Food & Drink

How to turn beans and toast into an elegant appetizer

Mashed Chickpea Toasts With Parsley and Capers.
Mashed Chickpea Toasts With Parsley and Capers. Dixie D. Vereen/The Washington Post

This recipe is the food equivalent of the little black dress. It has a simple elegance that's both classic and modern, and it suits perfectly as a daytime mainstay or for evening cocktails.

It couldn't be easier to pull together, using a can of chickpeas, fresh lemon juice, capers and a slices of crusty whole-grain bread.

The toasts make for a satisfying lunch or light dinner alongside a salad or soup, and they will give you the energy boost you need in an afternoon snack. If you use small slices of bread and double the number of them (or cut larger piece in half), they make a compelling finger food at a cocktail party. They come in especially handy for drop-in guests, as I learned recently when a friend unexpectedly came by for drinks and brought an appetite. I whipped up these toasts in no time, with ingredients I usually have on hand.

My friend couldn't stop raving about them. Like that effortless wardrobe staple, this recipe is destined to be an all occasion go-to.

Mashed Chickpea Toasts With Parsley and Capers

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

4 1/2-inch-thick slices crusty whole-grain bread (about 1 ounce each)

4 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons capers, drained

Combine the chickpeas, 2 tablespoons oil, the lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; use a potato masher to coarsely mash the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon oil to brush one side of each slice of bread. Place them on a baking sheet, oiled sides up; toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, or just until crisp and browned on the edges.

Spread the toasted bread with a quarter of the mashed chickpea mixture, then top each with a teaspoon of the parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of the capers. Use the remaining oil to drizzle each portion; sprinkle with more pepper, as needed.

Per serving: 290 calories, 9 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar

Yield: 4 servings.