Garden fresh sweet & spicy chickpea stir fry (vegetarian-friendly!)

There’s nothing that brings people together like a warm, homemade meal enjoyed in the comfort of someone’s home.

When Chris and I were first getting serious as a couple, we decided to scratch our usual “dinner and a movie” routine and head to my kitchen for a unique date night. We spent hours flipping through the dozens of thrift cookbooks stashed in my tiny apartment, finally settling on a shrimp and veggie stir fry with tons of ingredients we didn’t have on hand. After taking a long trip down the aisles of a local grocery store and spending way more than we could afford at the time on the veggies, spices, and seafood that were required to make the dish, we worked up such an appetite that we ate the entire meal in one sitting. Sure, that may not sound like a big deal, but the stir-fry contained two pounds of shrimp and an abundance of flavorful veggies. We may have been uncomfortably full to the point of sweats and cramps, but the memorability of the experience made it entirely worth the temporary discomfort. 😉

The aromatic scent that permeates throughout our entire apartment whenever I make any type of stir fry always brings me back to that date night when I believe I first fell in love with Chris. I know it sounds corny (Or carrot-y? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!), but I’ll never forget the meaningful conversations we exchanged and the way our unbridled laughter filled my apartment as we noshed on a delicious meal we had created together, just the two of us.

Just the other day, I found myself looking through old pictures and reminiscing about the journey that Chris and I have taken together, so when I realized it was almost dinner time, I felt inspired to whip up a stir fry. Without several of the ingredients I needed to make our traditional shrimp stir fry, I decided to toy around in the kitchen and use the fresh veggies and canned goods that I had on hand to whip up a new concoction. Even though Chris would probably live on hamburgers and barbecue ribs if he hadn’t married me, he gobbled down this vegetarian stir fry as if it was his last meal, even going so far as to make sure I had written down exactly how I made the dish so I would be able to make it for him again in the future.

The perfect blend of sweet and spicy, this stir fry is one your entire family is guaranteed to love. Don’t hesitate to play around with whatever fresh veggies you may have in your refrigerator, as the sauce would be delicious coating just about any crisp veggie.

Although this dish is vegetarian-friendly, the meat-eaters in your household will find it difficult to resist.

What do I need?

One 16-oz. can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans (Preferably with a low sodium/no added salt)
One small-medium yellow onion, chopped
Approx. 3/4 cups broccoli florets
Approx. 3/4 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup soy sauce
One teaspoon sesame oil (I have also used olive oil when I have been in a pinch, and it works great!)
3 teaspoons agave
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Chris and I like our stir fry dishes to have a kick. If you aren’t too keen on spice, I would suggest either using 1/2 teaspoon to reduce the heat!)
4 teaspoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cooking oil (for sautéing veggies and chickpeas)

What do I do?

  1. Stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, agave, red pepper flakes, and corn starch until the corn starch is completely dissolved.
  2. Heat cooking oil in a skillet or wok at medium heat. Stir fry the carrots, onion, and broccoli for about 3-5 minutes, or until the carrots begin to soften and the onions become less firm. Add the chickpeas and sauce, and stir fry for another 3-5 minutes, or until all ingredients are fully coated and the sauce is thickened.
  3. Serve while the stir fry is still hot, either on its own or over a bed of your favorite grain product. In our household, we use a brown rice/quinoa blend.

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