Dinner Plans: Chickpeas

Prep 3 Delicious Meals with a Single Batch of Chickpeas

Bowl of chickpeas
Michael Möller / EyeEm/Getty Images

Chickpeas are affordable, accessible (you can find them in any grocery store), nutritious, and extremely versatile. They’re essential in all kinds of dishes, all over the world. Think of a bag of dried chickpeas as your gateway to several diverse and delicious dinners. You can soak beans overnight before cooking, but the quick soak method allows you to cook a big batch without having to start a day ahead (or to refrigerate them as they soak).

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The Shortcut to Soaking and Cooking Dried Chickpeas

Game Plan

Time: 2 1/2 hours

  1. Quick or slow soak 1 1/2 pounds chickpeas with a tablespoon of salt.
  2. Put the soaked chickpeas in a large pot and cover with twice as much water. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 1 hour, then taste to make sure they are tender. 
  4. Drain (reserve 1 cup cooking liquid for another recipe), and cool 15 minutes.
  5. Reserve 1½ cups to serve with Israeli couscous; then cool and refrigerate the rest, divided into separate containers for the next 2 dinners. Freeze remaining chickpeas in a zip-top plastic bag (lay the bag flat, for easier storage).
  6. Organize and prep the ingredients for the other two dinners while you cook the chickpeas, to save time and ease cleanup.

Prep Day Dinner: Isreali Couscous

Serve this couscous and chickpea salad as a vegetarian main course, or alongside grilled chicken or grilled fish. Since it’s seasoned with the same spices as falafel, try it with a drizzle of tahini sauce

Falafel Spiced Middle Eastern Couscous
Falafel Spiced Middle Eastern Couscous.  Anita Schecter

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas.
  • Roast the chickpeas and cherry tomatoes together on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through for even browning.
  • Toast the Israeli couscous in a teaspoon of olive oil before cooking, for more flavor.

Veggie Burger Night

Cooked chickpeas make an excellent base for meatless burgers. Here, they are held together with 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (try using chickpea flour to make them gluten-free.) A mayo-free cole slaw is a refreshing side.

Vegan Chickpea Veggie Burgers
The Spruce

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained well and patted dry (extra liquid keep the patties from holding together as they cook).
  • Make the slaw in the morning (or night before), and refrigerate until dinner time. 
  • Use a potato masher to crush the chickpeas. A few lumps are better than a smooth puree here.
  • Bake the patties at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes instead of frying them in a skillet, and use that time to slice tomatoes and onions for toppings.

Indian Chana Masala Night 

This classic vegetarian chana masala, found on any Indian restaurant menu, is easy to make at home, especially with cooked chickpeas at the ready. Serve it over basmati rice; add store-bought naan (Indian flatbread) and a simple cucumber raita if you have extra time.

Chana masala spicy chickpeas with spinach recipe
Chickpeas and spinach. Emily Hawkes for The Spruce

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas.
  • Make your own garam masala, an Indian spice blend, if you don’t have it in your pantry. 
  • Add some cubed tofu when you add the chickpeas. 
  • Prep spinach (wash and dry well, and remove thick stems) while the chickpeas simmer. 

Essential Info

Dinner Plans is a realistic guide to help make your week easier, by putting in a few hours of work (planning, shopping, and prepping) at the outset. And who knows? You just might discover your new favorite weeknight recipe in the process! 

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