Easy dinner idea: Spicy black bean and chickpea stew

I love to cook, but, to be perfectly honest, I just don’t feel like doing it these days. As much as I’d like to pretend that I am superwoman and can juggle a full-time job, night classes, school work (as finals are approaching…), my personal life, as well as other little odds and ends, sometimes it gets to be a little much, and sometimes the last thing I want to do is make myself dinner (it has always been my least favorite meal to prepare…).

Despite my lack of motivation these days, it is still a priority for me to eat clean, real foods as much as possible.  Eating better makes me feel better, and I will always be a firm believer that “healthy” doesn’t have to equal time-consuming or boring.  Making something from scratch (or even sprucing up a premade veggie burger….) can often be just as easy (and often faster!) than relying on the more “convenient”  or fast foods out there.

So, I won’t lie, even though  I have been consisting mostly on veggie burgers, oatmeal concoctions,  random snack combinations and huge salads these days, I have also made some more notable meals as well. Last week, for example, my sister and I had the idea to make some sort of spicy bean-based soup/stew for dinner using a few simple ingredients we had on hand.  I am no chef and tend to make pretty low-key “recipes,” but, I must say, this turned out to be pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

The stew had a nice spice from the fire roasted tomatoes and chili powder, and the cumin gave it a nice smoky flavor as well.  Plus, all you need is a can opener, a few canned items, an onion/garlic, and some simple spices to whip this together…. it is basically impossible to screw up and works very well as leftovers (I am going to be eating a serving over some spinach for lunch today)…

Spicy black bean and chickpea stew

makes approximately 5-6 servings


  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)


  • spray bottom of pot with non-stick spray (can also use olive oil)
  • saute garlic and onion for 5-6 minutes
  • add fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas, and seasonings to pot
  • simmer 30 minutes
  • top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some additional hot sauce (optional)

I initially ate mine on top of some sautéed kale and roasted acorn squash/brussel sprouts (random, but I was craving roasted vegetables and was on a roll in the kitchen that day…), but I imagine that this would work really well on top of some quinoa or with a nice crusty piece of bread on the side as well.  If you have a can opener and a few simple spices you are good to go with this recipe…. try it out!

What are your favorite simple dinner recipes?