Given I don’t eat a lot of stand-in meat products, I rely heavily on legumes to be the star of my meals (and protein filler!) If you’ve hung around long enough on the site, you probably know that chickpeas are my favorite. These versatile legumes can transform into so many different meals and they soak up flavor to push vegetarian meals over the top. I’ve been making spiced chickpeas in some form or another for as long as I can remember. They are simple, ready in 20 minutes or less, and can be a dinner saver when I have nothing planned. I still remember my first version of these chickpeas contained buffalo sauce (delicious still) but I’ve found the recipe below to be more adaptable to spices and meals. A perfect addition to component cooking!
Fast and flavorful, these spiced chickpeas can be used to balance out a meal or be the focal point. Play around with the spice balance to find one you like or experiment with what you already have on hand.
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned (see note)
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (see note)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon clove
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, optional
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Black Pepper, for topping
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander. Toast, shaking the pan often, until spices are fragrant. Place in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind the spices.
- Return the pan to the stovetop, to medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the garlic. Cook garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden. Add in the chickpeas and followed by the ground cumin/coriander smoked paprika, ginger, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne if using. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, just enough that the chickpeas are warm and start to turn golden.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar. Scrap the bottom of the pan to release some of the stuck spices.
Tips & Tricks: If you only have ground spices, that's fine. Skip the toasting/grinding step and use the same amount of ground spices as the whole. Leave out the sesame seeds or use whole.
I make my own chickpeas and store in 2 cup increments. Canned chickpeas are a little less but the amount in the can will still work with the spice amounts listed above.
I'm don't overly salt my chickpeas when I first cook them, so I find that I need to add salt to these spiced chickpeas. If you are using canned, taste before adding more salt
Nutrition: see the information.
The beautiful part of these spiced chickpeas is the endless amount of spice variations. I could give you dozens but I’m going to include only a few of my favorites. Chickpeas soak up spices so well, it’s worth experimenting with whatever you might have floating around your pantry.
Chipotle: Replace the smoked paprika, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves with 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or a small amount of chipotles in adobo. This variation can get hot pretty fast so start with small amounts of chipotle and add until you’re desired heat level.
Curry: Instead of the spices listed, use a store-bought curry powder or make your own!
Jerk: I love using jerk seasoning with vegetables but it also works well with chickpeas. You can find this blend in stores or this is another great one to make at home.
Roasting: If I already have my oven going, I find it’s easy to pop a pan of chickpeas in the oven with this spice mixture and garlic (similar to this recipe). If you let the chickpeas roast long enough, they become crispy and you have the perfect snack!
Spice-level: I left the cayenne at a minimum in the base recipe but feel free to spice it up to match you personal taste.
How to use Spiced Chickpeas
Salad: Toss in a salad with your favorite roasted vegetables and greens. Works well with a lemon vinaigrette, creamy avocado dressing, or a nice yogurt/feta dressing.
Loaded Potatoes: Add to the top of a potato with yogurt or pour a little cashew cream or regular cream into the pan to make a sauce with the chickpeas.
Grain Bowls: Similar to the salad- make a grain bowl with cooked grains, roasted vegetables, and a simple dressing. These
Stuffed Pita or Naan: After cooking, lightly mash and stuffed in a pita or naan for lunch along with hummus and greens.
Eggs/Tofu: Fry and egg or tofu and eat with the chickpeas- I’ve found with a few slices of avocado, this is a solid protein-heavy breakfast.
Savory Waffle: Use these spiced chickpeas on top of a savory waffle with either a yogurt sauce or poached egg.
Hummus: Make a big bowl of hummus and use these chickpeas as the topping!