipes you make at the end of summer, when September's cool mornings are all you can think about? Tell us in the comments.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • kale
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    Carina Sebastine
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I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.


kale August 31, 2016
Love the bowls! Any chance you know where I could buy them?
Alexandra S. August 31, 2016
They're super old soup bowls from IKEA—they probably still sell something similar. They're shallow, which I like.
Karen R. August 30, 2016
Uhh...where is the recipe? Or is it in the book?
Alexandra S. August 30, 2016
So sorry for the confusion here! Here's a link:
Karen R. August 30, 2016
Thank you - look delicious!!
Alexandra S. August 30, 2016
Maria August 30, 2016
How much vinager is to be used
Alexandra S. August 30, 2016
Hi Maria! Here's a link to the recipe that has all of the measurements: It's 3 tablespoons
Maria August 30, 2016
Gracias will make for dinner tonight can't wait - Thank you
Alexandra S. August 30, 2016
Sure thing!
Carina S. August 26, 2016
absolutely love chickpeas - I will always! have a bowl of freshly cooked chickpeas in my fridge to use in so many different dishes. I certainly will try your recipe - I am sure I will like it, too. :)
Alexandra S. August 26, 2016
Hope you like it, Carina!
anotherfoodieblogger August 26, 2016
I just love, love, love this recipe! I'll be making it soon. Here in the PNW my tomatoes are only just starting to ripen as we had a late summer, but looks like a great fall dish for when we have to harvest them all at once due to an early freeze (which always seems to happen, lol!)
Alexandra S. August 26, 2016
our tomatoes are mostly green, too, but the cherry tomatoes that have ripened are so good, which is making me excited for a hopefully big fall harvest. Hope your harvest goes well, too!
Sarah August 25, 2016
just made this, subbing anchovies for the capers I was out of. delicious and came together so quickly!
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
Yay! Makes me so happy. I was thinking anchovies would be a nice addition here—making it almost like a puttanesca.
Lindsay-Jean H. August 25, 2016
Yum! Can't wait to make this (as I cling to summer's warmth and ignore approaching cooler weather for as long as possible).
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
Haha, I love it! I know, we're already feeling the chill up here — I've been wearing sweaters in the morning — and I'm not sure how I truly feel about it ... winter is sooooo long here. But warm chickpeas will help me through it!
Hannah W. August 25, 2016
Bookmarking this to eat all Fall. Thank you, Alexandra!!
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
Yay! So great to hear this, Hannah!
Barbara C. August 25, 2016
Could I use cannellini beans instead? I'm just not a fan of chick peas....
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
Yes! Would be so good!
Kerry August 25, 2016
This looks incredible! My toddler daughter is a nut for chickpeas and tomatoes. I may give it a try with canned chickpeas for a quick weeknight dish. Thank you!
Alexandra S. August 25, 2016
So funny, my 18-month old, LOVES chickpeas, too. My older ones won't touch it (so annoying!!), but the youngest can't get enough. I hope your daughter approves!