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Real Food: Chickpeas

Chickpeas are the tastiest and most useful of the dried beans, and are rich in protein and carbohydrates. They are popular in India, North Africa and especially the Middle East (where the recipes here come from).

Chickpeas blend well with goats' cheese, roasted peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, lamb, mint, coriander and Indian spices. Tinned chickpeas are acceptable but dried ones are best.

Most books recommend overnight soaking, but the following hot soak works just as well.

Hot soaked chickpeas

Cover the dried chickpeas with lots of cold water, bring to a steady boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat soak for one to two hours. Add fresh water and simmer for two to three hours. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Bulgur and Chickpea Salad (From Claudia Roden's Arabesque.)

Soak 200g of bulgur in cold water for 20 minutes. Mix two smashed garlic cloves, the juice of two lemons, salt, pepper and 7tbs of olive oil, then add 250g of cooked chickpeas. Leave for 10 minutes before adding the bulgur and large bunch of chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint.


Add 600g of cooked chickpeas, two garlic cloves, the juice of two lemons, 5tbs of tahini and salt to a food processor and blend. Add a little chickpea water until the hummus is creamy. Blend in some of the 6-8tbs of olive oil and pour a little over the hummus once in a bowl.

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