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I just reorganized my pantry and found many cans of chickpeas, which reminded me that I haven’t made this old standby in ages.  When my house was full of hungry kids with lots of homework that needed supervising, this was a lifesaver. I could get a high-protein, filling dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. And inexpensively too, no mean feat these days. 

Now I have my own projects to attend to, happily many of them knitting WIPs, and this past weekend I was grateful for those cans of chickpeas.

It’s a jumble because you can add almost anything to it and it’s delicious. I usually go with the additions of ground turkey and lots of warm spices, herbs, and soft leaves like spinach or chard. Other ground proteins work well, especially lamb and plant-based meat substitutes. The yogurt topping is rich in just the right tangy way.

The most important step is the crisping of the chickpeas. Don’t rush this step—it brings out the nuttiness of the chickpeas and makes for a meal with satisfying texture.

It goes like this . . .


¼ cup plus 2T vegetable or olive oil

2 cans chickpeas (15 oz each), rinsed, well drained

1 T ground cumin

1 T ground coriander seed

1 T turmeric

½ t cayenne

1 t salt

Black pepper to taste

1 lb ground turkey

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz fresh spinach

½ bunch each fresh cilantro and parsley, coarsely chopped

plain yogurt (for serving)


Lay drained chickpeas on a tea towel or paper towels and roll them around to get as dry as possible.  

Mix together all the dry spices, including salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat ¼ cup of oil in a 12″ or larger skillet until hot but not smoking. Add the chickpeas and let them sizzle and fry, stirring frequently, until they are crispy, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle half the spices over the chickpeas, give them a shake to evenly distribute, then remove chickpeas from the skillet and set aside.

Add remaining oil to skillet and sauté the onion until golden.

Stir in the garlic, then add the turkey. Sauté until the turkey is lightly browned.

Add the remaining spices.

Add the spinach and stir until wilted. If your spinach was very dry you might need a splash of water to get the wilting going.

Return the chickpeas to the pan, then add the cilantro and the parsley and stir to combine. Taste one last time for salt and pepper. 

Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt. Serves 4–6 


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About The Author

For Sarah Ross, everyday cooking is about winging it—with a classic or an old favorite recipe given to her by a friend. These are the recipes that get stained with spills from being on repeat, the ones to share.


  • Oh this sounds wonderful thanx for the recipe!! I eat loads of chickpeas a quick and easy protein source!!

  • Can’t wait to try this!!

    • Hope you do, I love it at the end of the week when I’m tired and hungry.

  • Any suggestion on how to adapt the cooking method for using dried chickpeas instead of canned? Sounds like a favorite flavor profile; might even add a sprinkle of za’atar.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • We batch cook chickpeas in our pressure cooker and substitute for canned. 1 c dried is about 2 c cooked and a can has about 1.5 c. So 1.5 c dried is 2 cans.

      • Exactly. Also, chickpeas freeze well in their cooking liquid in case you cook a whole dry pound and don’t want to use them all right away. I prefer dry beans but always have cans on hand for lazyness.

  • This sounds delicious. Sarah, would you say this is super spicy hot?

    • I’m quite sensitive to hot, made the recipe as written and had no issue at all. It was delicious!

    • Agree with Deepa, just a hint of heat in this version. Feel feel to leave out the cayenne if you are sensitive. It will still be delicious.

      • I made this for my dinner tonight and loved it. I followed the recipe exactly except only used 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, which worked great for me.

    • Looks like the only heat is from the 1/2 tsp cayenne, so you can adjust that down to 1/4 or even 1/8 tsp if you are very sensitive. The other spices are flavor, not heat.

      • Thank you, Deepa. That helps a lot.

  • Thanks Sarah, this looks so good that I am soaking some chickpeas right now.

    • Just right and one pot! More time for WIPs! Thanks!

      • All hail one pot!

  • I make vegetarian chickpeas all the time, but am super intrigued by the addition of the turkey and the crisping of the chickpeas. The spices are the ones in my masala dabba (spice box)! I am only tempted to add a mustard seed tadka to what is already a stellar recipe. Thanks, Sarah!

    • I made this for dinner yesterday, and it was a hit! Thanks, Sarah! I can never resist tinkering with a recipe so l did add a mustard tadka and subbed ground pork (we all consider turkey a bit bland). Also, I sprayed the chickpeas with oil and baked them at 450 in the oven to crisp them up. Squeezed a little lemon on top to finish.

      Adding a bit of fresh green chilies is an excellent idea. Sadly my kids are wimps.

      Next time I will add a smidge of garam masala and amchur. This will be cooked frequently in our household!

    • Thank you Deepa, sounds like your spice game is very strong. I’m going to take your suggestion and add tadka next time, and maybe some fresh chilies too.

  • Oh my, this sounds wonderful! Going to give it a try.

    Just a suggestion for MDK …is there a way recipes be made printable in the future?

    • In the meantime, you might try something like “Copy Me That” — it’s an app/website that takes the “recipe” part of a cooking post and saves it for you in a more printable form. I have a button on my browser (I use firefox) that I just pressed to save this one to my recipe files. I don’t know how it works on other platforms, etc, but I find it really helpful.

  • Why lookee here, cans of chickpeas nearing expiry date, up front in the pantry. Thanks for the recipe!

  • A perfect recipe! There’s dinner tonight. Garbanzo fan from infancy here, and yes, I grew up in the part of the world that knows them as garbanzos, not chickpeas. Even the cans are labeled “garbanzo beans”. Important to know the synonyms if you’re moving about the globe!

    • I just learned on Tiktok that the reason there are two names in the US is because one name came to the US with French and Italian speakers (who call them poi chiches or ceci, which were translated to chick peas) and the other name came via Spanish. In Omaha where I grew up, they were labeled garbanzo beans, but chickpeas seems to be the dominant name in New York.

  • I planning a batch cooking of dried chipeas this weekend. This looks like perfect inspiration!

  • I always love your recipes! Thanks for another dinner to look forward to.

    • Thanks so much Sam.

  • I love garbanzo beans, and this looks delicious! I’ll probably make it with mushrooms instead of meat, since I have them on hand. Tomorrow looks like a Snow Day, so I’m planning some cozy cooking 🙂

  • We had it for dinner last night after I veganized it. Very good, thank you!

  • Made it for supper last evening. Loved it! and there’s more for tonight. Have already passed this recipe on.

  • The yarn is very expensive for those of us who aren’t rich.

  • Thank you, Sarah! Just made this tonight. My 9 yr old was eating the crunchy spicy chickpeas before I got the rest of it cooked. It’s a winner!

  • I’m a sucker for anything with chickpeas. Made this for dinner last night. There’s a bit of prep required what with all the chopping, but it comes together quickly once that ‘s done. And OMG, it’s delicious! Even my husband, who isn’t quite on board with my “more beans/legumes!” kick, said he liked it, and he’s learned not to say that unless he means it, because once said, it’s in the rotation!

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