Chickpeas, known as garbanzos here in Spain, are a fabulous legume and a popular part of a plant-based vegan diet. In this vegan chickpea and aubergine bites recipe, we combine aubergine and chickpeas to make a tasty and nutritious dish to be served for lunch or dinner, or to be eaten as a mid-afternoon snack.
If you are looking for a source of slow release energy, then look no further than chickpeas! The carbohydrates contained in chickpeas are released slowly during digestion. This means that you have a more steady source of energy for your body, which helps to avoid the highs and lows, and keep you going for longer.
Chickpeas are naturally high in fibre and they keep you feeling fuller for longer. They are also a good source of vegan protein – learn more in our earlier article: what is vegan protein and how do I get it here.
These chickpea and aubergine bites are really handy to add to a lunch (or snack) box as you can pick them up and nibble on them. They are a great healthy alternative to reaching for a slice of cake as a “pick-me-up” on an afternoon.
Cooking tip: If you are using dried chickpeas, remember to put them into a bowl with cold water to soak the day before. You need to cook them before you make this recipe.
Time-saving tip: Using dried chickpeas can take some pre-planning. So, to save your self some time and avoid using shop-bought pre-cooked chickpeas, I suggest that you cook your chickpeas in bulk and then store them for future use. You can freeze chickpeas in batches or store them in glass jars for a couple of days in the fridge. (To store in glass jars, put your cooked HOT chickpeas into a glass jar, cover with BOILING water, screw tight the lid and turn the jar upside down. Allow the chickpeas and water to go cold – this will create a vacuum to limit the air entering and keep the chickpeas longer). You can store these cooked chickpeas in your fridge for 4 to 5 days.
Vegan chickpea and aubergine bites recipe
Serves: Makes 20 bites
Calories: 908 (total), 45 (per bite)
Allergens: NONE (check your brand of cornflour and polenta if you have a gluten allergy)
3 large aubergines – cut in half, skin scored
2 garlic cloves, skin removed
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 cups cooked chickpeas – well drained and cold
Zest from ½ lemon
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne (or hot paprika)
2 tbsp corn flour – if needed
Large handful fresh coriander
3 tbsp polenta (quick cook)
Heat the oven to a medium-hot heat (200C/gas mark 6).
Put the aubergine (flesh side down), with the garlic, cumin seeds and coriander and add some warm water (to prevent sticking). Cook for 30-40 minutes – you want the aubergine to be soft and the skin starting to brown. Remember to shake and move the aubergine a couple of times to prevent sticking. Remove from the oven and place into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea-towel (or something to trap the steam) and allow to cool.
When the aubergine is cold enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and put into a bowl (throw away the skin).
Add the garlic and any of the spices from the roasting pan into the bowl. Add the chickpeas, lemon zest, lime juice, paprika, cayenne and fresh coriander. Mash the mixture together using a fork, potato masher or hand blender. (If you use a hand-blender do not blend for too long – leave the mixture a little chunky). Add corn flour, as needed – if the mixture looks firm there is no need to add the corn flour.
Put the mixture into the fridge and leave for 30 minutes.
Line a baking tray with paper.
Take the mixture out of the fridge. If it is firm then make balls out of the mixture – take a small handful and roll into a ball. If the mixture looks too soft, add some more corn flour. This recipe will make approximately 20 balls.
Roll the balls in the polenta to cover the outside.
Cook the balls in a medium oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
To make a complete meal, we suggest that you serve these chickpea and aubergine bites with brown rice salad, a big bowl of salad and our tasty carrot, sweet potato and hazelnut creamy vegan dip.
Vegan recipe ideas for chickpeas
As chickpeas are such a wonderful nutritional item to include in your diet, we include them in our menus a few times each week. Below are some of the other chickpea recipes that we have published on our blog, for you to make at home! Enjoy.
- Pumpkin and chickpea curry recipe: great to enjoy in the Autumn, when fresh pumpkin is abundant and usually cheaper. Replace with courgette or summer squash at other times of the year.
- Moroccan chickpea soup recipe: enjoy a big bowl of warming and filling soup, with flavours from Morocco. There´s no need for bread with this one pot dish!
- Chickpea, spinach and saffron stew recipe: the combination of chickpea and spinach give the body a great boost of vegan protein, calcium and iron. Adding saffron gives this dish a lovely subtle flavour and colour.
- Chickpea croquettes recipe: croquettes are a popular tapas dish in Spain. Try our healthy alternative, using chickpeas. They freeze well, so make in bulk, for a homemade ready-meal.
- Hummus recipe: ever popular, enjoy our scrummy hummus with celery and carrot sticks, for a nutritious and energy lifting afternoon snack.
Plant-based vegan food at La Crisalida health and wellbeing retreat
If you have enjoyed this recipe, then come to La Crisalida health and wellbeing and try our current menu! All the dishes are plant-based – vegan – and use lots of wholegrains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Meals are included in the price of your retreat, which also includes accommodation and activities. Read more about vegan food served at La Crisalida here.
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).