the moveable feasts

Lebanese-Style Stewed Green Beans with Chickpeas (Loubieh Wa Hommus)

with 17 comments

loubieh wa hommus

So, things have been going. Some more than others, but everything’s been going. I’m in the midst of a deadline for the first draft of my thesis—which! I have promised myself not to whine on about on here because really, I can barely stand the endless amount of lamenting from my peers regarding their theses and academic pressures and figuring out which one of their many life options they should pursue following graduation blah blah blah and I’m one of them, so I can only imagine what it must seem like to any “outsiders.” (And in case you’re wondering, by outsider I mean irrelevant normal people in the real world, obviously.) But, seeing as that thesis and those other life worries have basically been swallowing my life whole in periodic cycles throughout this semester, I’m sure all of that is bound to make it’s way on this blog in some way. Like it just has in this whole paragraph.

Another way it’s going to show up: through this photo that can accurately be titled both “As a break from writing on a Saturday night I tried to clean my room” or “I have too many books/magazines”—depending on how you want to look at it.

my room

In other news, I’m thinking I should start a new feature on this blog: Mushy Humble Peasant Dishes that Make Me Feel Frugal and Satisfied. I’m joking, but it certainly feels like I’ve already started something like that, doesn’t it? I’m still in the mode where, when I head to the store, all I feel like grabbing from the shelves are vegetables. The only thing I feel like doing with them when I get home is cooking them is either roasting them or cooking them on the stove top until they’re mushy enough to puree in a soup, or in this case, spoon over a big pile of rice.

loubieh wa hommus

I think I’ve mentioned it briefly once before, but my boyfriend’s going to school in Beirut, Lebanon right now. Because he knows it makes me happy, during our nightly chats he’ll often tell me what he cooked for dinner or ate at a restaurant out with friends. For example, he’s already mentioned to me four times now how delicious crushed up mint leaves are in green tea (it gets all cloudy and delicious, he says), and he loves describing the mezze plates he shares with friends. One night, he praised a dish his roommate had made to share between the two of them. He described it as green beans “with the stems ripped off” (ha ha) stewed with onions and spices and tomatoes. He called it loubieh, and apparently it’s a pretty big dish there. Coincidentally, I had had this Saveur recipe for green beans stewed with chickpeas and tomatoes for quite a while.

It’s easy, really, and the process is not much more than how Waylon described it. I liked the idea of adding in chickpeas, as as the Saveur recipe indicated, so I went along with it. But seriously, not much more is going on than some vegetables bubbling away in a pot for about an hour. Season well, use good spices, good olive oil—and don’t be stingy with it—and you’ll end up with a plate of good things going on. It’s things like this meal, or the sun that has been peeping through clear skies in the morning, that have been the ones that are “going.” But I guess when you’ve got a good plate of food for dinner and a little sunshine, the other things don’t feel so overbearingly idle, at least momentarily.

lebanese green beans with chickpeas

One Year Ago: Juicy Blood Orange Cake

Lebanese-Style Stewed Green Beans with Chickpeas (Loubieh Wa Hommus)
Adapted from Saveur
Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspons cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 pounds green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes with juice

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in cumin seeds and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic and onion, season liberally with salt and pepper (talking about at least a teaspoon of kosher salt), and cook, stirring freqently, until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and paprkia and cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste is slightly caramelized and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the green beans, chickpeas, 2 cups of water, and the tomatoes, making sure to crush the whole tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot mostly with a lid (leave room for steam to escape). Simmer, stirring about every 10 or 15 minutes, until the beans are very tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors “meld.” Serve over rice or bulgar, with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Written by Amy

March 5, 2013 at 6:13 am

17 Responses

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  1. Ah, slumpy, soft green beans. These look great. I have a fondness for vegetables probably cooked for longer than they really should be (think: charred, soft, limp). Maybe this has something to do with the fact that my mother only cooks green vegetables until tender-crisp? Anyway, this looks like a good dish for a day like today–the snow is falling in heavy flakes. I’ll have to look for some green beans that don’t look too sad to take home (hard at this time of the year).

    Oh, and thanks for the glimpse into your life via your room! You have lots of books and magazines, but everything looks pretty organized. I could never share a photo of my work space on an average day. I basically only have enough energy to keep the kitchen organized (sort of). Hope things are going well with your thesis. I don’t mind hearing more about it.


    March 5, 2013 at 7:04 am

    • Haha that picture of my room was after I cleaned it–as in, after I stuck everything in neat-looking little piles and called it good. I have very strong opinions about keeping general areas and the kitchen clean, but when it comes to my room, it’s usually a complete disaster. Even just a day or two after I clean it!


      March 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

  2. I’m loving all the mushy healthy vegetable posts – they’re exactly the kind of food I love to eat! :-)


    March 5, 2013 at 7:29 am

    • Oh good! I’m glad someone else has the same preferences.


      March 5, 2013 at 11:29 am

  3. This looks so warm and comforting! Perfect for a chilly day!

    Little Kitchie

    March 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

  4. This sounds so simple and so good. Spicy veg with chickpeas over grains for a full meal? Yes please!


    March 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

  5. Uh..boyfriend envy. Yours is abroad, and mine is in Vegas (for work). You totally have the winner! Haha!

    I wholeheartedly think you should continue this “Mushy Humble Peasant Dishes that Make Me Feel Frugal and Satisfied.” I’m enjoying it immensely.

    PS – Lamenting about the thesis is the spice of life. I think it’s pretty much mandatory. Who are you to deny the thesis what it wants? ;)


    March 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    • Haha! Yes I suppose it helps when the boyfriend is in a place full of culture that I can learn some things from (yeah, sorry, Vegas is like THE anti-culture of the world ha).

      And you know it may just come to that…that thesis is a mighty willful creature, isn’t it?


      March 5, 2013 at 11:37 am

  6. It’s the home stretch! Lament away, it’ll all be over soon enough. :)

    This dish looks so delicious! Seriously Amy, you always post the most mouthwatering dishes. I wish Chris were a little more embracing of vegetarian dishes like it sounds like Waylon is, because this is the sort of dish I could probably live on all throughout winter.

    And it is very sweet of your boyfriend to talk food with you because he knows you like it. Does he love food as much as you?


    March 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    • Haha, I shouldn’t be so misleading— Waylon really enjoys dishes like this, but I don’t think he’d consider a meal complete without meat somewhere in it. He would eat this and really enjoy it for lunch or maybe even dinner one night, but I doubt he could go more than two days without consuming some type of animal. And he does love food, but in a different way I think. And definitely not AS much— he can go for a long time without eating or even thinking about it, and I’m the one that has to drag him into sweet shops or food stores when we’re out or travelling.


      March 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  7. I love this Amy! So interesting to hear about the food your boyfriend has been eating in Lebanon. Turns out he’s been eating the best kind of food too, I’ll be trying this for sure. All the best.


    March 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    • Ah thanks for your sweet comment, Louisa! Yes, I definitely am envious of the food he gets to eat there, but at least I can attempt to recreate here in the US. Hoping you’re well. x


      March 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm

  8. Your room is gorgeous! But then I always feel like you can’t go wrong with piles and stacks of books and magazines, there’s something about them that looks like they’re supposed to be there. This is really making me want to soak some chickpeas and revisit my pulse-y student days.


    March 6, 2013 at 1:10 am

    • Haha well you certainly have me appreciating my own dwindling student days a little bit more!


      March 6, 2013 at 8:24 am

  9. I love mushy humble peasant dishes—great recipe!

  10. I love dishes like this. I made a big chickpea curry stew last night and can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today!
    Hang in there with your thesis – you’ll make it!

  11. Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is collecting links to dishes using peas and/or green beans. I do hope you link this in. This is the link . Please do check out some of the other links – there are some good ones already. Cheers


    March 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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