Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chili Lime Chickpeas

In this recipe, chickpeas are spiked with fresh lime, spicy chili, earthy cumin and smoky paprika. The dish is finished with a little creme fraiche. Creme fraiche counters the heat of the chili and lends its luxurious creaminess. I love using creme fraiche in recipes because it's delicious and it can withstand heat without separating, Think of it as French sour cream. I find it in my regular supermarket or at Trader Joe's. But you can leave it out or swap it for regular sour cream with good results.

The meal comes together in less than 30 minutes. Pair it with rice and you've got a complete protein. Swap the chickpeas for black beans if that's what you prefer. Use all or part of one jalapeno as some peppers are hotter than others. Liquid smoke is an optional ingredient too. I love it in this recipe because it enhances the smoky flavor, which is what makes this vegetarian dish so satisfying and good. Liquid smoke is strong, so only use a drop or two. Creamy, smoky, tangy, spicy...this humble bean dish is anything but boring.

Chili Lime Chickpeas Recipe

Makes About 4 Cups


  • 6 scallions, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper, diced. You pick the color.
  • 1 small lime, zest about half of it and juice it
  • 1 garlic clove minced. I use a microplane zester to mince it. 
  • 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes, I use Pomi Finely Diced Tomatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of creme fraiche (optional but so good) 
  • Drizzle of honey or pinch of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 drops of liquid smoke (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking. I use olive oil. 
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • To Serve: fresh herbs such as parsley, basil or cilantro, lime wedges, rice, pita, cucumber salad with honey lime dressing 


In a large fry pan, saute the scallions, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper in oil with some salt until tender. Add the cumin and smoked paprika and saute for a minute to toast the spices and release the oils. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, chickpeas, honey, liquid smoke (if using) and water. Adjust the salt. Turn down the heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the flavors meld and mellow. At the end of cooking, stir in the lime zest, some lime juice and the creme fraiche.  Serve with any of the above suggestions.

Bon Appetit!

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