Playing with Chickpeas

Playing with Chickpeas


Chickpeas are the basis for Middle Eastern foods like hummus and falafel and Indian curry dishes. I always have chickpeas and lentils in the pantry and every time I make a dish with them, I am transported back to my backpacking days.

While tinned pulses are convenient, dried chickpeas and lentils are better value, have a higher nutritional value and tend to have better flavour. The only drawback is that you must soak them before you can cook them.


Did you know?

Sprouted chickpeas and lentils can be frozen to be used later, so it’s worthwhile sprouting a large batch so that you always have them handy. Generally, they will keep for a week in the fridge.


Winter Warmer Chickpea and Lentil Curry

This is a go-to for my family, including my student daughter. Economical, plant-based and so easy to make. (Approximately 30 minutes and feeds 4 people).

This protein packed bowl of yummy spiciness is just the thing for a cold winter’s evening. I spent my teens in Durban, so I like a proper curry, but feel free to play with the spice and the textures to taste. I often throw in pumpkin, butternut, and other root veggies to boost the vitamins and feel virtuous!



What you need from the pantry:

2 tbsp  olive oil or coconut oil

2 cups sprouted and drained  chickpeas (Soak for 2-3 days, or as per packet instructions)

2 cups sprouted and drained  lentils (any colour is fine; you can also use split green peas)

1 large onion chopped

1/2 tsp  chilli

1 tsp  cumin seeds

1 tsp  mustard seeds (any colour is fine)

1 tbsp curry powder (Good Life Marvellous Masala)

1 tsp  cinnamon

1 tsp  turmeric

Salt to taste

6 cardamom pods (press lightly under a flat knife to crack them.)

400g can chopped tomato

1 cups vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk (the coconut gives it a creamier, more delicate flavour)



2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

3 garlic cloves peeled & crushed or 1tsp  dried garlic

2 cm ginger peeled and finely chopped or 1 tsp  ginger powder

2-3 sweet potatoes and/or root vegetables

Handful of fresh coriander for garnish (optional)



coconut milk

naan bread (for that finger licking experience)

basmati rice


  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil in a large heavy base pot.
  2. Add 1 chopped onion and cook until softened.
  3. Add the curry and spices and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, then add the chunks of sweet potatoes and/or root vegetables.
  5. Pour in vegetable stock and chopped tomatoes. Stir in lentils and chickpeas. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 mins or until the chickpeas, lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Add 1 cup coconut
  8. Garnish with coriander and serve with sides of your choice.


Hummus Dip


What you need from the pantry:

2 cups drained, cooked chickpeas.

3 T  extra-virgin olive oil.

3 T  tahini

salt and  black pepper to taste



2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1-2 cloves garlic crushed.



pita wedges

raw sliced vegetables

veggie chips



  1. Drain and rinse the cooked chickpeas into a strainer. *
  2. Combine the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed
  4. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients as preferred. If the hummus is too thick, you can add a little water or extra oil.
  5. Optional – add a sprinkle of cumin, paprika or harissa or lightly toast almonds or pinenuts and sprinkle on top.

*Soak the dried chickpeas overnight (8 hours) in at least 3 x the amount of water. Rinse, then bring to boil and simmer for 1-2 hours until tender. Sprouted chickpeas will need less cooking time.


Hummus will keep for up to 1 week in a sealed container in the fridge.


Spicy Chickpea Snack


What you need from the pantry:

2 cups sprouted  chickpeas 

2-3 tsp  extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp  turmeric

1/2 tsp  crushed red chilis or  cayenne to taste

salt to taste 



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160° Celsius
  2. Rinse the sprouted chickpeas and pat dry. (The drier, the crispier.)
  3. In a bowl, add the chickpeas, turmeric, spices, and salt and mix well. Add the oil ensure they are lightly coated.
  4. Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 35-40 minutes. Rather under than overbake!
  5. Cool and serve!


*To sprout dried chickpeas, soak chickpeas overnight in 3 times the amount of water. Drain, rinse, repeat morning and evening for 2-3 days.


By Jan Askew