Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garbanzo Beans with Padron Peppers and Heirloom Tomatoes

This easy to prepare dish is completely vegan and out of this world.  What really elevates this version are the  garbanzo beans that I picked up from the sprout man at the Santa Monica farmers market, but you can certainly substitute dried beans that have been pre-soaked and cooked, according to package directions, or even canned garbanzos, and get delicious results.

I start off by removing only the hard stems from 10-15 Padron peppers, leaving the pods intact.  Next I drizzle them with just a bit of olive oil and sea salt, toss them around, and place them in a hot frying pan and let them sizzle until they are blistered and just tender (about 5 minutes).  Now I recommend popping one in your mouth (because they are so good!) and reserving the rest for the dish.

Next, I peel and slice three beautiful heirloom tomatoes and one white onion, like so.  Always salt the tomatoes after slicing to enhance their flavor.

I heat up about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven.  (As you may have noticed, I am not terribly precise when it comes to measurements, as my recipes generally do not require precision.)  I saute the sliced onions in the olive oil for a few minutes until they are a bit tender, and then I add the tomatoes and let them cook together over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  Then I add the blistered Padron peppers (whole), and just a tiny amount of tomato paste.  (Note the Padron peppers are so good, but they are not necessarily easy to track down, so of course feel free to substitute any peppers at all, such as Poblanos, Anaheims, or even bell peppers.  If you do substitute, just slice them up into long strips and saute them right along with the onions.)

I actually started adding whole peppers, or long strips of sliced pepper, to stews and chili when my boys were very young.  That way I could get my pepper fix while still having the ability to easily fish them out of the boys' bowls.  I soon developed a real preference for the larger more flavorful bites, and I've continued to cook that way -- long since my boys' palates have matured. 

Finally, I add the Garbanzo beans and seasonings, which include 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic sliced very thin (or a few dashes of garlic powder), 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cumin seeds (it's fine to substitute cumin powder), a bit of spicy red pepper to taste, and salt and black pepper to taste.

I cover the mixture with enough water to just cover the beans, bring everything to a boil, and simmer for at least an hour so that the beans are tender and the water reduces.  Then I taste and adjust the spices as needed and let everything continue to cook, if necessary, until the desired tenderness is reached.

Delicious on its own, in a big soup bowl with a hearty piece of bread for dipping, or served with brown rice, white rice, or rice pilaf and a simple salad (as depicted above), this combination of garbanzo beans, Padron peppers, and heirloom tomatoes is classic vegan, packed with protein and all kinds of other good stuff, and bursting with deliciousness! 


  1. Chef Mandy,
    Where do you suggest I locate the padron peppers? This dish sounds delish!

    Wanting for more Mandy musings!


    1. KT - Hopefully they will be available in the farmers market for a while more. I will keep my eye out and get you some!

  2. i would add beef or lamb, lots and lots