April 2017 Fig Focus

Cal-Med Chickpea Stew with California Figs, Tomatoes, Rosemary and Feta

The flavors in this Mediterranean-inspired stew harmonize like a well-tuned orchestra. Piquant flavors from the capers and feta are offset by the natural sweetness of California Figs. Dried beans and peas are celebrated these days as a source of plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. We’ve included popular chickpeas in this comfort-food stew.  Serve it as a simple vegetarian meal or add your favorite lean protein.

Cook onion, garlic, rosemary and red pepper til fragrant.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, broth and bay leaf.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in California Figs, capers and greens.

Spoon into bowls, top with feta and serve with bread.

Cal-Med Chickpea Stew with Figs, Tomatoes, Rosemary and Feta

Serves 6 to 8 (makes about 8 cups).

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped yellow or red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (about 15 oz. each) chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again (3½ cups)
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 package (7 oz.) Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 4 cups (about 4 oz.) baby spinach, kale, arugula, stems removed
  • Salt and pepper, as desired
  • ½ to 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Crusty whole grain bread, optional

Swirl oil into a large deep skillet with lid. Place over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, till onion is very soft. Add garlic, rosemary and red pepper; stir for a few seconds, till fragrant. Add chickpeas, tomatoes with liquid, broth and bay leaf.  Cover, reduce heat simmer very gently for 15 minutes.  Stir in figs and capers; cover and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add greens, remove from heat and stir until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, as needed.  

To serve, spoon into wide shallow bowls. Top with feta. Serve with crusty bread, if desired. 

Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Spring Forward with California Figs at Easter and Mother’s Day

Did you know that California Figs are actually flowers? No fooling! We can’t think of a better ingredient to celebrate the coming of spring at Easter or for a special meal on Mother’s Day than California Figs! And, you’re in luck because we’ve got our eye on serving you inspiration all month long. Stay tuned for a special brunch recipe that will make Mother’s Day marvelous

Count on California Figs—Nutrition Tips and Tidbits

  • Our featured recipe, Cal-Med Chickpea Stew with California Figs, Tomatoes, Rosemary and Feta, is an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of calcium, iron and potassium. 

If you are looking for a deliciously healthy approach to Easter this year, try these recipes and tips. 

  • Use high-quality ingredients for more flavor. Darker chocolate has health promoting antioxidants, so look for chocolate with 60 percent cocoa.
  • Instead of focusing on what to cut out, add something nutritious such as California Dried Figs to your recipe. Figs dipped in chocolate instead of solid chocolate eggs and California Fig Lollipops instead of marshmallow eggs.
  • Cut Sugar. As a general rule, you can reduce sugar in recipes by about 25 percent without noticeable differences.
  • Enjoy decorated hardboiled eggs and a few less Peeps.
  • Don’t buy your candy eggs too early—it’s too easy to eat them all up before the big day.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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