It’s true; I’ve fallen hard for this fancy reinterpretation of your standard beans-on-toast and I’m willing to bet even the biggest skeptic of this humble dish is going to want to tuck into its warmth and smokiness with wild abandon.

Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe in Plenty More, my cheat version of his amazing five-hour, slow-cooked dish (which you should really give a try when you have time) doesn’t miss a flavour beat, despite being speedy.

Instead of using dried chickpeas and slow cooking them in an onion and pepper mixture over a simmering flame until they turn unbelievably soft, I sautéed the vegetables to caramelize them a bit before pureeing the sauce to help mellow out the flavours. That paired with every weeknight chef’s secret weapon, the canned chickpea, makes this one comfort food dish that will make you happy it’s February in Canada.

Here I’ve made it two ways: on toast with a poached egg (because juicy, runny eggs just make everything better), and a crispy pita pizza with a few scoops of creamy labneh (Lebanese cream cheese).

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Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 red bell peppers cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large tomato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil, and add onion and red peppers and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste, cayenne, paprika, salt and black pepper to taste and stir to combine. Add mixture to a food processor and mix to make a paste.
  2. Over medium heat, return paste to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the tomato, sugar, chickpeas and (a scant) 1 cup water.
  3. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occa-sionally and adding more water when needed to maintain a sauce-like consistency. Remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes.

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Smoky Chickpea Pizza with Labneh

Ingredients:

3 Pitas
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Tablespoon labneh
Fresh parsley
3 eggs
2 cups stewed chickpeas

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush pitas with olive oil, spread a thin layer of chickpea mixture over and make a small well in the centre.
  2. Crack an egg in the middle of each pita and bake for 8-12 minutes until it’s cooked to desired doneness.
  3. Finish with fresh parsley and a few scoops of labneh. Serve immediately.

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Smoky Chickpeas on Grilled Toast with Poached Eggs & Zahtar

Ingredients:

4 slices bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted on both sides
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 poached eggs
2 teaspoons zahtar

Directions:

  1. Place a piece of warm toast on each plate and spoon the chickpeas on top.
  2. Arrange a poached egg on top, followed by a sprinkle of zahtar and a drizzle of olive oil.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.