Catalan Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Almonds

The other day Melissa from The Traveller’s Lunchbox posted a lovely chickpeas recipe that I felt I simply had to try, and so I did! I made a few changes to the original recipe though, that gave a slightly different dimension to the dish. The main changes are using coriander instead of parsley, and adding cumin and paprika to the dish. I was more than happy with the result, and I’d like to thank Melissa for inspiration! Read on!



Catalan Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Almonds


Source: adapted from Melissa‘s recipe, who found it in The Essential Mediterranean by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Serves: 1


1 (400g) can chickpeas, drained

extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion,  finely chopped
1/2 can (200g) chopped tomatoes
pinch sugar

pinch saffron threads
2 cloves garlic, chopped
25 g ground almonds
small handful coriander, chopped

1 1/2 cups (325ml) chicken or vegetable stock

a small dash of cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste 


1. Boil the chickpeas in lightly-salted water and cook until soft. This can take about 10-20 minutes. Drain.

2. In the meant time, heat the oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until  golden brown and very soft,(about 25 minutes).

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar, and fry until they melt into the onions and form a paste, about another 10-15 minutes. This is a sofregit, which forms the basis of many Catalan dishes.



I really looooove tomato sauce! Can’t you tell? 🙂

4. Combine the saffron, garlic, almonds and coriander and pound (or pulse) to a thick paste (add a little water if necessary).

5. Add the paste to the onion mixture along with the stock and the chickpeas, the cumin and the paprika, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot or at room temperature, as a side dish or on its own with some bread.


I started making this dish according to the original recipe, and though it was nice, I felt it was missing something, so I added a little cumin and paprika. The spices enhanced the flavour of the dish significantly, and it turned out so delicious that I was sad when I finished it off! I definitely recommend it to anyone to try! Make loads and keep it until next day! Melissa says that this is one of those dishes where the flavour keeps developing the longer it sits! It can be served as a side-dish, but I had it on its own, with some bread, and it was delicious! Perfect for your lunch box! Therefore, I am submitting it to Lindy’s Home-made Take-out Event, hoping I’m not too late!

Leave a comment


  1. redfox

     /  3 June, 2007

    This looks and sounds absolutely delicious!


  2. Maninas

     /  3 June, 2007

    It was, believe me! 🙂 It does take a bit of time, but it’s really worth making! Make loads at once, it’s worth it! Just don’t overdo it with the cumin (unless you’re a huge fan), so it doesn’t become too overpowering.


  3. this is an absolutely delicious way to prepare chikpeas – with saffron and almonds. would love to try it out.


  4. Maninas

     /  28 August, 2007

    Please do! This quickly became one of my favourite dishes. The addition of saffron and almonds makes it rather special, too, I think. Everyone who tried it loved it, too. I made it for various sets of friends, and took it to a birthday party, too.


  5. Hi Maninas! How funny… I’m catalan and I think you did a great job here!!! I love chickpeas and think that adding paprika and cummin is a great idea. The sofregit or sofrito looks great too!!!


  6. Thank you, Nuria! Great to hear that, coming from a Catalan!


  7. Looks like a winner! I like the idea of the cumin and paprika. Makes it very Spanish. This will make a great dish at our Open House dinners, thanks.


  8. Glad you like it. Let me know how it goes!


  9. Deborah Brooks

     /  28 November, 2013

    I’ve used this recipe many times, as-is and with variations — it’s a great dish to take to potluck dinners. One variation I’ve used frequently is to omit the cumin, paprika and coriander, and substitute Pimenton de la Vera (powdered dried, smoked sweet red peppers).


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