Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas

Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas

If you follow my site, and if not, you can check the right sidebar for all the options, you know I made up a mess of Chickpeas in the Instant Pot a while back. And while those Chickpeas are pretty amazing (they’re cooked with aromatics and herbs) I wanted to make something with them. Something quick, easy, and healthy. And here it is, Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas. Oh, yeah, it has Kale, too.

Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas

Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas


I came across the recipe in Food & Wine and just HAD to have it!! It looked amazing. Of course, first I had to figure out what Pomodoro sauce was! The word stirred some kind of vague memory and I could tell from the photo it was tomato-based. And so it is, kind of a thicker, usually longer simmered Marinara. No worries, though, this recipe is still very quick. Like under 30 minutes quick. Not counting the chickpeas, of course, which can really be the Instant Pot Chickpeas or Braised Chickpeas or from a can.

About Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas:

I think this is going to be one of my favorite mostly pantry meals. I know, maybe the words chickpeas, kale and pantry don’t do it for you! I get it, but trust me on this one! It kind of blew my mind.

I loved the spice, I loved that the soft chickpeas were deliciously coated with the sauce clinging to them, and how the kale, cooked beautifully, added a kind of a fresh herbiness. And I love that it’s a healthy version of Italian, all quick and easy. And did I mention inexpensive? So there ya go. Quick, Easy, Healthy & Cheap!

I don’t make a lot of Italian food, especially carby noodles drenched in sauce. And maybe covered in cheese. And it’s not because I don’t love it, ‘coz I do. I can totally mow on that. It’s because I usually like to save my carbs for dessert! So I loved the chickpea option in this meal. I’m thinking, though if you want, spaghetti or linguine would be a great option for this dish, too. And hold on to your hat, I also have a Simple Instant Pot Spaghetti coming up. That’s more family-friendly, though.

There’s not too much family-friendly about Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas. especially if you have picky kids to serve. This recipe is made rich with olive oil (that’s the good kind of oil, so I don’t worry about it too much) and is spicy with a good dose of red pepper flakes. It’s not wimpy but it isn’t blow your head off spicy, either. I’d say know your audience and adjust accordingly. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away.

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Making Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas:

Although this recipe was short to start with, I shortcutted just a bit more, adding in a little tomato paste to help it thicken and add richness without a long simmer. And I changed up a few minor other things just adjusting to my taste. I did cut back on the kale just a bit, so it doesn’t overpower the recipe. I hope you love my version of it!

The biggest change is a slight alteration in the flavor profile. See absolutely love Michael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Rub and often sub it in any recipe that calls for fennel. The dried spice, not the plant. This spice rub has become a kitchen staple at my house, kind of a signature flavor. I use it everywhere I think it should be used and a few places it shouldn’t.  Don’t be afraid to mix up a little of that magic! And here’s a disclaimer – before I started making this spice rub and putting it on and in all kinds of things, I didn’t even think I liked fennel!

Storing and Reheating:

Keep your Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave (preferably) with a bit of water; it’s likely that the chickpeas will absorb a bit of the liquid and if you don’t add some water, the dish will be too dry.

This dish freezes extremely well; do make sure to put it in a heavy Ziploc-style bag to prevent freezer burn. Thaw overnight or simply microwave from a frozen state (again, adding a bit of water as needed.) This is an ideal recipe for portioning out for meal planning.

Michael Chiarello's Fennel Spice Rub

Michael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Rub

Saving Money on Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas:

Chickpeas are inexpensive when bought dried in the bag, and like any bean, you may find them on sale around or after a holiday known for serving ham, like Christmas, New Years, or Easter. If you have an Indian or Latin American market nearby, you’ll probably find much better prices, and because of a higher turnover, fresher dried chickpeas. I haven’t seen them at Aldi and have never checked for them at any of the buying clubs. And while the dried ones are pretty inexpensive you won’t break the bank if you go for canned.

Watch for any pantry items like canned tomatoes or tomato paste on sale and pick them up at a low – they’ll generally drop to a rock bottom once a quarter. There’s never a time when my pantry is out of these basics; I keep well stocked so I never have to pay full price.

I don’t know what to say about kale – it’s always a pricy item in my area. You might check farmer’s markets, or you might grow your own, but keep in mind that it IS a powerhouse of nutrients, and that makes it a good value, even if it isn’t a good price! Now that we can find it in large bags so often at the grocery, you’re only going to get the best bang for your buck if you don’t waste it. Freeze any excess in portion sizes. Check out my post: How to Freeze Kale the Right Way,

Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas

Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas


Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas

  • Author: mollie kirby adapted from Food & Wine
  • Total Time: 30 minutes + overnight soak
  • Yield: 5 to 6 cups 1x
  • Category: main dish


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and any juices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed (or an equal amount of Michael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Rub
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  •  salt to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 bunch kale, Tuscan if available, stemmed and cut into generous bite-sized pieces
  • 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (substitute about 3 cups of dried and cooked chickpeas)
  • thinly sliced basil and/or crushed marjoram leaves for garnish
  • finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino for garnish


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant 
but not browned, two to three minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until it begins to slightly darken, then the tomatoes, fennel seeds (or Michael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Rub) crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes break down a little, about 20 minutes.

Stir the kale into the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until heated through about 3 minutes. Sauce should be fairly thick. Simmer a bit longer if it needs to thicken or add a touch of water if it needs to be thinned. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with thinly sliced basil and/or crushed marjoram leaves. Top with finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino and serve hot.

Keywords: canned tomatoes, Chickpeas, Fennel Spice Rub, Instant Pot, Italian, Kale, Michael Chiarello, Tomatoes, Vegetarian Meal

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I’ll be sharing Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas at Fiesta Friday #279; the co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Angie of Fiesta Friday!

Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas are going to blow your mind! The easy, spicy Italian tomato sauce makes anything taste fantastic! You won't even know this quick meal is healthy! #SpicyChickpeas #SpicyChickpeas #SpicyPomodoroChickpeas

9 thoughts on “Spicy Pomodoro Chickpeas

    • FrugalHausfrau

      That’s a great idea, Liz, to give as gifts. I’ve been trying to get my sister to try this for years! I posted a recipe yesterday for a sausage dish that uses this spice mix, too! Funny thing is I’m not wild about Fennel but I am crazy about this rub. Who knew> lol!

  1. What a great find! I love that you added fennel seeds too! This would be a great side for so many dishes! Thank you for bringing your delicious chickpeas to the party! Happy Fiesta Friday, Mollie!

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