Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fresh Chickpeas with Couscous, Grains and Grilled Haloumi

Fresh chickpeas are instantly recognizable in form and flavor, but there are a few wonderful distinctions between fresh chickpeas and the more familiar dried or canned variety.  Perhaps the most interesting difference is that fresh chickpeas keep their beautiful green color when cooked, making for particularly pretty dishes.  In addition, the flavor is beanier and less starchy than canned chickpeas.  When fresh, they taste "green", which some describe as grassy, or pea-like.  Fresh chickpeas can be boiled, steamed or even sauteed in the pod like edamame, or removed from the pod and quickly blanched as we do here.

Chickpeas are easy to grow, although unlike most legumes, they prefer cooler temperatures.  We started our seeds, known as ceci in Italy where our seeds came from, in mid-November and started harvesting in March.  The low-growing plants are first loaded with lots of little white flowers, each of which turns into an individual chickpea pod.  The chickpeas are ready to pick when the pods feel full and hard, and it is not uncommon to find "twins" (two chickpeas to a pod) when the pods are opened.  Now that the temperatures here in Houston are hitting the 80's during the day, the leaves are starting to yellow and the last pods will soon be ready for harvest.

With our fresh chickpeas, we prepared a dish with mixed grains and haloumi.  The recipe is quite flexible, so feel free to change the grains or proportions as you like.  We add lots of fresh parsley from the garden, another plant that overwintered in our garden and is now flowering profusely before it dies back.  This recipe makes a filling meal for two, especially with the haloumi cheese on the side.
Fresh Chickpeas with Couscous, Grains and Haloumi
makes entree for two


1/2        cup    fresh chickpeas, removed from pods
                      sea salt for cooking chickpeas
1/4        cup    medium-grain couscous
1 1/4     cup    vegetable stock, brought to a boil
1/2        tsp     sea salt
1           Tbs    olive oil
1/2        cup    quinoa
1           Tbs    barley flakes
1           Tbs    oat flakes
1/3        cup    Italian parsley, freshly picked and minced
1                    package Haloumi, cut into 8 slices

  1. Heat pot of water, add 1 tsp sea salt and cook chickpeas until tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain, run under cool water to stop the cooking process, drain again and set aside.
  2. Heat fry pan to medium high and grill haloumi until golden brown.  Flip and repeat.  Remove from heat, then cube.
  3. Once vegetable stock is boiling, add couscous and 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste).  Stir and then cover. 
  4. After 10 minutes, fluff couscous with a fork.  Mix in quinoa, barley and oats.  Add in chickpeas.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with the minced parsley, and the grilled haloumi cubes on the side. 
Printable Recipe 

Other Haloumi Recipes from Vegetable Matter:
Spiced Pear, Date and Haloumi Flatbread
Grilled Eggplant, Haloumi and Arugula Sandwich
Boca Burger with Grilled Haloumi and Lemon

Other Fresh Chickpea Recipes from Vegetable Matter:
Pasta with Fresh Chickpeas and Basil Sauce
Fresh Chickpea, Bulgur and Mint Pilaf



  1. Beautiful pictures! I love the first one. Hairy little chickpea lol that sounds so wrong..!

  2. I loved seeing the pictures of fresh chickpeas! And the salad with them looks so good!

  3. Ah... so that's what fresh chickpeas look like! The only kind we can get 'round these parts are either canned or dried, unfortunately, so I'm quite jealous.
    Your salad looks delicious. I doubt I'll manage to find any fresh chickpeas, but I'm guessing some steamed edamame will do just as well.

  4. I am always fascinated with what you have in your garden! I never knew that about chickpeas--and that dish looks delish!

  5. I see you and I made something simliar but yours was FRESH! Nice..:)

  6. Amazing pictures!!! And it's sad to say I had no idea what a fresh chickpea looked like. I've only seen them in cans and dried. Thank you for this.....and that recipe looks delicious :)

  7. I saw these at Whole Foods and didn't even recognize them! I want to grow my own because I love chickpeas so much. I didn't realize they were green. I need to move closer to you and share all your veges ;) Great dish!

  8. these look great. I've never seen fresh chickpeas. now I'm going to have to hunt them up. I've never cooked with haloumi cheese but have read so many great things about it, I'm going to have to try it.

  9. Wow, that is really gorgeous. I wonder when I would have to taste fresh chickpeas. At least I know what the plant looks like now.

  10. Sadly I don't think I get get fresh chickpeas around here, though perhaps I just haven't been looking hard enough. If I do, then at least I know what to do with them now!

  11. I think I haven't ever seen fresh chickpeas!! they look truly apart & so beautiful too!

    this couscous salad sings to me!!

    You know by now that I loooovvvveeee Haloumi!


  12. I just recently came upon your Blog via Daphne's Dandelions and I love it! The pictures are amazing and it is so informative. Thank you so much for your posts. (I never knew chick peas were so beautiful).


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