Spicy Chickpea Stew

Spicy Chickpea Stew

Spicy Chickpea Stew is what I call summertime stew.

Which may sound like an oxymoron. Stews aren’t the first thing you think about when planning a summer menu. Stews are usually associated with wintertime. They often have long cooking times that fill the house with warm, earthy aromas. Once June rolls around “warm, earthy aromas” are the very thing I’m trying to avoid. That’s why I gave up polyester. If you know what I mean.

Besides, when summer rolls around at my house, there’s hardly anybody inside long enough to enjoy any sort of aromas. We’re all too busy outside– smelling the roses.

Spicy Chickpea Stew 

Still. Spicy Chickpea Stew. Don’t I mean soup? Summer soups are far more accepted than summer stews. Soup is a wonderful vehicle for the best of the summer vegetables and fruits. Sweet corn, watermelon, avocado, melon, and of course tomato come to mind. Summer soups are obviously seasonal because they’re often chilled. That’s how you know they’re summer soups.

This Spicy Chickpea Stew is less obvious. But it has plenty of attributes that make it perfectly seasonal summer fare.

First, it comes together in less than 30 minutes. So there’s none of that standing over a hot stove stuff that makes cooking stew a joy in the winter but a “hot mess” in the summer. It’s also an example of a “one-pot-wonder”. Not only do I not want to get too hot and bothered with summer cooking– but doing dishes is a waste of my time. We all know about the fleeting nature of summer’s charms.

Both of these are sensible reasons to adopt the concept of summer stew. However, the main reason I consider this Spicy Chickpea Stew a warm weather wonder is because of the spice. The spiced up Asian flavors suit the warm weather. I’m a firm believer in the idea that spicy foods act as nature’s air-conditioner (from the inside out). Still. I advise you avoid polyester and its inevitable earthy aromas. Spicy Chickpea Stew will only cool you down so far. GREG


Spicy Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Source Adapted from Cathal ArmstrongPublished
Chickpea Stew


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup peeled pearl onions (pearl onions larger than 1‑inch may need to be halved)
  • 1 red bell pepper (cut into 1‑inch chunks)
  • 3 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoon sambal oelek (or to taste)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 2 cup thinly sliced summer squash
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • thin slices thai bird chili (optional) to taste
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • whole cilantro sprigs (as garnish)
  • toasted bread (for serving)


Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, gently stirring often, until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the onions to a medium bowl. Add the bell peppers the the Dutch oven and repeat the process, moving them to the same bowl as the onions once browned. 

Leaving the oil in the pot add the garlic, ginger, and sambal oelek. Cook, stirring, until the mixture darkens, about 1 minute. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer. Add the chickpeas, sliced squash, browned onions, browned bell pepper, and coconut milk. Cover and simmer until the flavors come together, about 8 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring gently, until the soup is hot enough for serving, but don’t bring it to a boil. Stir in the minced cilantro, lemon juice, thai bird peppers (if using), and a pinch each salt and pepper. Garnish the stew with whole cilantro and serve with toasted bread.