5/08/22

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice

A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal. 

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This is going to be one of those recipes you’ll just have to trust me on. If you’re like me, you’ll see the ingredients and be like… nah, thanks, but ummm… none for me {with an awkward grin}.

That’s exactly what I said when Mama told me what she was cooking the first time I had the dish I based this recipe on.

Mama saw a video that Chef Jacques Pepin shared on FB of a dish he often made for his wife (who was of Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage) for his unique version of Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken & Rice).

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.

Mama said, It’s a recipe with garbanzo beans and chicken wings boiled in rice with cilantro stems. Seriously, even if it IS Jacques Pepin’s recipe, I was not the slightest bit interested from the way she described it.

She literally made me try it anyway… and guess what… it was extraordinarily delicious!! Like, I couldn’t stop thinking about it delicious!

The chicken wings were somewhat of a gummy mess and required getting your fingers greasy to get any meat so I didn’t really care about them but it’s OK because it was everything else that was so damn delicious!

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.

The creamy pops of beans with the toothy rice and the silky tomatoes was SUCH a great combination! I know, it doesn’t sound that special but I’m telling you, IT IS!! 

The garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and tomatoes leaned very Mediterranean to me so I came up with my own version without the cilantro stems. I also left out the chicken wings because I wanted to make it into a side dish. This is fabulous with roasted chicken or lamb, grilled kebabs and souvlaki, lamb chops, baked fish or any Mediterranean or Greek main dishes. 

I may have left the cilantro stems out, but I added coriander which still had a hint of the same taste (coriander is dried and ground seeds from the cilantro plant). I also added oregano, in keeping with the Mediterranean or Greek vibe I was going for.

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.

This has become one of my favorite dishes to make! I’m a little obsessed with it right now, actually. I created it to be a side dish – which it is great for – but I find myself eating it by itself as a main dish a lot. 

With six of us living under one roof, our schedules are nuts so I often make a big pot of something that everybody can eat whenever. When I have this around, I’m perfectly content to have it by itself.

I mean, there are six grams of protein in 1/2 cup of chickpeas and this is made with a hefty amount of bacon so I reckon I’ll survive.

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.

Writing this recipe post has sent me on a deep dive into Mediterranean cuisine. I didn’t really realize how many countries are considered “Mediterranean” but, hello… take a look at a map of the Mediterranean Sea and see how many countries border it.

Anyway, the point is, there is a lot of variance and leeway in Mediterranean cuisine… so Karen, you won’t need to come at me in ALL-CAPS to tell me any of the ingredients aren’t Mediterranean because yes. they. are.

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.

INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING MEDITERRANEAN CHICKPEA RICE

  • Bacon
  • Chopped onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Chicken broth
  • Rice
  • Salt, spices & herbs

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.

You can totally change this up however you like best. Use whichever herbs and spices you prefer. Use whichever rice you like (basmati or extra-long grain are my favs). Any sort of peppers – bell pepper, red pepper, jalapeno, etc. – would be great additions (sauté with the onions).

You can follow Jacque’s lead and brown chicken wings in the skillet before adding the onion (or I think thighs would be better but who am I to make suggestions on Jacques Pepin’s recipe, right??).

Make this vegetarian by omitting the bacon (use about 1/3 cup olive oil instead) and subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Diced sweet potatoes would be excellent in a vegan version too!

This is a lot like Charleston Red Rice, a rice dish of the Low Country with tomatoes and bacon (plus chickpeas).

Recipe for Mediterranean Chickpea Rice

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice - A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.
mediterranean, greek, rice, pilaf, pilau, jollof, paella, perlo, chickpeas, chick peas, garbanzo, beans, tomatoes, middle eastern, vegetarian, vegan, easy, best, side dish, main dish, broth, how to, original
side dish, main dish, rice
mediterranean, greek
Yield: 6 Servings
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
Mediterranean Chickpea Rice

Mediterranean Chickpea Rice

A hearty rice recipe with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) flavored with bacon, tomatoes, onion and garlic perfect served on the side or as a main dish that easily converts to a meatless meal.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Cut bacon into small pieces then cook in a wide shallow pan or large skillet until very crispy (choose a pan that has a tight-fitting lid). Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon (leaving drippings in the pan). Set bacon aside to add back later.
  2. Add onion to bacon drippings then sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add uncooked rice and garlic then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until garlic is just starting to brown.
  3. Drain chickpeas, reserving the liquid (in case you need it later). Add tomatoes (undrained – with juice), drained chickpeas, broth, salt, pepper, oregano, coriander and red pepper. Increase heat to high then bring to a boil.
  4. Add reserved cooked bacon then stir. Reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid then cook for 20-25 minutes or until rice is done. Stir once or twice with a fork to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. If needed, add a little of the reserved liquid from chickpeas if rice starts to dry out too much before it’s done (may happen if the lid isn’t tight and steam escapes as the dish cooks).
  5. Add parsley then stir rice with a fork. Enjoy!

Notes

  • I use extra-long grain white rice because that’s what I always have but basmati would be great (and more in keeping with Mediterranean cuisine).
  • I don’t know how to convert this to brown rice or instant rice.
  • I made this batch with fire roasted diced tomatoes and thought it was even better than plain tomatoes but any will work. You can even substitute 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes.
  • You can double this recipe and cook it the same so long as the pan is at least 12 inches wide.
  • Make this vegetarian or vegan by subbing olive oil for the bacon (maybe add a little smoked paprika for taste) and using vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. I think diced sweet potatoes would be excellent in a vegetarian or vegan version of this!

Nutrition Facts

Calories

250.36

Fat

12.01

Sat. Fat

3.23

Carbs

36.99

Fiber

5.54

Net carbs

30.74

Sugar

3.55

Protein

11.62

Sodium

1106.65

Cholesterol

14.9
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11 comments:

  1. Hi Mandy! This recipe sounds delish; I love chickpeas. Thank you so much.

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  2. You had me at chick peas!!!! I grew up eating them - we call the cici's, a yummy, inexpensive protein. Looking forward to making this recipe, it looks delicious.

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  3. You've.talked me into trying this.I love cici beans(chickpeas)it sounds good

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  4. I love your recipes! You slay me every time with your comment about Minute Rice; the worst thing the food industry ever created. Little blobs of white plastic!

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    1. It always makes me think, Well no wonder you prefer potatoes over rice. I'd rather eat potatoes than instant rice too!

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  5. O wow. What a great idea! I have several cans of chick peas I need to use, so I will be making this soon! Also, this picture looks a lot like my "red" jambalaya, (without the smoked sausage) I think this will be a big hit for this Cajun family!

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    Replies
    1. It reminds me of our (Charleston) Red Rice!

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    2. I just made this and it’s very very good!! Thanks for sharing

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  6. Am I missing where you add the bacon back into the pan?

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    Replies
    1. Nope! I left that out 😬 Editing it now!

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  7. SO TASTY. We made this without bacon, it’s incredibly flavorful and we kept wanting more. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

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Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy