Beans, Mediterranean Vegan Recipes, Pasta & Grains

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
Author: Elena Paravantes RDN
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  • 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 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

  • Reply Wendy Barker October 24, 2020 at 2:30 am

    I made this tonight for supper paired with feta cheese and since I didn’t have parsley I used chopped fresh cilantro. This made more than enough for my husband and I and we both enjoyed it.4 stars

  • Reply Randi September 17, 2020 at 12:21 am

    This is phenomenal! I was out of tahini so I omitted it and it was so delicious. Just ordered more tahini to try it again! My husband and I enjoyed it with salmon and swiss chard. YUM!5 stars

  • Reply Carol August 9, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Can it be made replacing the rice with bulgar wheat?

  • Reply Kelly July 18, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    I made this exactly as written, and it is delicious. I’ve found my new comfort food! Thank you!5 stars

  • Reply Stacy June 18, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    I make this regularly. I use a can of Goya chickpeas and long grain brown rice (Trader Joe’s has a quick cooking variety). I love having it in the house for an easy lunch and my meat eating husband loves it too.5 stars

  • Reply Margaret June 11, 2020 at 3:08 am

    Very easy recipe with items that I traditionally have on hand. My partner said he’d wants to eat it again. Also ways to make ahead of time and keep in the fridge. Paired this with homemade pita and it was a tasty dinner and lunch the next day!5 stars

  • Reply Mike Klun May 15, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Made it for the first time and even a triple sized batch at that. Estimated quantities of each ingredient, didn’t use oil or salt and it turned out excellent. Super quick, easy, and tastes great even without the oil and salt. Imagine how good it would taste with them.5 stars

  • Reply Nicky Dakin March 23, 2020 at 2:13 am

    I love your recipes. I tried this recipe and it was delicious. I am trying a mediterranean diet, mainly because it is meant to be the healthiest. I am not greek but 20 years ago my friend and I landed in Athens and a greek boy invited us to his mother’s apartment. She served Greek Style Green Beans-Fasolakia Lathera and patties and other greek dishes. I can still remember that lunch so clearly. Fortunately we spent another month in Greece and go to try many other dishes.

  • Reply Musa Graeca February 21, 2020 at 4:47 am

    I just discovered your website a week ago and this is the second meal I have made. I am looking for more vegetarian options. This one is so simple with little prep and cleanup needed. The flavors are beautifully balanced. I am not a fan of parsley, so I replaced it with fresh cilantro. And, I sprinkled a little crumbled feta on top , which was a perfect final touch!5 stars

  • Reply MP Roy January 1, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    My dietitian steered me to your site. Boy, am I glad! I made this for dinner last night and we loved it. My husband has claimed rights to the leftovers. I paired it with a salad and it was so delicious. I didn’t have a bay leaf so I add some middle eastern herb mix and a few sliced almonds. I can’t wait to try another recipe. Thank you so much, Elena!

  • Reply sharah keenan November 15, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Greek chickpeas with rice looks so tasty. Should it be brought to a boil before simmering for 20 minutes? With or without a lid? Thanks

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN November 18, 2019 at 8:03 am

      Hi Sharah, Yes, generally I bring to a boil and lower the heat right away to a simmer. Yes, with a lid

  • Reply Cheryl October 24, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Elena!

    I made this recipe last week and it was fabulous, especially with a side of Greek salad or olive oil-braised cherry tomatoes!

    I have made a lot of your recipes over the last couple of years and they are always so tasty and economical. Your recipes have become my g0-to for comfort food. I also wanted to tell you to thank your mom for sharing her gemista recipe. It’s my all-time favorite and I make it several times every summer. It’s so crave-worthy I can’t get enough.

    Since you’re an R.D. I thought you might like to know that on a recent health assessment, my HDL shot up to 66mg/dL and my Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is 3.2. I attribute this to all the olive oil I’m now consuming, thanks to you!

  • Reply Marcia October 19, 2019 at 3:07 am

    This was absolutely delicious! I was amazed at how much flavor it has! I used Jasmine brown rice, so it took longer to cook than if I had used white rice. I have been eating much healthier since finding this website… Thank you Elena!

  • Reply Gemma October 18, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    If you choose to leave out the tahini what would you replace it with?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN October 18, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Gemma, You wouldn’t need to replace it, you can just leave it out.

  • Reply Suzanne October 18, 2019 at 11:20 am

    This looks fantastic. I look forward to trying this dish. Thank you for this and all you do.

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