Chickpea Rice Pilaf is a delicious side or main dish. Lightly seasoned and studded with red bell pepper, this vegan Mediterranean diet recipe is easy to make on the stove.
While in Asian cuisines it’s common to serve plain steamed rice as a side dish, in Mediterranean cuisines you’ll often find seasoned vegetable rice pilaf.
I like to think of these dishes as more than a side.
In fact, I often enjoy them as a main course along with a salad.
Before I learned how to make my own pilafs, I frequently bought boxed mixes of seasoned rice.
But now I know how easy it is to make dishes like Chickpea Rice at home, and I can’t wait to share my method with you!
Rice Pilaf ingredients
This recipe is very cost effective since you only need a few common ingredients to make it.
In addition, most of them are pantry staples, so you can make this rice with chickpeas whenever you want a fast and healthy meal.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Olive oil (This is the healthiest fat to consume as part of a Mediterranean diet.)
- Onion (Choose your favorite color or use whatever you have on hand.)
- Fresh garlic (Not only is garlic healthy, it gives the rice a lot of flavor.)
- Red bell pepper (You can use also use green, orange, or yellow.)
- Long-grain white rice (If you prefer to use brown rice, add more water and allow the rice to cook a little longer.)
- Cooked chickpeas (I use canned in this recipe, but you can also cook your own garbanzo beans in advance.)
- Fresh parsley (I love parsley for a burst of fresh flavor and color.)
- Salt and pepper (Season the finished pilaf according to your personal taste.)
- Lemon wedges (I like to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the rice before eating.)
How to make Chickpea Rice
Before you get started, rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer. This simple step will result in a fluffier rice pilaf.
This method for making rice with chickpeas is really quick and easy.
- Saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic, red bell pepper, and rice. Stir for a couple of minutes until the rice starts to turn translucent.
- Stir in the water and bring to a simmer.
- Lower the heat, cover the pot, and allow the rice to cook and absorb the liquid.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Add the chickpeas on top of the rice. Place a clean dish towel under the lid.
- Allow the rice and chickpeas to steam for a few minutes, then fluff it with a fork.
- Stir in fresh parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon wedges.
Chickpeas and rice serving suggestions
It’s also delicious with Green Pepper Salad with Tomatoes and homemade falafel.
Check out the post How to Make Falafel from the Mediterranean Dish Suzy’s authentic recipe.
Chickpea Rice Pilaf Recipe
This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate them for a week and reheat them in a microwave or on the stove over low heat with a little added water.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!
Chickpea Rice Pilaf
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 can chickpeas, (15 ounces) rinsed and drained
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and saute until softened and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic, red bell pepper, and rice to the pot. Stir frequently for a couple of minutes until the rice starts to look translucent.
- Stir in the water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the rice to gently simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Lift up the lid and add the chickpeas on top of the rice. Do not stir. Lay a clean dish towel over the top. Replace the lid on top of the towel and allow the rice and chickpeas to steam for 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and fold in the parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Serve with lemon wedges.