Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chickpeas with Pineapple is a delicious vegetarian crockpot meal with a homemade sweet and sour sauce.
Sweet and Sour Chickpeas is a delicious vegetarian slow cooker meal with a homemade sweet and sour sauce. This dish makes an amazing meatless version of your favorite Chinese takeout and is packed with good-for-you ingredients.
It took me a long time to come around to sweet-and-sour dishes. They sound weird, right? Like some kind of horrible candy concoction, you used to eat in your youth. For a long time, I'd find sweet-and-sour dishes just too sweet and just couldn't have more than a few bites.
Then, a friend made a sweet-and-sour chicken dish for a dinner party one night and it was amazing. The meal had just the most perfect balance of sweet and sour without being cloyingly sugary. I, of course, had to know her secret. It was a simple one — she used pineapple to sweeten the sauce instead of sugar.
Genius! It was not only a healthier version but in my opinion, it was also a much more delicious one. For this slow cooker recipe version, I took inspiration from her dish but made it vegetarian by using chickpeas instead of chicken. Don't worry, it's still every bit as hearty and full of flavor and makes a perfect meal all on its own or with a plate of brown rice or quinoa.
How do you make Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chickpeas?
The first thing I do when making this dish is to cut up all my vegetables, mince the garlic, drain and rinse the chickpeas, and otherwise get all my ingredients out and ready.
Next, I get out my blender or food processor and add half the pineapple, the tomatoes, water, onion, soy sauce, vinegar, and spices in. I blend it till it's all nice and smooth and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. This will be the bulk of your sauce.
I add the rinsed and drained chickpeas to the bottom of my slow cooker and then top them with the rest of the pineapple and peppers. I pour the sauce over the top that I blended up and stir it all together. I add the lid and set the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low.
Just like I took my friend's sweet-and-sour chicken and made a vegetarian option with chickpeas, you can do the same to suit your tastes.
- If you don't like too much pineapple, you can make this with half pineapple and half canned mandarin oranges.
- Add other veggies you'd like, like broccoli or cauliflower cuts, zucchini, snow peas, or mushrooms.
- If you don't have crushed tomatoes, you can use diced (but it will be a bit thinner).
- Substitute pre-made minced garlic if you prefer not to cut it yourself.
- Add toppings like cilantro, hot sauce, or sliced scallions.
- If you want a protein, consider using cubed chicken with half (or all) of the chickpeas.
- You could also add firm tofu with the chickpeas as well.
- To make this dish a little less sour, you can cut back on the vinegar. Add a tablespoon more if you prefer a more sour taste.
- Add in some chopped, fresh spinach at the end and let it wilt before serving.
Are chickpeas good for you?
Just like all legumes and beans, chickpeas are a protein-packed little plant nugget of energy and nutrition. They are mid-range in calories (not a ton, but not exactly none) and have very little fat. Chickpeas also contain fiber, protein, folate, iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese as well.
Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) can help you feel fuller, longer, thanks to the amount of fiber and protein that they contain. Being fuller longer can mean less calorie consumption throughout the day.
Chickpeas are also a great source of plant-based proteins, so if you don't eat meat or want to cut down on your meat consumption (hello, Meatless Monday!) then eating garbanzo beans and other legumes is a great plant protein choice. Protein is also necessary for building muscles, controlling your weight, and keeping your bones strong.
These little tan beans also can help control your blood sugar. They have a low glycemic index, and also the aforementioned fiber and protein are also known to help regulate blood sugar.
The fiber in chickpeas not only keeps you full but is a great digestive aid. It'll keep your digestive system running smoothly and keep you from being constipated. Fiber in chickpeas can also help to make more healthy bacteria in your gut and prevent the bad bacteria from taking over. If you have a happy, healthy gut, then you can also have a reduced risk for IBS and colon cancer.
But, don't just take my word for it — try it for yourself. You'll soon discover that this Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chickpeas with Pineapple is one heck of a delicious, quick hands-off dinner option.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chickpeas with Pineapple
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- 2.5 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned, drained)
- 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 30 oz. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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