Simple Middle Eastern Chickpea Pilaf

close-up of chickpeas in a bowl
Michael Möller / EyeEm / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
423 Calories
6g Fat
75g Carbs
19g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 423
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 527mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 75g 27%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Protein 19g
Calcium 128mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Traditional pilaf gets new life with the addition of chickpeas in this revamped Middle Eastern recipe. Pilaf, also known as pilav, is a traditional rice dish that is widely popular across the Middle East, East Africa, and in Southern and Eastern Asia. Basic pilaf is a simple recipe that calls for cooking rice in a seasoned broth, but most important to this cooking method is that each grain of rice remains separate when cooked. This results in plump individual grains rather than the all too typical sticky rice mush. Historic Arabic texts referring to pilaf date all the way back to the 13th century.

Though there are literally hundreds of pilaf recipes with origins from Turkey to Turkmenistan, there are some common additions. In some cases, the rice is given extra flavor and color with the addition of onions that have been sautéed until slightly brown along with other local spices. Depending on the region and local culinary traditions, pilaf can also be made with meat, fish, vegetables, or even dried fruit making it a very adaptable dish that can be served as a side dish or entrée.

The type of rice used to make pilaf varies along with the recipe, but most consider long-grain basmati rice a perfect choice. In this recipe, chickpeas offer fantastic flavor and texture and the use of canned chickpeas takes an already simple recipe to another level of ease. Try some with your next meal of chicken or lamb. Nothing goes more perfectly together!


  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain or converted white rice (uncooked)
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 3/4 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Drain chickpeas and rinse thoroughly and set aside.

  2. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and a light golden color.

  3. Add chicken stock or broth and bring to a boil.

  4. Stir in uncooked rice, drained chickpeas, salt, and pepper. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer on low heat for twenty minutes.

  5. After twenty minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes.

  6. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.