Traditional recipes

Chickpea Cilantro Dip

Chickpea Cilantro Dip

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The perfect accompaniment to any summer meal

Ivanna Pavliuk/Shutterstock

A zestier variation on hummus that is perfect for entertaining, island-style. — Allison Beck

Adapted from "Cocktail Parties, Straight Up!" by Lauren Purcell and Anne Purcell Grissinger.


  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


In a food processor, puree the ingredients until smooth. Let the dip sit for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.

Serve with crackers, toasted pita wedges, crudités, or all three.

2 cloves garlic
2 cans (15 ounce size) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

Place garlic in a food processor and process until minced, about 10 seconds. Add beans, lime juice and salt. Process into a puree.

With the processor running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add cilantro and jalapeno and pulse throughout, about 10 seconds. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

The benefits of making hummus at home are:

1) it&rsquos super cheap, 2) it makes a ton, 3) you can adjust it to your exact desires. You can play with flavor combinations, differing amounts of tahini to chickpeas, add extra virgin olive oil or leave it out.

There&rsquos so much you can do with homemade hummus. But most importantly you can make this wonderful creation!

This hummus takes your typical plain, unadorned chickpea and tahini dip and adds the spicy, smoky flavors of roasted jalapeño. Brightens it up with the fresh and almost lemony notes of cilantro (unless of course you&rsquore a cilantro hater, then you will probably want to leave it out).

RELATED: Favosalata: yellow split pea dip RELATED: VEGAN Jalapeño Popper Dip

It is so addictively delicious. And this is coming from someone who, as a life long vegetarian turned vegan, is a bit burnt out on hummus.

So let&rsquos start with the basics. Add all the extra flavors you want, but your hummus isn&rsquot going to be good without a delicious base.


  • 1/2 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pimentón or other hot paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil with lemon (see Note)
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Grilled bread or pita, for serving

In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Drain the chickpeas well and pat dry.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the cumin seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan until they are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice or coffee grinder and let cool, then grind to a fine powder.

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas with the garlic, lemon juice, cumin, pimentón and cayenne pepper and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon olive oil in a slow, steady stream and puree until the chickpea dip is very smooth. Season the dip with salt, then scrape it into a shallow bowl. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve with grilled bread or pita.

Nothing Is More Comforting than the Chickpea and Cilantro Soup My Grandmother Used to Make

When I was growing up, my grandparents were the two best cooks in my life. My grandfather was a meat and fish wizard, able to grill, stew, braise, and roast everything to perfection. My grandmother, a Sefardic Jew from Algeria, imbued every dish with flavor and could whip up shakshukas and fruit pies with the same innate talent.

And as an only child (and only grandchild until I was 10), I got to enjoy the quasi-exclusivity of all their greatest dishes. I spent most of my vacations and many of my weekends at their place, being treated to sole meunière, lamb meatballs, soupe au pistou, gazelle ankles (a sweet almond treat from Maghreb), roasted quails, apple pies, couscous royale, artichoke barigoule, crêpes, stuffed squid. In short, I was a very spoiled, very lucky kid who got to experience the best food education she could hope for.

Even among this wealth of dishes and deliciousness, some specialties shine brighter than others in my memory. My grandma’s soup is one of them. It’s a vessel for a metric ton of cilantro, and cilantro is the taste and the smell I associate most closely with my grandmother’s cooking — one whiff of it immediately lifts my spirits and brings me back to her kitchen. And to me this soup, filled with tomatoes and zucchini, is synonymous with late summer and the last few weeks I would spend at my grandparents’ home before heading back to school. But ultimately it’s just really delicious in a very wholesome and unpretentious way, as good family recipes tend to be. 

It’s been nearly a decade since I have tasted that soup the way my grandmother made it: My grandfather passed away a few years ago, then I left France for New York, and as her eyesight began to fade, my grandmother has not even been able to cook much.

Last year, I was in New York. I was homesick and already planning the move that would take me back home. I thought of this soup and decided to make it. I called my grandmother for the recipe. But she didn’t use recipes — she cooked by instinct. So all I got were some very vague directions. How many tomatoes should I use? “You know, just the right amount.” What about zucchini? “A few, but not too many. You’ll know when it’s right.”

With this very broad roadmap, I tried to recreate the dish. As I quickly found out, you can’t really mess it up. It’s almost magical that way. It doesn’t matter if you put in too many tomatoes it still tastes pretty good. But I’ve made it a good dozen times in the past year, getting closer and closer to the taste I remember. Now I have a pretty set recipe that I can turn to whenever I crave some of my grandmother’s food.

The ingredients for homemade cilantro chutney:

The big one: cilantro! Now this is important. USE THE STEMS! Stems are flavor. And they&rsquore good. And this gets blended up so you won&rsquot even notice that you have stems in your chutney! Except that you will because it will taste better.

Next up: mint! Yeah sure adding mint makes it cilantro-mint chutney but hey that&rsquos more of a mouthful so I drop the word mint because I&rsquom a bit sneaky like that.

Mint adds freshness to the chutney and makes for a more flavorful chutney. It&rsquos all the wins.

Herbs aren&rsquot enough to get all the flavor you need for a good chutney however. The real power of the chutney comes from onion, garlic, ginger, and green chilies (like serrano or jalapeño, or if you&rsquore lucky enough green chilies from the local Indian grocery store).

Fresh squeezed citrus juice is a must for this chutney! You can use either lemon or lime juice and add it to taste. Lemon juice is a bit sweeter and lime juice can be a touch more bitter. But either works or you can even use a mix of the two!

Salt enhances all these flavors and you&rsquoll add it to taste.

Now for a touch of creaminess add in some plain unsweetened yogurt of the plant-based variety. Because we&rsquore vegan chez chickpea!

Substitute for the yogurt?

This is maybe not the most Indian ingredient, but my mother-in-law lives in Arizona these days and has taken notes. She&rsquoll often use avocado instead of yogurt. About 1/2 of an avocado for 1/2 cup of yogurt!

I love the avocado version, but it&rsquos less &ldquotraditional.&rdquo But hey if the aunties can make it this way, so can we!

It also becomes accidentally vegan this way, no vegan yogurt needed!

If you do use avocado instead of yogurt, then you may find yourself wanting a bit of extra lemon or lime juice to up the tanginess of the cilantro chutney a bit!

If you make this homemade cilantro chutney, leave a comment below and rate the recipe on the recipe card. And please share your photos with me on Instagram, tag @thecuriouschickpea and #thecuriouschickpea. I love seeing your recreations!

Tips for making Cilantro Dip:

  • This recipe calls for seeded peppers. If you want more spice, leave some of the seeds in the peppers. Be careful! Try not to touch the seeds with your fingers too much. I let my knife do all the touching.
  • Don’t be scared to add the whole bunch of cilantro! You can discard any large stems.
  • Use a large food processor (standard size)…just not a mini one. This dip makes about two pint jars.
  • Roughly chop the peppers and green onions. Don’t chop the cilantro. Let the food processor do all the work!

  • 1 (16 ounces) can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup liquid from the can of chickpeas
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, finely chopped

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from the can.

Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3 to 5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well.

Garnish with extra cilantro (optional). Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

Serrano Chili and Cilantro Chickpea Dip

It is nice to have a few recipes on hand which not only may be made in advance and decrease the necessity for last minute preparations, but are easy to make as well. A new contribution to this category is: Serrano Chili and Cilantro Chickpea Dip. Served with carrot sticks and raw sugar snap peas, it’s a fine thing to take along on a picnic, too.


  • 1 cup Canned, Drained Chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
  • ½ cups Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • 4 cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 whole Seeded Serrano Chili
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • Suggested Raw Vegetables To Accompany: Carrot Sticks And Raw Sugar Snap Peas


You will also need: A food processor or blender.

1. Put the chickpeas, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, chili and water in the bowl of the processor or blender and mix until smooth.
2. Transfer the dip to a bowl and add the salt. Taste and add more salt if you think necessary.
3. Refrigerate the dip until about an hour before serving. Remove it from the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Surround the bowl of dip with some raw vegetables … the suggested ones are carrot sticks and sugar snap peas.

We didn’t know how much this sauce was missing from our lives until we had it. Or until we ate it straight with chips.

Try this as a dip, on crackers with smoked fish, or over hard-boiled eggs.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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