Cheesy Chickpea Melts

updated May 29, 2020
Cheesy Chickpea Melts

A stewy mixture of tomato-y chickpeas and greens are piled onto garlicky toast, then topped with cheese and broiled until browned and bubbly.

Serves2 to 4

Makes4 toasts

Prep15 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

If I were to look back at what I’ve eaten these past few months, I’d see a lot of greens, beans, and cheese staring back at me. My kitchen isn’t complete without these staples on hand — they’re the driving forces behind my trusty lunch salad, my favorite soups and shakshukas, and even this one-pot pasta.

Here, I’ve grouped them up for their best performance yet: cheesy, saucy, slightly spicy chickpea melts. Inspired by an overflow of crusty sourdough, these toasts are the incredibly easy, immensely satisfying, protein-packed vegetarian dinner you need. A stewy mixture of tomato-y chickpeas and greens are piled onto garlicky toast, then topped with cheese and broiled until browned and bubbly. Tuna melt who?

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Choose-Your-Own Adventure Toasts

I’ve included as many ingredient options as possible in hopes you won’t have to leave the house to make them. Let’s take a look.

The bread: If you’ve been on a sourdough-baking kick like me, now’s the time to put your freshly baked or frozen loaves to use. But any type of crusty bread, pocketless pita, or even English muffin will do.

The beans: If you’re looking for a bean with a bit of a bite, opt for chickpeas. If you want a creamier bean, go for a white bean, like cannellini or butter beans.

The tomatoes: You’ll need two types of tomato products: one concentrated paste and one canned with juices. The paste can either be harissa, which has built-in heat, or tomato paste, to which you’ll add a pinch of red pepper flakes. As for the canned tomatoes, diced, crushed, and whole peeled are all fair game.

The greens: I’ve been using whatever tender greens arrive in my weekly produce box. You really can’t go wrong with spinach, kale, baby kale, arugula, or mustard greens.

The cheese: Here’s where things get fun. I like to use a semi-hard white cheese such as Swiss, Havarti, or, my favorite, jalapeño Muenster. But I’ve also had great success with cheddar, feta, and mozzarella (that one had major pizza vibes).

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Once a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Cheesy Chickpea Melts

A stewy mixture of tomato-y chickpeas and greens are piled onto garlicky toast, then topped with cheese and broiled until browned and bubbly.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes 4 toasts

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    large cloves garlic

  • 4 (1-inch thick) slices

    sourdough or other crusty bread

  • 1 (about 15-ounce) can

    chickpeas or white beans

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    harissa paste, or 1 teaspoon tomato paste plus 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 (14-ounce) can

    crushed, diced, or whole tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup


  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried Italian seasoning, oregano, or thyme

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 ounces

    leafy greens (2 big handfuls), such as spinach, kale, baby kale, or mustard greens, stripped from tough stems if needed

  • 4 ounces

    semi-hard cheese, such as Swiss, havarti, muenster, or provolone


  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Peel 2 large garlic cloves; cut off a thin sliver from one clove. Rub both sides of 4 bread slices with the cut side of the garlic. Arrange the bread on the prepared baking sheet and set aside. Thinly slice both cloves. Drain and rinse 1 can chickpeas.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or high-sided skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until very lightly golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon harissa (or 1 teaspoon tomato paste and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes) and cook, stirring, until it begins to darken, about 1 minute.

  3. Add the beans, 1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes and their juices (breaking the tomatoes into pieces if they’re whole), 1/2 cup water, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and several grinds black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, lowering the heat if it begins to simmer too rapidly, until the liquid is reduced and a spoon leaves a clean trail when scraped against the bottom of the pot, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiling element and heat the broiler to HIGH. As it preheats, thinly slice 4 ounces cheese.

  4. In the last minute of cooking for the chickpeas, stir in a few handfuls of leafy greens, tearing larger leaves into smaller pieces as you add. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

  5. Brush both sides of the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Broil until the bread is golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven.

  6. To assemble, flip the slices over. Divide the chickpea mixture between the slices, then top with the cheese. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 1 to 3 minutes more. Cut each slice in half and serve warm.