whole food ~ well made

garbanzo-tomato stew recipe at

20-Minute Garbanzo-Tomato Stew

It snowed like a January blizzard yesterday. Yes, it was Cinco de Mayo and it was blowing so hard we didn’t venture the two blocks from our house to La Laguna.

We didn’t feel much like celebrating with guacamole and margaritas anyway when it felt like ski season again with six inches of snow on the ground. Instead, I put a pot of garbanzos on to boil in late afternoon.

I felt inspired to make a simple yet rich chicken broth-based garbanzo bean soup like the one I had at Craft years ago. But with no local chicken in my freezer and an aversion to buying factory-farmed birds, I looked instead to a stand-by from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking.


I got the cookbook at a Friends of the Library booksale in Seattle over 10 years ago. A paperback, it split into three pieces, which my 2-year-old loved to pull out and further dismember.

I kept patching it back together before impulsively recycling the whole thing with the intention of ordering her entire cookbook collection and her memoir.

How a famous screen actress gave me a winning vegetarian stew recipe.

Like most Americans, I know Jaffrey best through her cookbooks and food writing. Then, two weeks ago, I saw an example of her exquisite skills as a character actress and got a sense of how funny she is.

garbanzo-tomato stew recipe at

Jaffrey stars in the new movie Today’s Special with Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show who wrote the screenplay. It’s not in release until fall, but Foodista hosted a late-night screening for food professionals at the IACP conference in Portland, a conference highlight.

I didn’t speak to Jaffrey. She’s so regal and worldly and I didn’t think I had anything to say.

But now I wish that I had simply thanked her in person for, among so many other gifts, her simple recipe for garbanzo tomato stew that sustained my family on a busy, stormy night in May.

I hope your family enjoys this someday soon.


and become a forager

garbanzo-tomato stew recipe at

20-Minute Garbanzo-Tomato Stew

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Lynne Curry

Since my cookbook self-destructed, this is my recollection and reproduction of Madhur Jaffrey's original recipe. It is onion-y, slick with olive oil and all you need for a simple supper. As you can tell, it comes together very quickly. I serve it with flatbreads for dipping.


  • 1/2 cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • cups cooked garbanzo beans or 1 14-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley optional


  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-heat heat. Cook the onions in the oil until translucent without letting them brown, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

  2. Add the garbanzos and tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up with your fingers, and add all of their juice.

  3. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with the parsley, if desired.


  1. Kristin

    Could I use fresh tomotoes instead of canned? How much would I use?

    1. Fresh tomatoes cook up very differently than canned, so the final texture and flavor of this dish would be quite different. If you still want to try that route, I recommend that you seed the tomatoes first (easiest way is to cut through the equator and then squeeze out the seeds and tomatoey water over a bowl), then chop into a large dice. You’ll also want to allow more time for simmering to reduce and concentrate their juices. You might also add a little tomato paste for thickening. For this recipe, I recommend using 6 medium tomatoes. Hope you love it!

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