Smashed Chickpeas

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by David Tanis (slightly adapted)

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, small diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon coarsely ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2/3 cup finely diced celery
4 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans)-2 15 oz. cans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
more salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Tahini sauce (optional), see below

The Prep:
       Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, season with the salt and pepper, and cook gently until softened, about 10 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high. Add garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes and celery. Stir to combine let cook without browning for 1 minute.
       Add chickpeas and let them heat through. With a potato masher or wooden spoon, crush about half the beans. Stir well. Add 1/2 cup water and let mixture simmer for a minute or two. Stir in the lemon juice and the olive oil. Serve warm in as a sandwich filling, as a dip or a side dish. Drizzle with tahini sauce, if desired.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups. or 4-6 servings.

To make homemade tahini sauce:
Stir until smooth: 1/4 cup tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons water and a Tablespoon of honey.

LESSONS Learned:
1. I can expand my chickpea horizons, you don't have to be stuck in that hummus rut!
2. Although I feel a little guilty about not cooking up the dry beans from scratch, I am happy to have found organic, no salt, non-toxically canned versions in my health food store---so much easier! Just drain and rinse them well.