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Arroz con Garbanzos (Chickpea Rice)

January 03, 2022
Courtesy the authorCourtesy the author

Arroz con garbanzos is one of those recipes that appears simple but packs a punch in terms of flavor and substance. This dish may be redolent of the many variations of Mediterranean Sephardic pilaf to the food enthusiast. Yet, the chickpeas give it a hearty balance and add an extra layer of texture. My family has been making this recipe for ages, passed down from generation to generation of women. Arroz con garbanzos has a distinct fragrant bitterness and a trademark yellow color given by the turmeric; bay leaves and currants add a sweet touch. When I was a child, I remember my mother serving it with poached or fried eggs and lots of cilantro sprigs sprinkled on top.


  • 1 ¾cups long-grain rice
  • 3 ½tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½teaspoon turmeric
  • 1cup cooked and drained chickpeas
  • 3fresh bay leaves
  • 2tablespoons currants
  • 2cups vegetable stock
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½cup cilantro leaves or sprigs finely chopped or crushed
Yield: Serves 4


  • Step 1

    Wash the rice under cold water until it’s no longer cloudy, then drain. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the cumin, and toast the seeds for two minutes. Next, add rice and turmeric and stir well for over two minutes until the grains are well coated in oil.

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, place the vegetable stock over medium heat, avoiding letting the stock boil. Add the chickpeas, currants, and bay leaves and stir for one minute.

  • Step 3

    Pour in the hot vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over moderate heat for about 17-20 minutes or until the rice is soft. If the rice dries too soon, add ¼ cup of water and adjust the salt and pepper. Garnish with the cilantro on top. Serve hot.