Chickpeas - Moroccan Casserole


Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are one of those common food products that are, in fact, an amazing superfood. Amongst the various legumes / pulses, they are also one of the most versatile and easy to handle and to digest.

I have previously referred to chickpeas as a fantastic staple food for the Late Summer – the season of transition. They are pale yellowy-brown and beautifully round – like all the best Late Summer foods: pumpkin, summer squash, yellow plums, corn kernels, lentils … I could go on. They also have a slightly sweet flavour and contain an excellent balance of protein and carbohydrate.


As with all legumes, chickpeas offer a combination of protein, low GL / slow release carbohydrate and fibre. They are a bit special, however, in their high level of protein and the low level of fat – and most of the fats are good ones. So they are a useful food for managing blood sugar levels (& potentially diabetes). They also have a great range of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. As a result, it is thought that regular consumption of chickpeas is beneficial for cardio-vascular health, bone health, blood quality, digestion and even mental health.

For a more comprehensive rundown of the nutritional and medical benefits of including chickpeas in your diet have a look at THIS MEDICAL NEWS TODAY ARTICLE.


The chickpea is one of the few vegan food products to contain the three amino acids essential for the production of creatine. This chemical is used in the building/maintenance of muscle mass & strength and in generating energy for muscle use – particularly skeletal muscle. This makes the humble chickpea an essential for those who do not want to eat meat.

Chick peas are very pretty to look at,
nutritionally diverse and filling
but also an excellent weight loss food


Part of this versatility derives from their slightly sweet flavour – that is appealing to the 21st century palate. A second factor is the structural strength of the chickpea. Even when they are very thoroughly cooked chickpeas generally hold their shape. The skin might split a little but the peas don’t dissolve to mush. At the same time, when properly cooked, they are very soft to eat – and to mash.

Hot, warm or cool they can be eaten as a snack, entrée, side dish or as an integral part of your main dish. Your chickpea dish can be prepared in advance (and keep really well) for any meal of the day. Take this opportunity to try some chickpeas …


The chickpea is a standard inclusion in all sorts of multi-bean salads. You might also like to try this fabulous QUINOA SALAD that’s perfect for Summer &/or Late Summer.


This is where chickpeas come into their own as an excellent transition food moving into Autumn.
See the feature recipe below for CHICKPEA & CORIANDER CASSEROLE

Mashed or whizzed up in FALAFEL &/or DIPS

Thinking beyond hummus and for a bit of variety, have a look at THIS YUMMLY POST that has 20 recipes for chickpea dips!!
[Admittedly, there is a bit of overlap between those 20 recipes.]


As pictured below: enhanced with oil, herbs & spices of your choice roast chickpeas make a great snack or side dish – while being actually good for you. It’s so easy to experiment with oven roasting. But, you’ll also find some simple roasting ideas on THIS POST by VEGAN HEAVEN.


Yes, you read that correctly. You can make excellent desserts – for your vegan and non-vegan friends – with chickpeas.
There are a couple of ways this can work.

Firstly, cooking/canning water for chickpeas is a remarkably good substitute for eggwhites. It whips up really well and you can, for example, make an amazing CHOCOLATE MOUSSE with this aqua fave or bean water.

Secondly, ground chickpeas make excellent flour which you can use for BAKING all sorts of cakes, biscuits and other sweet things.

FEATURE RECIPE: Chickpea and Coriander Casserole

This is a great, old favourite recipe that I have borrowed from Holly Davis’s book NOURISH. The book first appeared in 1999 and this recipe finally solved for me the mystery of how this dish, that I had enjoyed so many times at IKU, got its amazing creamy texture. HOLLY DAVIS was, of course, a co-founder of Iku Wholefoods.


  • 250g (7 oz) dry chickpeas, soaked in cold water 4 – 12 hours
    [You can also use canned chickpeas]
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 3 medium brown/yellow onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 leek, green part only, cut into thick slices, washed & drained
  • 2 medium orange sweet potatoes, scrubbed (not peeled), cut into chunks
  • 1 large cob sweetcorn, kernels cut off
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped & kept separate
  • 1 ½ bunches coriander, leaves roughly chopped, roots finely chopped & kept separate
  • 1.5 L (6 cups) stock
  • 2 tblsp umeboshi vinegar
  • ½ tsp sea salt


  1. Cook the chickpeas carefully until they are quite soft (approx. 1 hr), drain well & set aside
  2. Heat a large deep frying pan or dutch oven
  3. Pour in the oil
  4. Add onion wedges and fry for 5 mins
  5. Add the leek & continue to cook
  6. Add sweet potatoes & corn kernels
  7. Turn heat to low
  8. Add garlic & coriander root & sauté with the vegetables
  9. Add the stock, umeboshi vinegar & salt
  10. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by half
  11. At some point during the simmering, add in the chickpeas
  12. Remove one third of the mixture
  13. Blend it & return it to the pan
    [This is how you get the delicious creaminess!]
  14. Fold in the coriander leaves
  15. Reheat, serve & enjoy with sourdough bread or a wholegrain of your choice.
  16. Serves 6

However you want to try them,
please do try them.


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