Chickpeas with tomato and chilli

Plate with chickpeas and tomato sauce, with herbs sprinkled on topThis recipe makes use of the basic tomato sauce recipe and is an example of how versatile it can be as the base for other recipes.

In this recipe, the chickpeas take the place of meat. They are a great substitute as they contain protein and are high in fibre. They are low in fat, especially saturated fat, which can help reduce fat in the liver.

Chickpeas are also a good source of low GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrate, which means that the carbohydrate is slowly digested and absorbed which can help improve blood sugar levels.

Nutritional information

This recipe contains legumes and provides an alternative to meat in recipes. Both eating legumes and reducing meat intake (especially red meat) are key components of Mediterranean-style diets, so this recipe will help you achieve these goals.

Protein 10g per serve / 3g per 100g

Sodium 437mg per serve / 152mg per 100g

This recipe has a relatively low sodium (salt) content. Using a low salt tomato paste and rinsing the chickpeas before adding to the sauce will reduce the sodium content into the low range (110gm per 100g). The recipe could then be used as part of a low salt diet.


This recipe should make enough for an evening meal for two if combined with a green salad, or for lunches during the week, particularly if you add some green leaves like rocket or baby spinach at the end of the cooking.

Tomato sauce with can of chickpeas and herbs1/2 quantity of the tomato-based sauce

Pinch of chilli flakes or ground chilli

1 x 400g can chickpeas

Your choice of herbs (1 or 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander, continental parsley or basil) and/ or a cup of green leaves like rocket or baby spinach.


  1. Mix the amount of chilli you want to use (from none to a teaspoon depending on how much heat you want. I’d use about 1/8 of a teaspoon) with the tomato-based sauce and bring to a low simmer
  2. Drain the chickpeas. You can rinse them or not as the liquid they are cooked in is also nutritious, containing protein and fibre. I like to rinse mine.
  3. Add the chickpeas to the tomato-based sauce. Cook on a moderate heat for 5 minutes to warm the chickpeas through. Stir a few times while it is cooking.
  4. Take off the heat and add any herbs and green leaves.

What it cost

Everything is from the supermarket. The tomato-base sauce is approximately $2.50 for this amount and the can of chickpeas was $1.90. There was also a third of a bunch of flat leaf parsley. If you don’t have this in your garden or a pot, this quantity would cost about $1.00. So this recipe would cost $5.50.

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