Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (2023)

Fragrant pesto, punchy fried lemons, and a touch of milk transform the humble canned chickpea into a totally effortless yet luxurious meal in this easy vegetarian recipe.

Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (1)

I love giving canned chickpeas the all-star treatment on a busy evening. It’s my secret to making a weeknight dinner feel celebratory. It’s the simple things in life after all!

Canned chickpeas just need a few minutes on the stove to get tender and creamy. And they take on vibrant Mediterranean flavor with ease. Whether crispy, smashed, or smooth—I love them every which way.

Here, we transform a couple of cans of chickpeas into a creamy, silky-smooth, and velvety delight. One of Italy’s greatest sauces, pesto, does most of the heavy lifting. Just ⅓ cup adds an irresistibly herbaceous, cheesy, and nutty flavor.

Though pesto is an obvious hit, the fried lemon ring garnish may surprise you. They’re almost like lemon potato chips, adding bright bursts of flavor everywhere they go. They cut right through the creaminess of the braised chickpeas for the perfect balance.

Serve this dish as an easy and hearty lunch or dinner. Or, this canned chickpea recipe makes for an effortless and elegant first course at a dinner party.

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Braised Chickpeasin Pesto
  2. How to Make Braised Chickpeas
  3. How to Remove Jalapeño Seeds
  4. What to Serve with Chickpeas in Creamy Pesto Sauce
  5. More Canned Chickpeas Recipes
  6. Nocellara - Italian EVOO
  7. Braised Chickpeas in a Creamy Pesto Sauce Recipe
Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (2)

Ingredients for Braised Chickpeasin Pesto

This easy recipe comes together with a handful of pantry staples. Homemade pesto keeps surprisingly well. It can stay fresh for months if covered in a layer of olive oil.

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Adds richness to the chickpea broth. Use a buttery, smooth variety, like our Nocellara from Italy.
  • Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are doubly useful. The chickpeas themselves are nutritious, tender, and filling. What many people don’t know, however, is their broth is also packed with flavor. We use both the chickpeas and their broth in this quick dinner recipe.
  • Kosher salt: A pinch of salt enhances the chickpeas’ and fried lemons’ flavor.
  • Lemon: This is a lemon two ways situation! Lemon juice balances the creamy broth. Lemon rings, freshly fried in olive oil and finished with sumac and salt, are used as a garnish to add a burst of bright flavor.
  • Pesto: Made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Pesto gives canned chickpeas layers of cheesy, nutty, and fresh flavor and an irresistibly delicious aroma. You can’t beat homemade pesto, but you can go for store- bought if you’re short on time.
  • Milk: Whole milk or cream adds even more creaminess and richness to the broth. Low-fat or non-fat milk would also work.
  • Jalapeño: Sliced jalapeño is milder than it sounds, especially if you remove the seeds (tips below). Use as a garnish to add freshness and textural variety.
  • Crusty bread: Big hunks of crusty bread soak up all the flavor.
Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (3)

How to Make Braised Chickpeas

This recipe is simple: get the chickpeas simmering, gather your flavor-makers, mix, and garnish. Make it a few times and you’ll likely commit it to memory.

  • Get ready: Whip up a batch of Homemade Basil Pesto (or grab some from the store).
  • Heat the chickpeas: Into a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add 2 cans of chickpeas and their liquid. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the chickpeas to simmer until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (4)
  • Make the pesto and lemon rings: While the chickpeas are simmering, fry one lemon according to this Fried Lemon Rings recipe. Slice one jalapeño into rings, removing the seeds as you go.Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (5)
  • Finish the chickpeas: When the chickpeas are very tender, remove them from the heat. Juice in one lemon. Add ⅓ cup each of basil pesto and milk (or cream).Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (6)
  • Serve: Transfer the braised chickpea to serving bowls. Garnish each bowl with sliced jalapeños and fried lemon rings (if using). Serve hot, with a side of crusty bread.Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (7)

How to Remove Jalapeño Seeds

A garnish of sliced jalapeño adds freshness and just a faint hint of spice. This balances the rich, creamy braised chickpeas. If you love spice, go ahead and leave the seeds in. If you prefer a milder kick, here’s the best way to remove seeds from sliced jalapeño:

  • Stem: Cut off the stem end of the jalapeno using a sharp knife.
  • Slice: Slice the pepper horizontally into rings of your desired thickness.
  • Remove the seeds: Steady a slice with your non-dominant hand. Use a small spoon or the tip of your knife to scrape out the seeds and any white membrane from the center of each ring.

Note: Don’t forget to wash your hands! Avoid touching your eyes and face, and scrub with soapy water. You may want to use gloves if you have sensitive or dry skin.

Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (8)

What to Serve with Chickpeas in Creamy Pesto Sauce

This simple pantry dinner is hearty enough to satisfy two hungry people on its own. If you have more mouths to feed or want leftovers, this recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, and so on.

I also love these braised chickpeas as an unexpected appetizer for 4. Kick things off with small servings of creamy pesto chickpeas, passing a baguette around the table for dipping. For the main course, go with something light and delicate, like One-Pan Baked Halibut With Vegetables. Or, for a vegetarian dinner, serve with Roasted Fennel With Parmigiano Cheese.

More Canned Chickpeas Recipes

  • Lablabi (Tunisian Chickpea Stew)
  • Fatteh (Spiced Chickpeas with Crispy Pita and Garlicky Yogurt)
  • Easy Hummus Recipe (Authentic and Homemade)
  • Easy Mediterranean Chickpea Soup Recipe

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

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(Video) Pesto Chickpeas (Healthy Chickpea Recipe)

Nocellara - Italian EVOO

Buttery and smooth, our Nocellara-Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil will add just the right amount of richness to your braised chickpeas.

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(Video) Braised Chickpeas Healthy Mediterranean style

Braised Chickpeas in a Creamy Pesto Sauce

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Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (14)Suzy Karadsheh

Creamy Braised Chickpeas | The Mediterranean Dish (15)

Prep – 10 mins

Cook – 25 mins

Total – 35 mins



(Video) Healthy Dinner with Two Cans of Chickpeas!

Serves – 4




For the Fried Lemon Rings

  • 2 Large lemons, washed dried and very thinly sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon sumac, optional

For the Chickpeas

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
  • Kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • cup basil pesto, more for later
  • cup whole milk or cream
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 Fried Lemon Rings, optional
  • Crusty bread, for serving


For the fried lemon rings:

  • Fry the lemon rings: Make sure you’ve removed any seeds from the lemon slices. In a small skillet set over medium heat, add ¼ cup olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer (don’t let it smoke). Use tongs to carefully slide the lemon slices into the oil. They could splatter so if you have a splatter guard this is a good time to use it. Cook, turning the lemon slices occasionally, until they are crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Drain the lemons: Line a plate with paper towels and set aside. Remove the skillet from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried lemons to the paper towel-lined plate. Immediately season with a big pinch of salt (about ½ teaspoon) and sumac, if using. Set aside. Don’t toss the lemon infused oil in the pan. Let it cool then add it to vinaigrettes, use for dipping crusty bread or drizzle over roasted vegetables.

    (Video) Eggplant Chickpea/Garbanzo Stew Recipe 🍆 Tasty + Easy to Make Vegan Stew in One Pot!

For the chickpeas:

  • Heat the chickpeas: Into a medium saucepan, add 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chickpeas and their liquid. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the chickpeas to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until very soft. Remove from the heat.

  • Finish the chickpeas: Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, basil pesto, milk (or cream). Garnish with sliced jalapeños and fried lemon rings (if using).

  • Serve: Transfer the braised chickpea to serving bowls and serve with a side of crusty bread.



  • Remember to wash your hands with soapy water after slicing the jalapeño (or wear gloves). Avoid touching your face or eyes for a bit!
  • The braised chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.


Calories: 241.9kcalCarbohydrates: 29.7gProtein: 9.6gFat: 11.3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.8gCholesterol: 4.1mgSodium: 596.8mgPotassium: 357.5mgFiber: 9gSugar: 3.9gVitamin A: 526.8IUVitamin C: 48.1mgCalcium: 129.8mgIron: 2.4mg

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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(Video) Greek chickpea stew | Akis Petretzikis


Do you need to cook canned chickpeas? ›

Canned chickpeas are pre-cooked chickpeas. You can eat canned chickpeas straight out of the can! (Just be sure to rinse them off before chowing down to wash out excess sodium) Otherwise, you can roast them or turn them into any number of delicious dishes, like these here.

How do you eat canned chickpeas? ›

What to do with canned chickpeas
  1. Make a curry. Cook 2 crushed cloves garlic, 1 chopped onion, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder in a little olive oil for 1-2 minutes. ...
  2. Toss a salad. ...
  3. Bake a snack. ...
  4. Add to soups. ...
  5. Dip into hummus. ...
  6. Make some falafel. ...
  7. Mash it up. ...
  8. Cook a casserole.

How do you soften canned chickpeas? ›

Put the chickpeas in a large pot and cover them with plenty of water, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off, then cover and let the chickpeas soak for 1 hour or until softened.

What happens if you don't rinse canned chickpeas? ›

Not rinsing the beans first.

Not only is this liquid extra starchy, but it's also usually full of sodium. Unless a recipe specifically calls for using this liquid, it won't be a welcome addition to your dish.

What happens if you don't cook chickpeas? ›

And there's only one rule for eating chickpeas: Make sure they're fully cooked beforehand! Aside from being too hard to eat when they're dry, uncooked chickpeas contain toxins like lectins which can cause food poisoning. Plus, cooking cooked chickpeas again will only make them better.

Can I cook chickpeas straight from the can? ›

Canned or jarred chickpeas just need to be reheated if you are eating them in a hot dish, or can be used straight from the can for a recipe like hummus. Like dried chickpeas, they vary in quality and size, as do some of the jarred varieties from Spain.

Can you eat the liquid in canned chickpeas? ›

The next time you open a can of chickpeas, think before you drain it. It turns out, that leftover liquid is kind of magic. Known as aquafaba or chickpea water, it can be used as a vegan substitute in many recipes that call for eggs or egg whites.

Are all canned chickpeas pre cooked? ›

I have also been getting another question which is “are canned chickpeas cooked?” Yes, they are already cooked and ready to eat! You'll just need to drain them and rinse before you use them for your recipe.

Are chickpeas and garbanzo beans the same? ›

The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cicer, referring to the plant family of legumes, Fabaceae. It is also known by its popular Spanish-derived name, the garbanzo bean.

How do you know when chickpeas are cooked enough? ›

You should stir the garbanzo beans a few times throughout the cooking process to ensure that they get cooked evenly. You'll know the cooking process is done when you take a garbanzo bean and bite or squeeze it. You should be able to squeeze it with your fingers, and it should have a very soft consistency.

Why won't my canned chickpeas get soft? ›

The minerals in hard water can leave deposits on the beans, preventing them from softening . Solution: Use store-bought vegetable broth or bottled water. Acid. Never add anything acidic to the water when soaking or cooking chickpeas.

Why are my canned chickpeas still hard after cooking? ›

If you've been cooking for hours on end and the chickpeas are still hard, it could simply be that they're very old. If you're really struggling, you could try adding ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water. This helps to break the chickpeas down, but might affect the final taste.

Why add baking soda to canned chickpeas? ›

The alkaline environment created by the baking soda helps break down the pectin in the beans, softening the beans' skins so well that they disintegrate during cooking and are easily rinsed away.

Should you use the liquid in canned beans? ›

So the starchy liquid that lives in the can? That's your bean broth. Use that broth to thicken soups, help dips hang together—all the ways you'd use the broth with beans you cooked yourself. So stop throwing it away!

Does rinsing canned chickpeas remove the salt? ›

If you're watching your sodium intake, we have good news. In each case, draining and rinsing beans lowered the sodium by about 100 milligrams per ½-cup serving—or 20.7 to 26.5 percent. Rinsed Beans: Goya chickpeas: 24.7% less sodium.

How do you rinse canned beans to prevent gas? ›

But most people can enjoy more beans with less gas with the help of these tips: Soak beans overnight in water, then drain, rinse and cook in fresh water. This decreases the oligosaccharide content.

What is the healthiest way to eat chickpeas? ›

"Chickpeas are wonderful to add directly to your dish—like salad, pasta, or soup—for extra protein and fiber," Cannon told us. If you're craving a satisfying crunch, she recommends roasting them with avocado oil and plain ol' sea salt. To help spruce up the flavor, though, Cording likes to add fresh seasoning.

What is the healthiest way to cook chickpeas? ›

Quick-soaking method
  1. Place chickpeas in a large pan. Cover with 3 times their volume of cold water.
  2. Bring quickly to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and leave to soak for 1-2 hours.
  4. Drain. The legumes are now ready for cooking.

Which is healthier chickpeas or garbanzo beans? ›

Are there differences in nutrients between chickpeas and garbanzo beans? No, chickpeas and garbanzo beans do not have a nutritional difference, as they are the same type of legume.

Are chickpeas carbs or protein? ›

Chickpeas boast an impressive nutritional profile. They contain a moderate number of calories, providing 269 per cup (164 grams). Approximately 67% of these calories come from carbs, while the rest comes from protein and fat ( 1 ).

What is the difference between canned chickpeas and cooked chickpeas? ›

Before consumption, you have to soak them in water for a couple of hours, and then cook them for at least 45 minutes (to reduce cooking time, use an instant pot). You can then add them to different recipes and preparations. On the other hand, canned chickpeas are already pre-cooked and, most of the time, pre-seasoned.

Can dogs eat chickpeas? ›

Avoid processed chickpeas, such as those turned into hummus, which are full of spices and seasonings that, while delicious to you, can harm your dog. Stick with bland, cooked chickpeas, and skip the seasonings. Also, take care when feeding your dog canned chickpeas.

Why do people soak garbanzo beans in water before cooking it? ›

Chickpeas are soaked before boiling for two reasons – one, they need to be softened before they boil, and two, pre-soaking helps to make the beans more digestible. You can soak them quickly, as described below, or overnight if you prefer.

What do you eat with chickpeas? ›

Chickpeas work in everything from tomato-based sauces to olive oil, broth or wine-based sauces. Pair them with caramelized onions, fresh herbs, spices and array of vegetables for a burst of color, flavor and nutrients, and toss them with pasta or cooked rice.

Are canned chickpeas the same as soaked? ›

Raw chickpeas need to be soaked for eight hours or overnight. Part of what I love about canned ones is that they just need to be opened and rinsed. If soaking beans isn't your forte, don't let that stop you from leaning on chickpeas for an easy-to-make dish. Canned chickpeas are just as good.

What happens if you don't rinse canned beans? ›

Yes, it helps keep the beans preserved for long shelf life, but the liquid is mostly starch and salt which may impact the texture or flavor of a finished dish.

What is the gelatinous stuff in a chickpea can? ›

What Is It? Aquafaba is the thick liquid that results from soaking or cooking legumes, such as chickpeas, in water for an extended period of time. It's the translucent viscous goop you probably rinse down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas.

What is the liquid in a can of chickpeas called? ›

It's called aquafaba, and it's (basically) free! When we refer to aquafaba (as we often do in our cookbook on vegan cooking, Vegan for Everybody), we're talking about the liquid in a can of chickpeas. (We're not talking about the liquid in a can of any other beans.

Is it OK to eat chickpeas everyday? ›

You can eat at least one serving (28 grams) of chickpeas per day. However, don't eat more than 70 grams a day since that can cause adverse side effects. If you consume too many chickpeas, some side effects you may get include bloating, nausea, and gas.

What do chickpeas do for your body? ›

Chickpeas are high in dietary fiber, especially a soluble fiber called raffinose. The good bacteria in your gut breaks this down so your colon can digest it slowly. Studies have found that eating more chickpeas can help make bowel movements easier and more regular. They can help lower cholesterol.

How healthy are canned chickpeas? ›

Research shows chickpeas are beneficial for weight management, blood sugar regulation, heart disease, and digestive health (1). Chickpeas (both the canned and dried varieties) are rich in dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, β-carotene, iron, potassium, and B vitamins (1, 6, 7).

What do Mexicans call chickpeas? ›

Guasanas are green chickpeas.

Are chickpeas a vegetable or protein? ›

They come from a plant — in fact, Lane notes they're one of the earliest cultivated vegetables in history — and grow two to three to a pod. However, chickpeas are considered to be both a vegetable and a protein because they're so nutritious. Some people even consider them a superfood.

Why do chickpeas have two names? ›

The word chickpea derives from the Latin word cicer arietinum, which is the scientific name for the actual plant (many other legumes derive from the word cicer arietinum as well), while the name garbanzo bean comes from a Spanish background. So really, there is no wrong answer. Both are correct!

Should canned chickpeas be rinsed before eating? ›

If you are using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them with water to cut the sodium (salt) content by almost a half. Rinse well in cold water to make them easier to digest and less gas-producing.

Do you simmer chickpeas covered or uncovered? ›

Method for Stovetop, Uncovered

Cover by a few inches with water, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook at a simmer until tender, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Can you eat chickpeas al dente? ›

However, I actually prefer chickpeas cooked slightly al dente, when they still have a light crunch as I bite into them. They're better for salads, and I love snacking on them. And yes, I do actually eat chickpeas as a snack. Of course, others may prefer chickpeas on the softer side and that's completely fine!

What happens if you overcook chickpeas? ›

Can you overcook chickpeas? Absolutely. The more you cook them, the softer they will get. While soft chickpeas are great for certain recipes, for others it will not give you the end result you are looking for.

How do you get chickpeas to absorb flavor? ›

Mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, parsley, dried oregano, salt and pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Drain the chickpeas then add the chickpeas and mix. Let the chickpeas sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour to absorb flavour.

Can I boil canned chickpeas to make them softer? ›

Boiling canned chickpeas in water for 20 minutes before puréeing them gives you the silky-smooth texture you normally only get in hummus made from dried beans.

Does baking soda soften canned chickpeas? ›

Here's my time-saving solution: Just boil canned or leftover cooked chickpeas with baking soda for twenty minutes. You can see the difference that baking soda makes in the photo below. See how the chickpeas on the right are popping open more? They are significantly softer in texture as well.

How to make canned chickpeas tasty? ›

Fresh garlic: In a pinch you can ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. But fresh garlic is the best way to instant flavor. Smoked paprika: The smoked Spanish variety of paprika adds just the right smoky undertone (and you can use it in lots of other recipes). Substitute standard paprika if you can't find it.

Why did my chickpeas turn black? ›

Rinse the chickpeas before adding them into a pot. Fill the pot with water to slightly above the chickpeas. Some add baking soda at this point instead of during the soaking time, however, do not do this with an aluminum pot. Baking soda will react with the aluminum and cause your chickpeas to turn a dark/black color.

Can you use chickpeas straight from the can? ›

Canned or jarred chickpeas just need to be reheated if you are eating them in a hot dish, or can be used straight from the can for a recipe like hummus. Like dried chickpeas, they vary in quality and size, as do some of the jarred varieties from Spain.

Are canned chickpeas still healthy? ›

Great news! Both canned and dried varieties of chickpeas are nutritious! When purchasing canned varieties, look for those labeled "no salt added" or "low in sodium." Overall, beans are budget-friendly, but dried can often be less expensive and also more flavorful than canned.

Are chickpeas and garbanzo beans the same thing? ›

The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cicer, referring to the plant family of legumes, Fabaceae. It is also known by its popular Spanish-derived name, the garbanzo bean. Kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and peanuts are other familiar foods found in this legume family.

Is there a difference between garbanzo beans and chickpeas? ›

Have you ever wondered why some people call these beans chickpeas and some say garbanzo beans? We're here to settle the great garbanzo bean vs. chickpea debate once and for all. Believe it or not, chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing – it's all just semantics!

Are chickpeas anti inflammatory? ›

Rich in protein and fiber, chickpeas are also low-glycemic carbohydrates and full of inflammation-fighting nutrients.

Are chickpeas good for kidneys? ›

Chickpeas are a nutritious addition to your renal diet for chronic kidney disease. They are low- to moderate in potassium, but when included in healthy portions, they are not an issue. Chickpeas are also a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins, and minerals.

Is it better to buy canned or dry chickpeas? ›

They are the basis for foods like hummus and falafel and, while it is convenient to use canned chickpeas, dried chickpeas really are a better option. Dried chickpeas are much more economical and they tend to have a more natural flavor because they aren't soaked in preservatives.

Do dried chickpeas taste better than canned? ›

If time is on your side, it's worth making the effort to cook dried chickpeas from scratch: They taste better than their tinned counterparts. They are creamier inside but also have more of a bite. You have full control over any additional flavours and textures.


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