Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry Recipe

A tasty, quick, and easy stir-fry recipe featuring golden crusted, pan-fried chickpeas, chopped kale, summer squash, tofu, and a bit of lemon zest.

Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry

A quick single-skillet stir-fry thrown together with ingredients picked up at the Slow Food Nation Marketplace. There are few things tastier than golden, crusty, pan-fried chickpeas - and this is where we start. It also features chopped kale, summer squash, and a bit of tofu. I should note that I used a great locally produced ghee as the cooking medium. It has a subtle, sweet nuttiness that pairs beautifully with chickpeas and withstands high cooking temperatures nicely. A kiss of lemon juice (and a bit of zest in the pan) at the end of the cooking process sets off a fragrant finale signaling to anyone in the vicinity that it is time to eat.

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Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry Recipe

I used Soy Deli Savory Organic Tofu here, but plain is fine too.

2 tablespoon ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine, if you don't want to cook up a pot of dried chickpeas)
8 ounces extra-firm tofu
1 cup of chopped kale
2 small zucchini, chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee/olive oil In a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in a big pinch of salt, the onion, and chickpeas. Saute until the chickpeas are deeply golden and crusty. Stir in the tofu and cook just until the tofu is heated through, just a minute or so. Stir in the kale and cook for one minute more. Remove everything from the skillet onto a large plate and set aside. In the same skillet heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee/olive oil, add the zucchini and saute until it starts to take on a bit of color, two or three minutes. Add the chickpea mixture back to the skillet, and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, taste, and season with a bit more salt if needed. Turn out onto a platter and serve family style.

Serves 2 - 4.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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have you tried verdana beans? also known as pepyoke in burmese cuisine? local burmese restaurant near me serves them up. they're slightly more like a yellow split pea than a chick pea is, smaller, and slightly less tough, and has a more savory flavor than the chick pea. thanks for all the great ideas, and kiva. - b i ng chen zo


This recipe just seemed fascinating to me, since I had no idea you could pan fry chickpeas. I didn't have your ingredients on hand, but I used your recipe as a starting point and created my own combination using pinto beans and capsicum. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas and thanks for being such an inspiration to aspiring veggie cooks like me!


Heidi, I have made this four times last week and gave the recipe to all my friends... this is a fantastic way to use chiick peas Thanks, Rosie


We just had this for dinner, and it was so wholesome and delicious! I used ghee, canned chickpeas, omitted the tofu (I could have sworn I had some!), and served it over brown rice. This will go into regular rotation in my quick-fix meals and will be fun to play with as the seasons change.


please send me recepe book


your receips are wonderful


Made this last night and it turned out awesome! Instead of canned chickpeas, I soaked some dried black chickpeas (from an indian grocery store) for about 15 hours, then cooked them up the night before I made the dish (by boiling in a large pot of water for 1+ hour. After cooking, I stored them in the fridge overnight, so they'd be somewhat dry and ready for sauteing the next night. For the final recipe, I omitted the zucchini, upped the kale to 2 cups, and ended up using 1 whole lemon for the zest and juice. Had it for lunch today with Trader Joe's brown rice-barley/radish seed mix and it was out of this world. thanks so much for the recipe!


Interesting combination of ingredients. Definately involves further investigation.

Sonny @ Fabulous Finger Food

I made this tonight, with dried, then soaked, then cooked chickpeas and it was wonderful. I'll never go back to canned chickpeas! The dried ones are so mellow and creamy. The nutty taste of the browned chickpeas combined with the caramelized shallots was vey tasty and very hearty. Great dish!


Heidi, your meals have made my life easier and healthier! The Curried Bean Salad is one of my boyfriend's favorites. One question: how do you cook dried chickpeas? I soaked mine overnight, then cooked them in the slow cooker for 8 hours, and they seemed kind of mushy. Did I cook them too long?


Louise-it took quite a while for my chickpeas to brown... at least 10 minutes, maybe longer. I put them in a large skilled (probably 14 inches) on fairly high heat and let them sit while I prepped the other ingredients, just stirring them occasionally. Be patient, they will brown eventually... just watch out in case they start exploding and flying up into the air like mine did.


The flavors of this are great. However, my chickpeas never browned. How long should it take for them to brown (just so I know to give up if it isn't going to happen!), and what size skillet should I be using? I assume a 12-inch would give them enough room to brown?


This was very good. I used chard since the kale at the grocery store didn't look very good. I didn't have any problem with the canned chickpeas being hard. In fact as they started to brown they became softer and a few even exploded out of the pan. I ate it by itself as a main course on Monday night. Then last night I had it with some macaroni and cheese from the Moosewood Low Fat cookbook and a salad of romaine, oranges and avocado dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.


This was delicious, even though I had to use cannellini for the beans and homemade panir instead of tofu. Top-notch.


Divine! I made this recipe tonight. I substituted roka (rocket) for kale due to availability issues in Turkey. It tasted wonderful, especially with the medium smokey tofu I used (also a matter of availability.) Heidi, your recipes are wonderful. Thank you!


Eating this as I type. I used canned chickpeas, and olive oil. I had actually never cooked with kale. Since I am kind of going back to my vegetarian ways, this was just what I was looking for. the flavor is wonderful, and very filling. I am off to make your Anzac cookies, which are also a favorite.


Love this. I used canned chickpeas and frozen spinach as a couple of shortcuts, it was excellent. I also used olive oil for frying. I put some crumbled goat cheese on top and served it with baked potato. A very filling and nutritious meal, not to mention inexpensive.


Ghee made from Strauss butter?! Thanks for the tip, Heidi!


RE: hard canned chickpeas, I've had luck with Hannaford Organic (in the Northeast), not so much luck tonight with Price Chopper Organic


Oh, this is so good. I'm eating it right now. I omitted the salt and added feta at the end, and stirred it with some leftover short grain brown rice... amazing.


What a beautiful dish!! Looks awesome! Nothing better than simple flavors. YUM!!!


I made this over the weekend with slight substitutions and my husband went for seconds and then thirds. So easy to make but yet soooo good.


This was so easy to make and tasted great!


Heidi, do you live in my cupboard? I just bought three pounds of chickpeas last week. So I made this today with some preserved lemon and cilantro and oh man, that was some excellent eating. HS: ooh. sounds tasty!


Oh, snap, I think I might make this! I've got most of the ingredients and a big ol' bag of bulk dry chickpeas that seems to be neverending. Now, I'm not sure what this 'kale' you speak of is, but I tend to avoid anything green and leafy except raw spinach and romaine. I'm kind of a chicken like that. But I know green things are super good for you, so I think I'll take the plunge...


This is to Sophie with rank ghee. Ghee is just clarified butter. Melt butter, scrape off the foam gently pour off the clear golden liquid, careful not to disturb the solids on the the bottom. TaDa!! you have ghee. Fresh ghee. make as much or as little as you want. It never goes rancid. Heidi, lovely dish. I love chickpeas andI love lemon zest. Thank you for both of your gorgeous talents. Courtney


I echo Terry's question. I'm using dried chickpeas. When you say "cooked chickpeas" do you mean soaked, and then cooked? Or is the ghee/olive oil soak doing the cooking? Thanks! HS: No, cooked - ready to eat. You could use canned chickpeas if you like - they have been cooked. Sorry for any confusion. -h


Great recipe! I added eggplant courtesy of the weekly CSA basket. Excellent for leftovers, I'll be the envy of the lunchroom tomorrow!


Yet another fabulous quick and easy recipe! I didn't have kale, but substituted fresh spinach with great success. I added a splash of sesame oil and a little garlic for fun. It was such a hit with boyfriend that it has been requested again for dinner later this week! Thanks!

Bayou Sally

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