If you make lemonade from lemons what do you make from chickpeas and tomatoes?

Caroline Herewini, of the Porirua Māori Women’s Refuge, says tinned meat and anything for children’s lunches is more useful than tomatoes or chickpeas. “What are our people going to do with chickpeas?”

It might be the season for giving, but please, no more tinned tomatoes.

These, along with lentils and beans, are some of the items charities would rather do without, however desperate they are for food donations.

Auckland-based refuge charity The Aunties has issued an outright ban on tinned tomatoes, saying they are useless for the women and children it supports. They don’t have the ingredients to go with the food in the first place.[…]

While I totally understand the charity preferring meat and fresh vegetables that require little skill or extra ingredients to turn into a meal I also think that they are missing an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade.

It is simply a matter of cultural ignorance. Of course, your average Kiwi has no idea what to do with chickpeas as most wouldn’t even know what they are. If they understood that they can be used just like rice and pasta and potatoes then they would see just how useful and versatile they are.

Perhaps the Porirua Māori Women’s refuge should contact Shakti which is the New Zealand refuge for “Asian, African and Middle Eastern women.” I am confident that they would have plenty of ideas of how to turn chickpeas and tinned tomatoes into a filling and tasty meal.

Tomatoes, mince, spaghetti and cheese is a simple and filling meal.


Add a few dried spices, fry some garlic or onion add tomatoes and chickpeas and you have a filling and tasty meal.

Chickpeas take on whatever flavour you want to add to them. They are great in stews, curries or casseroles. Basically, wherever you would usually use pasta, rice or potatoes you can use chickpeas. They are also great in salads.


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