An Unscary Supper: Cumin Scented Chickpeas with Organic Chicken Sausage

Alongside Garlic Couscous Peppered with Golden Raisins

Don’t forget to check out my post Eating Alone: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly this week on Scary Mommy‘s Scary Mommy Society.

Now back to this week’s theme: Strategies for getting dinner on the table.

I’m not great at dashing madly around the kitchen for half an hour.

Well, I can do it if G’s at work, J’s napping and NPR’s talking on my headphones. I cannot do it when G’s just gotten home, J’s rangy and Barnie‘s taunting that he loves me. Need I say arsenic hour?

I like recipes with minimal prep that go in the oven and mind their own business ’til I’m good and ready for ’em. Even better if I can do the prep earlier in the day before all crankiness breaks loose.

With the tiny bit of prep done, dinner cooks while I ask G about his day (and listen to his answer!), read J a story and swap Barnie for some Jack (my two faves: Upside Down and Better Together).

I make this dish when the fridge is bare but there’s no time for the grocery store. If I can summon the inner strength to resist dialing 1-800-PIZZZZA, I raid the pantry, scavenge in the back of the fridge and freezer, season, stir, heat and serve.

Don’t stress over the exact ingredients. See the bottom of the recipe for possible substitutions.

The side dish comes together really quickly. You’ll find the sweet pops of raisin amid garlicky couscous add brightness to the hearty chickpeas and sausage.

Cumin Scented Chickpeas with Organic Sausage

Serves 4-5

  • 2-15 oz. cans of chick peas (reduced sodium if possible)
  • 1-15 oz. can black beans (reduced sodium of possible)
  • 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (whatever colors you have), chopped
  • 12 oz (about 4 links) organic smoked chicken sausage in 1/4 inch slices (I like Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausages. Try to find a brand that doesn’t use nitrates or nitrites. They have the same flavor as normal sausages (or better) but are much healthier.) If you have time, brown (or even blacken) the sausage over medium-high heat in a skillet before combining with the other ingredients.
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp coarse black pepper (amount depends on how much your family likes that touch of heat)
  • 1 tsp finely ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place a strainer into the (hopefully empty and clean) kitchen sink. Tip in the chickpeas, black beans and tomatoes. Rinse them well, removing the salty bean liquid and the tomato juices. Transfer to a 9″x13″ lasagna pan or a large casserole dish.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir to combine.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid or with foil.

Place pan into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Serve. Or, if the household is too nuts to sit down, reduce heat to 250ºF and continue to cook for up to 30 minutes. Optionally sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Note: This recipe can be made earlier in the day: Cover and refrigerate until an hour before dinner time. Let the pan unchill a bit on the counter while the oven preheats and then bake as directed above.


  • 1 cup chopped jarred roasted peppers for the bell peppers (or for 1 of the bell peppers);
  • 1 to 2 cups frozen peas and/or corn (defrosted) for all or some of the bell peppers;
  • omit the onion and add chopped green onion before serving;
  • any 3-15oz cans of plain beans (i.e., not baked beans) can be used instead of the 2 cans of chickpeas and 1 of black beans;
  • 3/4 cup raisins or 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots instead of the black beans (with this variation I also add 2 cloves minced garlic and a pinch or two of red chili flakes);
  • 1 cup salsa instead of the canned tomatoes;
  • 8 to 12 oz. ham, cooked bacon or any smoked fully cooked sausage instead of the organic chicken sausage;
  • 12 oz. fully cooked boneless chicken (leftovers work) for the sausage, but consider adding a bit of salt (1/4-1/2 tsp) to the casserole before baking since you won’t have as much seasoning without the smoked/cured meat;
  • 12 oz. fully cooked ground poultry or ground beef (see info about salt in the point directly above this one). I especially like to use meat leftover from taco night. Then substitute 1 cup salsa for the tomatoes and throw in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese as well. Top servings with sour cream if desired;
  • 1 tsp oregano and 1/2 tsp basil instead of the cumin and coriander. If doing so, 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella is a nice addition;
  • 2 tsp chili powder as well as, or instead of, the cumin and coriander;
  • 1 tsp curry powder as well as, or instead of, the cumin and coriander.

Garlic Couscous Peppered with Golden Raisins: Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil. Into a small saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid measure 1 cup couscous, 1 cup golden raisins, 3 to 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp fine kosher salt (or table salt), 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Add 2 cups boiling water. Stir and cover pan with lid. Wait 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff couscous gently with a fork and serve.

Get info about couscous and more couscous recipes at Foodista:
Couscous on FoodistaCouscous

Get info about chickpeas and more chickpea recipes at Foodista:
Chickpeas on FoodistaChickpeas


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  1. #1 by The Mrs on February 3, 2011 - 2:27 pm

    Thanks for reminding me about couscous. Any dish that involves boiling water and then waiting for five minutes needs to get back into my dinner rotation.

    • #2 by cookthestory on February 3, 2011 - 2:31 pm

      You’re welcome. It is too easy for words. And satisfying. And versatile. You can even get whole wheat versions these days (they take longer to cook).

  2. #3 by Dani on February 3, 2011 - 2:48 pm

    I’m always up for a good throw together meal with lots of substitution options! We eat a lot of couscous, too.

    • #4 by cookthestory on February 3, 2011 - 3:00 pm

      Yeah, I love having a recipe (or general meal concept) that I can play around with based on what’s on hand. Makes mid-week so much easier to face if you have a few of these in your repertoire.

  3. #5 by Liz on February 3, 2011 - 4:29 pm

    This is *my* kind of comfort food, right here!

    I think I’ll try it with the added curry, because I have a curry addiction I need to take care of, and sub out the black beans. I love black beans, but they don’t love me. ‘Nuff said.

    • #6 by cookthestory on February 3, 2011 - 5:32 pm

      With the curry and without the black beans would be great. To take it further you could use a sweet onion and add 1/2 to 1 cup raisins, 2 cloves sliced or roughly chopped garlic, a few handfuls of fresh spinach (it’ll wilt down) and 1/4 tsp cardamom or a dash of cinnamon and a bay leaf or two. That would be awesome with plain basmati rice or wrapped up in warm naan bread.

      • #7 by Liz on February 5, 2011 - 1:10 pm

        Oh, yeah. Brown basmati is my go-to rice.

        You seem to know me . . . have you been rifling through my cabinets? Hahah!

  4. #8 by Phyllis on February 3, 2011 - 6:21 pm

    There seems to be endless ingredients you can substitute in this recipe. Delightful. I think I would even serve this cold on a hot sunny day.

    • #9 by cookthestory on February 3, 2011 - 7:24 pm

      I’ve never thought of doing it as a cold salad. Great idea! Maybe with a bit of lime juice and olive oil. I’d probably skip the sausage then. Oh wait. This would be the PERFECT side dish for a grilled sausage in a bun. Thanks for the idea!

  5. #10 by Phyllis on February 3, 2011 - 6:24 pm

    I forgot to add that the leftovers would make a great soup with the addition of some chicken broth.

    • #11 by cookthestory on February 3, 2011 - 7:26 pm

      Actually, I think you may have sampled that exact leftover soup a week or so ago. The chickpea leftovers and the couscous leftovers with chicken broth worked really well together. Today, the fam and I had that exact same thing for lunch but it also had some leftover roast pork and potatoes in it, an Everything but the Kitchen Sink kinda soup. Way too good! Remind me to tell you about my chicken stock revelation too!

  6. #12 by Katerina on February 4, 2011 - 6:06 am

    This is such a beautiful dish. i love the combo of sausage and legumes.

    • #13 by cookthestory on February 4, 2011 - 6:17 am

      Thank you Katerina! That combo is one of my favorites too.

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