Greek Chickpeas and Rice with Lemon and Tahini

This one-pot traditional Greek chickpea and rice recipe makes a delicious comforting meal and the lemon-tahini takes it to another level.

Greek chickpeas and rice #chickpeas #beans #rice #easy #recipe #vegan #mediterranean #greek #diet

Beans and rice are such a classic combination in so many cultures, hearty, nutritious and comforting. This Greek chickpea and rice recipe is a great example of the essence of Mediterranean cooking.

This specific recipe is inspired by a Greek monastery cookbook. As you may have read here on olivetomato, Greeks traditionally abstained from animal products (with the exception of some shellfish) for over 200 days a year for religious reasons. That meant that Greeks had (have) a wealth of vegan recipes. This practice has been fairly overlooked by researchers even though it played an important role in the health benefits seen with the Mediterranean diet. In fact, many health and nutrition professionals are not even aware of this practice, which is quite important considering that Greeks were almost vegans for over half of the year.

For the very strict fasters, some days you could not even consume olive oil, so for that reason you will see recipes with tahini as a replacement for the oil as is the case in this recipe. I did use olive oil though in this recipe for sautéing the onions.

Tahini and chickpeas are a tried and true pairing (hummus anyone?) and so when I saw this recipe, I thought it would work really nice with a medium grain rice that provides a smooth texture to the whole dish. I loved it! The rice had a creamy texture with the chickpeas blending right in, and the tanginess of the lemon was perfect.

Greek chickpeas and rice #chickpeas #beans #rice #easy #recipe #vegan #mediterranean #greek #diet

Tahini: Versatile and Healthy

I find tahini very versatile, it’s not only for hummus. Blending it with a bit of lemon juice and water you can use it as a spread or a dressing. It is also great with a bit of honey on a slice of whole grain bread or for a savory breakfast with feta and pine nuts. You can use it to make cookies, cakes, add some to your oatmeal or as a sauce for meat. It also has a long shelf life and, nutritionally, it is full of nutrients. Tahini is a great source vitamin E and a good source of iron, calcium and copper. It is a great way to boost the protein content of your meal and it also contains lignans, a group of substances that have antioxidant activity. And yes, it has fat, but the fat is the good fat mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. 

Initially, I only made 2 servings and ate one of the servings before the kids came from school (yum). When the kids came home, I gave them a bit to try and they loved it and were quite upset that I had not made enough. So, this will definitely be added to our meal rotation from now on!

You can use both dry or canned chickpeas.

Greek Chickpeas and Rice with Lemon & Tahini

Greek chickpeas and rice #chickpeas #beans #rice #easy #recipe #vegan #mediterranean #greek #diet
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This one-pot traditional Greek chickpeas and rice is a delicious comforting meal and the lemon-tahini takes it to another level.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: Greeck Chickpeas and rice
Servings: 2 servings
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 ½ cup canned or ¾ cup dry chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Juice from 1 ½ lemons plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ¾ cup uncooked medium grain rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Parsley


  • If using dry chickpeas: soak overnight, next day simmer for 20-40 minutes until cooked but not mushy, drain set aside and save 2 cups of the cooking water.
  • In a medium pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté onion until soft. Meanwhile in small bowl mix the tahini with the lemon juice and 3-4 tablespoons of water.
  • Once onion is soft, add garlic and sauté for a minute, then add rice and beans and stir until they are coated in oil.
  • Add the tahini-lemon mixture, salt, pepper, bay leaf and about 1 1/2 cup of the water leftover from the chickpeas (if cooked from dry, otherwise just regular water) and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until rice is done, and water has been absorbed. You may add more hot water if needed.
  • Serve with extra lemon and chopped parsley.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet


Greek chickpeas and rice #chickpeas #beans #rice #easy #recipe #vegan #mediterranean #greek #diet

Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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  • Reply Jane February 1, 2022 at 4:52 pm

    This sounds so delicious and I plan on making it this week! I couldn’t find any medium grain rice in my grocery store, so right now I have long grain white rice. Would that still work? And if so, is there any changes I should make in terms of the liquid? I’m seriously soooo excited to try this!!!

  • Reply Mary Wood January 17, 2022 at 12:39 am

    Very nice recipe. I just added fresh dill,frozen beans and peas for extra veggies. Thank you Elena.5 stars

  • Reply Gail Dunning December 31, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    A long time ago, I had a can of very thick tahini. It was like peanut butter. I used it to make humus, I think. Now all I can find are tiny containers called tahini that is about the thickness of half and half. It seems too thin when you add water to it. What should I be looking for, as far as tahini goes?

    • Reply January 2, 2022 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Gail, Tahini usually is thick and has a layer of oil on top (it is from the sesame), you mix it well and it is still thick, it should not be watery like half and half.

  • Reply Stacie Decorah December 27, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    I’ve made variations of this many times and it’s so delicious. I’ve done it without the rice at all and it’s excellent. Such a great go to meal when you’re in a hurry! Flavorful!!5 stars

  • Reply Violet R December 23, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    I can’t wait to try this -and all the variations people have suggested here in the comments are making me crave it even more!! It looks like it would be a good packable work-lunch, too.5 stars

  • Reply Eliana October 25, 2021 at 2:15 am

    This was absolutely delicious! So so GOOD! Paired it with roasted bell peppers, red onions and cauliflower. Will do this recipe again and again.5 stars

  • Reply Eliana October 25, 2021 at 2:14 am

    This was absolutely delicious! So so GOOD! Paired it with roasted bell peppers and cauliflower. Will do this recipe again and again.5 stars

  • Reply Nicki Escudero August 30, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    I have made this recipe so many times, and it’s something I’ve come to crave. Thank you, Elena, for the great recipe! It’s also great with some shredded cheese stirred in at the end for those open to a non-vegan version.5 stars

  • Reply Emily August 24, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    YUM!! So versatile! I’ve made this several ways, including the original:
    – adding leek
    – tried two types of rice: arborio and wild
    – adding dill and brined feta
    – upping the olive oil and parsley, cutting out tahini to let the herbs come through
    – topping with fresh cucumber

    In other words, I eat this weekly!: )

    By the way, I’m not sure if this is mentioned elsewhere, but in the US Italian parsley is completely different than the curly variety you usually see in the supermarkets. It’s so much more suited for Mediterranean flavors.5 stars

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN August 27, 2021 at 7:49 am

      Thank you for sharing Emily. Yes! Italian parsley is what is required in these recipes.

  • Reply Cleo June 14, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    I made this recipe last week, replacing the rice with bulgur. It was fantastic and I look forward to making it again.5 stars

  • Reply Maria May 5, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    My mother use to make this, minus the tahini. I love tahini, plus, I scored fresh chick peas at the market. Delicious!5 stars

  • Reply Monica March 8, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    The directions state 1.5 c of water – regardless of the serving size. 2 servings or 4. Need to double the water for double the rice. Same for the oil. The ingredients change to 4 Tbs of oil for 4 servings, the but directions still say 2 Tbs.

  • Reply Julia January 18, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    This is wonderful!! Even my picky teenager loved it! 🙂5 stars

  • Reply Julia December 10, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    SO GOOD! Made this and added cucumber, tomato, and red onion to top. Was such a delicious meal! Will definitely be added to my rotation of recipes!5 stars

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