Chickpeas Three Ways for the Enterprising Home Cook

February 10, 2016

Many cooks (chefs and amateurs alike) view canned ingredients as the kiss of culinary death. In the case of chickpeas, however, there is an exception, because they are extremely versatile and easily accessible. Their meatiness lends well to almost any dish, making itself an easy side or main. While most people associate the noble chickpea with just hummus, the transformative ingredient has many more uses, all of which are delicious enough to introduce into your weekly cooking repertoire. Spiced roasted chickpeas are like a nutty version of popcorn, enhanced with paprika and cumin for an addictive bite that will help you settle on your couch for a night in. Curried chickpeas bring the legume into dinner territory, savory, deep, and filling enough to be the centerpiece at the table. The last recommended iteration turns them into little patties, surprisingly light, which could replace any average, mealy falafel.


Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Yield: 2 cups, estimated
Time: 30 minutes (5 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking)


  • 2 400g cans chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt, fine


  1. Preheat an oven to 180°C.
  2. Strain and rinse the chickpeas, discard the liquid. With a dishtowel, carefully dry the legumes until they feel dry to the touch. Remove any skins that come off in the drying process.
  3. Toss all the ingredients in a bowl until all the chickpeas are coated evenly.
  4. Spread the chickpeas on a flat tray and bake them until they are golden and most of the moisture has evaporated, about 25-30 minutes. They crisp more as they cool.
  5. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container. The snack is best enjoyed on the same day.

Note: You can leave the chickpeas plain (but don’t leave out the oil) or use any combination of spices that you enjoy best. Curry powder works great, too!


Curried Chickpeas

Yield: 2-3 servings, estimated
Time: 25 minutes (10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking)


  • 2 400g cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 slices ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 sprig cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Ingredients: Spice Blend

  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 stick cinnamon, small
  • 1 star anise


  1. Mix all the spices in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a blender: pulse the onion, garlic, and ginger until smooth. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the puree. Sauté the mixture until the onions are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the spice blend and cook for two minutes more. Add in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and coconut milk.
  4. Continue to simmer the curry for 15-20 minutes more. Serve hot with rice or flat bread.

Note: You can use store-bought curry powder if desired.


Chickpea Cakes

Yield: 12 (1-inch) cakes, estimated
Time: 25 minutes (10 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking)

Ingredients: Cakes

  • 1 400g can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup parsley, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 red onion, small, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder, optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Ingredients: Yogurt Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly and deseeded
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest
  • salt, to taste

Procedure: Cakes

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the breadcrumbs in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients a few times until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the breadcrumbs until combined.
  2. Form the mixture into patties about an inch in diameter and a centimeter high.
  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan and carefully drop in the cakes. Cook until golden, around five to six minutes.
  4. Serve immediately with yogurt sauce.

Procedure: Yogurt Dipping Sauce

  1. Combine the sliced onions and cucumber in a bowl. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of salt and allow to sweat for 10 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out the moisture.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients and season with salt.
Monica Yang SEE AUTHOR Monica Yang

Monica tries to be healthy, but is not very good at it. She loves food, traveling, and reading. Weaknesses include: good coffee, stationery, and home furnishing stores.

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