Chickpeas and Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce


In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: Here, chef Missy Robbins of Brooklyn's award-winning Lilia restaurant turns classic pasta al pomodoro on its head. In her riff on the spicy dish, Robbins (who was named a F&W Best New Chef in 2010 for her cooking at A Voce) swaps out pasta in favor of nourishing chickpeas and tangles of kale. She says, "It's an amazing one-pan dish that's packed with richness but doesn't take a long time to make." For additional flavor, she tops the bowl with fresh herbs and salty pecorino Romano. It's a quick, simple, and eminently usable vegetable-based dish.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • One 8-ounce bunch of Tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped

  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • Torn basil and marjoram leaves, for garnish

  • Finely grated Pecorino Romano, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes.

  2. Stir the kale into the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Spoon into bowls and garnish with torn basil and marjoram leaves. Top with finely grated pecorino and serve hot.

    Chickpeas and Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce
    Con Poulos
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