Five Ways to Cook a Can of Chickpeas

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I’m constantly reconsidering and reorganizing my pantry, but there are a few things I like to keep well stocked regardless of the season: lentils and dried beans, canned coconut and canned tomatoes, nuts and nut butters, etc.

These are my anchors, and if I have to cook in between trips to the grocery store or the farmers market, when the kitchen seems spare, I know I can still put together something quick, cheap and nourishing.

Canned chickpeas are at the top of this list. Before using a can, I pour it into a sieve and give the chickpeas a quick rinse under running water. Then, depending on how I want to prepare them, they’re ready to anchor a curry, add substance to pasta, fill a sandwich or turn a puny salad into a proper meal. Here are five different directions to take one can:

You can use the chickpeas straight from the can, if you season them well. To make Kay Chun’s monster salad sandwich with sprouts and avocado, mash the chickpeas up using a fork, mixing them with a bit of tahini, lemon juice and garlic, then mix in some celery, scallions and cheese.

Simply roast canned chickpeas and torn bread in olive oil until they’re golden and crisp, then toss them with dressed kale and lettuce for Becky Hughes’s delicious vegan Caesar salad made with a luxuriously creamy cashew dressing.

Nigella Lawson’s pumpkin hot pot makes the most of two important staples in my kitchen — canned coconut milk and canned chickpeas — simmering them together with a bit of sautéed curry paste and a lot of pumpkin. It’s a cozy, comforting dish, and the leftovers are great, if you have any!

Frying chickpeas out of the can changes their character entirely, making the most of their firmness and giving them crisp, olive-oil-soaked skins. I like how Alexa Weibel saves some to garnish this creamy pasta dish, and lets the rest soften with spinach, for the maximum range of textures.

It might sound a little counterintuitive when I suggest adding ice water to your hummus, but in this quick recipe from Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook, it helps the canned chickpeas and tahini become supersmooth, airy and light.


I may have to completely rethink my open pantry (because of a naughty dog!) and would love to see more home setups for inspiration — and, honestly, out of a deep love and curiosity for home kitchens. If you’d like to share a photo with me, knowing that I might share it in the newsletter, you can email me: [email protected]

As always, thanks for reading. I won’t see you here next week, but I’ve invited a special guest to take over the newsletter. 😊

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