Saffron Chickpeas

Saffron-infused chickpeas with plenty of fresh herbs, scallions, in a tart vinegar-based dressing. Sweet, savory, and filling. Chickpeas are full of good, plant-based protein. Saffron, revered spice, gives this dish it’s delicate flavor.

Saffron Chickpeas

Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Tania Van Pelt


  • 1 pound chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 2- inch piece of cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions or spring onions, cut on bias
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar about 2 tablespoons


  1. Soak chickpeas overnight with a teaspoon of baking soda.
  2. Drain water, rinse chickpeas, and place them in a big pot with water to cover.
  3. Cook the chickpeas with a teaspoon of baking soda, bay leaves, cinnamon, and salt on medium high heat for about 25-30 minutes, skimming the foam as it cooks, until chickpeas are tender, not mushy.
  4. Drain chickpeas.
  5. In a big bowl stir the still hot chickpeas with saffron, cumin, and turmeric. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice, season with salt. Fold in the fresh herbs and scallions. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

An easy trick when using dried chickpeas is to soak them overnight with baking soda and then cook them with another teaspoon of baking soda. The soda – an alkaline – helps speed the softening process of the peas by breaking down the tough cellulose walls of the chickpeas. It also makes for a much silkier texture and a faster cooking time.

Adapted from The New York Times