Chickpea Surprise

You did what with a can of chickpeas??

As I started to slowly sink into the ground, it became clear that this week’s rain has made for conditions not best suited to vegetable gardening.


My caterpillar feeding station… I mean, my kale plants. At least someone’s enjoying them.

Half expecting to be piped ashore after splashing my way back to the patio, I turned my attention to the greenhouse tents.

Semaroh (red) and Medina (green) chillies

A few snips at the chilli and pepper plants and that was the last of their harvests.  The plants still look healthy, good enough to overwinter, but I’ve bought a selection of downright insane chilli seeds to grow next year and will need all the available space for those.

Nearby, the rosemary plant continues its bid to take over the world, or at least the herb bed.  Grabbing a bunch and wondering what to cook with it, a plan formed …

Rampant Rosemary

A while back I’d bookmarked a couple of intriguing recipes, both to do with chickpeas.  The first was for spicy roasted chickpeas.  Armed with a can from the cupboard, it was very simple to grind and mix together the spices:  cumin, paprika, coriander, pepper, allspice, cardamom and garlic powder, but any similar mix would be great.

Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid
Ground spices ready as a tasty coating

The peas are drained of their brine (don’t throw it away!), dried, coated in oil and salt then mixed in with the spices. Roast them in the oven for 30 minutes or so, turning half way through.

Ready to go in the oven

They’re delicious, light and crunchy and very tasty.  Ideal with .. well, I’ll let the photo below finish that sentence.


The water from the can?  That’s where the second recipe kicks in.  This stuff has a name: aquafaba and you can make mayonnaise from it. Oh yes.  The water from a can of chickpeas replaces the eggs you’d normally use.

Aquafaba, or chickpea brine, makes great mayonnaise

Everything else is normal: into the aquafaba you mix a bit of vinegar, mustard powder and salt, then blitz in slowly drizzled olive oil.  My first attempt started perfectly, with a stiff glossy mix, but suddenly turned liquid again.

A stick blender does the trick
Aquafaba mayo, with coriander leaf mixed in

Maybe I over-mixed it.  The second attempt worked just fine and I mixed in some chopped coriander leaves for a bit more flavour.  It’s just like the real thing and possibly a little healthier, but mostly it was just an interesting thing to make.

Salmon, hasselback Maris Piper rosemary potatoes and that mayo.

The final part of the plan came together when I took some of the remaining Maris Piper potatoes harvested a few months ago and part-sliced and roasted them to make hasselback potatoes.  Seasoned with the rosemary picked earlier, they ended up accompanying some fried salmon on a bed of spinach, served with that chickpea mayonnaise.  Perfect.


  1. Love the aquafaba mayo idea – will be trying that out for sure ! Had no idea you could use it in this way. Will have to wait to get back to UK as they my seem to have discovered tinned chickpeas yet in Greece. Suppose the soaking/boiling water from the dried ones does the same thing ….?


    • Yes the water from cooking your own works too. You just need to reduce it to the consistency of egg whites. Then it’s perfect for making mayo, meringues, baking cakes, you name it. Crazy but great fun 🙂


    • Indeed I believe it was a Facebook-based Vegan group, methodically testing products to find an egg-white substitute who first ‘discovered’ it a few years ago, and named it aquafaba. Fascinating isn’t it. Mayo, meringues and anything similar – all work a treat apparently.


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