Rice Pulao with Crispy Cinnamon Chickpeas


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This rice pulao recipe from the Blue Zones® Meal Planner brings together the sweet and savory into a delicious whole meal. Topped with crispy cinnamon chickpeas, this inspired meal is packed with whole grains, fiber, protein and Vitamins A and C (thanks to the carrot and zucchini, respectively). And the spices will leave your kitchen smelling delicious long after dinner is done!

Yield: 2 servings


1 can no-salt canned garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup brown rice

1½ cups low-sodium vegetable stock/broth

½ teaspoon cloves

1 zucchini

1 carrot

¼ cup dried apricot

Salt & pepper, to taste

2 pinches ground cardamom, optional



  1. Preheat the oven to  350°F/177°C.
  2. Rinse and drain the canned garbanzo beans. Spread out on a baking sheet. Add half of the olive oil measurement and stir to evenly coat the beans. (To make this recipe oil-free, omit the oil, use a non-stick pan and keep an extra eye on the chickpeas while they bake.)  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon on the beans and stir to cover the beans. Place in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  3. Combine brown rice, vegetable stock/broth, cloves and rest of the olive oil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. (Omit oil to make recipe oil free.) Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  4. Produce Prep: While the beans and brown rice are cooking, rinse and dice the zucchini. Rinse and dice the carrot. Set aside. Chop the dried apricots into small pieces.
  5. After 25 minutes of simmering the brown rice, stir the zucchini, carrot, remaining cinnamon, and cardamom (optional) into the pot. Replace lid and bring heat up to medium, until it’s simmering. Reduce heat to low again and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water as needed. The rice is done cooking when the excess water is absorbed, but the mixture is still moist. Just before the rice is done cooking, stir in the dried apricots.
  6. Remove the brown rice from heat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Plate the pulao and top with crispy chickpeas.
  7. Kid-Friendly Tip: Crispy chickpeas are a huge hit with kids and it makes for a super healthy snack. Whether savory with a bit of salt or even curry powder, or sweet with a little cinnamon and sugar, this is one great way to use leftover chickpeas!