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5 from 10 votes

Chickpea Rice

This Indian inspired chickpea rice pilaf comes together quickly and easily with pantry staples. Nutty chickpeas, peanuts and veggies like bell peppers and squash fleck garam-masala-spiced brown rice, making each mouthful an adventure in texture and flavor. This is a gluten free, soy free, vegan recipe and it can easily be nut-free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course/Rice
Cuisine: Indian inspired
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Chickpea Rice
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 270kcal



  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper (use more for more heat, less for a milder recipe. Remove ribs and seeds if sensitive to heat)
  • ¼ cup peanuts (skip if nut-free)
  • 1 medium yellow squash (or zucchini)
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 cups chickpeas (cooked or canned. 1 cup of dry chickpeas or 2 14-oz cans yield about 3 cups cooked chickpeas. Make sure you drain out all liquid)
  • 3 cups brown rice (cooked. 1 cup dry rice yields approximately 3 cups when cooked)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro


  • Heat oil in a large wok or skillet.
  • Add the cumin seeds and, when they begin to darken in a few seconds, then add in the peanuts and saute a couple of minutes.
  • Add the onions and saute until they are soft.
  • Mix in the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
  • Add in the zucchini and bell peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes until they get fairly tender.
  • Add the tomatoes and toss quickly.
  • Stir in the powdered spices--turmeric and garam masala -- and mix with the veggies.
  • Add in the chickpeas, stir them in, and then add the rice. Check salt and add more if needed.
  • Toss the rice gently with the chickpeas and veggies, taking care not to break the rice grains, and once the rice is coated evenly with the masalas, place a lid on the skillet and let the rice steam for a couple of minutes just so it warms through.
  • Sprinkle on the cilantro and serve hot.


  • For more crunch, increase the quantity of peanuts to ½ cup.
  • If you cook the rice from scratch add a bit of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper to it so the rice has some flavor. You can also add in a couple of bay leaves.
  • When making any flavored rice, make sure you don't overhandle or stir the rice too much as that could break the rice grains and turn the rice gummy. Stir just enough to mix, then stop.
  • You can substitute the brown rice for an equal quantity of white rice -- a long-grain rice like basmati rice works best. Light brown rice, or hand-pounded rice, works too!
  • You can make this chickpea rice low-carb by using cauliflower rice instead of actual rice. You don't need to pre-cook the cauliflower rice. Mix it into the chickpeas, spices and veggies with ½ cup water, cover, and let it steam and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Chickpeas are really tasty here but another bean like kidney bean (rajma) or pinto beans or even black beans would be nice too in this recipe.
  • You can add as many veggies as you want to this recipe, or leave out veggies altogether (except the onions and tomatoes). You can add zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and most quick-cooking veggies.
  • The chickpea rice is a one-pot meal with veggies, carbs and proteins all present in a single bowl. Serve it with vegan raita, which complements it nicely, for maximum deliciousness. You can also serve some poppadum on the side although it's not necessary.
  • The chickpea rice keeps nicely in the fridge for up to three days. Freeze chickpea rice in an airtight container for up to four months. Reheat frozen rice or refrigerated rice in the microwave or thaw and reheat in a skillet over the stovetop.


Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 524mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1314IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 2mg