Mexican Chickpeas

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Perfectly spiced Mexican Chickpeas are roasted to perfection and drizzled in the best creamy cilantro-lime sauce! Serve ’em up in bowls or in lettuce wraps.

Try some of our other favorite recipes with roasted chickpeas like these Vegetarian Gyros or Hummus Wraps.

Mexican Chickpeas

Mexican Chickpeas

We can’t get enough of these delicious roasted Mexican-spiced chickpeas! They’re deeply savory, crisp on the outside and chewy inside, and totally addicting! We’ve made them so much recently that we have two different ways we like serving them — in a bowl with quinoa or in lettuce wraps!

While it may seem like a dish without meat might not be as filling, chickpeas and quinoa are actually both amazing sources of plant-based protein, making them very satiating. Paired together with the good-for-you fats in an avocado, this is a very well-rounded meal with good amounts of protein, carbs, and good fats.

Process shots-- steps in making Mexican Chickpeas

Recipe Shortcuts/Make Ahead

These Mexican Chickpeas are a meal aimed at being simple with a quick prep time. We’ve got a few shortcuts to ensure a fast prep and quick assembly. 

  • Pre-cooked quinoa. If you buy a packet (or two, if you’d like to stretch this to feed more people) of the pre-cooked quinoa, you’ll be amazed how quickly this comes together and how satiating it is. Quinoa is loaded with protein making it a very filling addition to these bowls. Here’s what we use — it takes just 90 seconds in the microwave (or a few minutes on the stovetop).
  • Sauce make-ahead. Not really a shortcut, per se, but the sauce does great being made ahead of time. With a sauce already made, dinner comes together that much quicker! Plus, the sauce gets even tastier as it chills, and flavors meld in the fridge.
  • Taco seasoning. I’m partial to the homemade seasoning blend on these Mexican Chickpeas, but in a pinch, a packet of taco seasoning will do the job. Or, even better, make your own seasoning packets ahead of time — more on this below.
  • Seasoning blend make-ahead. While it does take a few minutes to assemble and measure out the seasoning blend used in this recipe, it is so much better than anything you can find in a store. But I get it– those packets are easy and convenient! And that’s why I’ve started making my own packets. When I make this recipe, I’ll typically make 5 or 6 more batches of the seasoning. Since all the spices are out and I’m measuring anyways, it takes just a few extra minutes. Measure out the spices, put them in labeled individual snack-size bags, and store those packets with your spices. Next time you’re craving Mexican Chickpeas–or any other Mexican-themed dish– they’ll be ready to go. Use the seasoning packets in these Turkey Tacos, Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, or these Loaded Taco Fries.

Process shots-- images of the Mexican Chickpeas being prepped with seasonings and then being roasted

Cooking the Mexican Chickpeas (Two Different Ways)

For these Mexican Chickpeas, we tested the process of roasting the chickpeas both in the oven and air fryer. While they turn out similarly, the air frier chickpeas make the prep on this recipe so fast. They roast quicker and you don’t have to wait for the oven to preheat. I’m sharing a quick rundown of both methods for cooking chickpeas. If you do have an air fryer, you’ve got to try chickpeas in it! (By the way, here’s the exact Air Fryer I use and love).

To make the chickpeas in the oven: Toss chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings on a greased tray until well coated; spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on the tray. Roast for 18-22 minutes, tossing or shaking the tray at the halfway mark. (We like them best at 20 minutes.) Roast until they’re crisp, but not hard.

To make the chickpeas in an air fryer: Heat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. Toss chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings in a bowl until well coated. Add all the chickpeas to the air fryer basket and cook for 10-13 minutes (We like them best at 11 minutes.) or until crisp, but not hard. Shake the air basket at the halfway point to ensure even frying.

Process shots--adding chickpeas to a bowl and drizzling sauce on top

Mexican Chickpeas Tips

  • Thoroughly dry the chickpeas before adding to the air fryer or oven roasting. Spices won’t adhere well to wet chickpeas, and they’ll end up steaming more than roasting/frying with excess liquid.
  • Use an extra-large sheet pan. The bigger the sheet pan, the more the chickpeas can space out, and the better they’ll roast. We use and recommend a 15×21-inch tray — see “quick tip” below!
  • Add chickpeas in one even layer. If the chickpeas are overlapping or crowded in the air fryer basket (or sheet pan in the oven), they won’t get that nice browning and crisp exterior. Browning = flavor!
  • Enjoy! Roasted chickpeas are best eaten right after they’ve roasted. They tend to get soft and change texture the longer they sit out.
  • The cilantro-lime sauce that tops the Mexican Chickpeas relies on a fair amount of lime juice and zest. If you cook with citrus a lot, having a good citrus juicer and microplane becomes invaluable!  

QUICK TIP

We LOVE this 15×21 inch sheet pan – it gives the chickpeas so much room to get nice and evenly roasted. Also, note that cook time changes quite a bit (it’s much longer) when the chickpeas are overlapping or don’t have enough space. They also roast unevenly — some become overly crispy while others never develop the crisp exterior.

Mexican Chickpeas in lettuce wraps

QUICK TIP

These Mexican Chickpeas are mild–especially when topped with the cooling cilantro-lime sauce! To add more spice, add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the seasoning blend or add some thinly sliced jalapeños to top the bowls.

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Mexican Chickpeas

Perfectly spiced Mexican Chickpeas roasted to perfection and drizzled in the best creamy cilantro-lime sauce! Serve these chickpeas in bowls or in lettuce wraps.
Print Recipe

Mexican Chickpeas

Perfectly spiced Mexican Chickpeas roasted to perfection and drizzled in the best creamy cilantro-lime sauce! Serve these chickpeas in bowls or in lettuce wraps.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword mexican chickpeas
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 - servings -- See Note 1
Calories 579kcal

Ingredients

Chickpeas

  • 2 cans (15.5 oz; 439g EACH) chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 3 tablespoons (36g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder Note 2
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano
  • Fine sea salt and pepper

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons (43g) fresh lime juice + 1/2 teaspoon zest (~2 limes)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup (14g) lightly packed cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1/2 tablespoon (5g) chopped jalapeño, seeds & ribs removed
  • 1/3 cup (82g) sour cream (fat-free/lite works great)
  • 2 tablespoons (26g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon (8g) honey

For serving

  • 1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa (or 1 packet (8 oz; 227g) pre-cooked quinoa) Note 4
  • 1 large, ripe Hass avocado, If making lettuce wraps you'll need 1 head Boston lettuce
  • Optional: fresh limes, fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Drain and rinse chickpeas and then thoroughly dry in a salad spinner or with paper/kitchen towels. (Wet chickpeas won't roast as nicely.)
  • SAUCE: Start with the sauce so it can have time to chill. Add all the sauce ingredients to a small blender jar or food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/4 teaspoon of each -- use less if using table salt.) Blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust as needed. Transfer to a Mason jar and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • CHICKPEAS: Add chickpeas to an extra-large sheet pan. (I use a 15x21-inch pan) Drizzle on oil, all the seasonings, salt, and pepper to taste. (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.) With your hands, toss everything until well coated (there are a lot of spices -- this is intended); spread the chickpeas out in an even layer (not overlapping) on the tray. Roast for 18-22 minutes, shaking the tray at the halfway mark. (We like them best at 20 minutes.) Roast until they're crisp, but not hard. Remove and set aside. (See Note 3 for Air Frying Directions)
  • QUINOA: While the chickpeas are roasting, prepare the quinoa according to package directions. (See Note 4.)
  • SERVING OPTION #1: CHICKPEA QUINOA BOWL: Divide quinoa evenly among 2-4 bowls (2 bowls for large portions; 4 for smaller). Top each bowl with even amounts of the cooked or air-fried chickpeas. Thinly slice or chop an avocado and add equal amounts to each bowl. Drizzle bowls generously (or to taste) with the sauce. (You may not use all the sauce; keep leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.) Serve with lime wedges on the side and add a squeeze of lime before eating. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.
  • SERVING OPTION #2: CHICKPEA QUINOA LETTUCE WRAPS: Wash and completely dry lettuce -- if it's wet these won't be nearly as tasty! Set out dried lettuce leaves and spoon even amounts of quinoa, then chickpeas, and finally avocado slices in the lettuce pieces. Drizzle lettuce wraps generously (or to taste) with the sauce. Serve with lime wedges on the side and add a squeeze of lime before eating. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. Roll up and enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This recipe as written makes 2 very large "power bowls" type meals -- great for hungry adults. This recipe also feeds my husband and me, plus our 2 little boys. (They eat pretty small portions!) If you'd like to stretch the chickpeas a little more, I'd recommend buying 2 packets of quinoa. This recipe scales up nicely.
Note 2Chili: Not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We're using American chili powder (I use McCormick which is very mild).
Note 3: Air fryer: To make the chickpeas in the air fryer: Heat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. Toss chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings in a bowl until well coated. Put the chickpeas in the air fryer basket in one even layer (if they're overlapping, they won't fry as nicely -- fry in batches if needed) and cook for 10-14 minutes (we like them best at 11 minutes) or until crisp, but not hard. Shake the air basket at the halfway point to ensure even frying.
Note 4: Quinoa: Since we're already making chickpeas and a sauce, take a shortcut with the quinoa! Here's what we use -- it takes just 90 seconds in the microwave or a few minutes on the stovetop. Grab 2 packets if you'd like the chickpeas to stretch further. Alternatively, prepare quinoa -- here's a guide for how to cook quinoa.
Nutrition information is for the chickpeas only. The sauce contains 86 calories per serving. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 579kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 771mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1262IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 8mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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