I always look forward to fall, big time. I love the cooler temperatures and turning leaves. What I always forget, is that for whatever reason, life gets way busier during the last quarter of the year. It’s not just me right? Maybe with everyone sending their kids back to school and ramping up for the holidays, there’s just a lot of busy energy in the air. In any event, I’m all about quick and easy meals, but with the weather beginning to chill, I want some seriously hearty food too.
Chickpeas are the best when it comes to hearty and easy vegetarian meals. I wish I’d discovered sooner in life that chickpeas, when cooked up in a skillet with some flavorful sauce, can do pretty much anything. They can be just about anything too, depending on just what kind of sauce you choose to go with. For these wraps, I took some inspiration from the flavors in this old jerk burger recipe, and the result was nothing short of delicious.
Jerk, for the uninitiated, is a Caribbean blend that’s heavy on allspice and generally includes some ginger, a few other warming spices, and maybe a bit of molasses. So in a way, it’s perfect for fall, despite its tropical origins, although I did opt to include some very tropical diced up mango in the mix, because, mango.
Traditionally, jerk-seasoned dishes also include a (very hot) Scotch bonnet pepper. I’ve never actually been able to find one of these at the store, so I generally go with a habanero pepper instead. This time around I decided to leave the habanero out of the sauce, and instead include it in some cashew aioli. This worked out great because (1) cashew aioli is the bomb, and (2) you can control the amount of heat that goes into each wrap. So my heat-averse husband ended up going easy on the aioli, while I slathered the heck out of mine. If you want a heat-free version of this recipe, feel free to skip the pepper completely.
For the habanero aioli:
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water 4 to 8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 habanero pepper seeded and stemmed
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 to 4 tablespoons unflavored soy or almond milk
- Salt to taste
For the jerk chickpeas
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- A few dashes of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion sliced into strips
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup diced mango about 1 small mango
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the wraps:
- 4 large or 6 medium flour tortillas
- 4 to 6 large lettuce leaves
- Sliced or diced tomato
To make the habanero aioli:
- Place the cashews, lime juice, habanero pepper, and 2 tablespoons of soy or almond milk into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add up to 2 tablespoons of additional milk, to thin the mixture as needed. Season with salt to taste.
To Make the jerk chickpeas:
- Stir the soy sauce, molasses, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, thyme and black pepper together in a small bowl.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add onions and sauté until they're soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté about 1 minute more, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas and soy sauce mixture, and flip everything a few times with a spatula. Cook until the sauce thickens up a bit and coats the chickpeas, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the mango and cilantro. Flip a few times to incorporate.
To make the wraps:
- Slather the tortillas with habanero aioli, then layer with lettuce and tomato. Divide the chickpea mixture among tortillas and wrap. Serve.