Tin Can Recipes: Curried Chickpeas with Brown Rice

If you’ve been hanging around here awhile, you know the pantry from which the recipes on the blog are cooked up is really more like a capsule kitchen than a pantry, per se. There’s a healthy mix of fresh produce, nonperishables, proteins, and freezable items involved.

That being the case, I wanted to challenge myself to come up with some true easy pantry recipes. Like, pantry ONLY recipes. What would I cook if I only had what was on the shelf in my actual cupboard?

We’ll see if this becomes a series (it’s tougher than it looks), but the first meal I threw together was not half bad. Don’t get me wrong—these curried chickpeas are not the most authentic you’ve ever eaten. They’re probably not serving these in your favorite Indian restaurant. But they are totally serviceable, even good, for a weeknight dinner. Try them this week, and let me know what you think.

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to tag us on instagram @theprotopantry and use the #protopantry hashtag. Happy cooking!

Everything on protopantry.com is made using our 50-ingredient minimalist pantry list. We have recipes from all over the world and for most dietary needs—explore here.

Tin Can Recipes: Curried Chickpeas with Brown Rice

This Indian-inspired dish comes straight out of the cupboard.

Makes: 4 servings

Curried Chickpeas with Brown Rice

Prep time:

Cook time:

  • 2 cups brown rice, uncooked
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, blended to a puree (you can, of course, use canned tomato puree or sauce)
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

  1. Prepare the brown rice according to package instructions.
  2. While the rice cooks, add the olive oil to a sauce pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic, jalapenos, pepper flakes, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and maple syrup, and saute until fragrant (about two minutes).
  3. Add salt, pepper, and blended tomatoes to the sauce pan, stir, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about ten minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas and simmer the curry for fifteen minutes more.
  5. While the curry simmers, whisk the corn starch and cold water together in a small bowl to form a slurry.
  6. In the last five minutes of simmering the curry, add the corn starch slurry to the curry and stir to thicken.
  7. Serve the curried chickpeas over brown rice. Enjoy.

Notes and Nutrition Information

  • Keep this dish in the refrigerator (curried chickpeas and rice separately) for up to four days.

  • This dish is very bright and spicy because of the tomatoes. To tone down the acid/heat (without adding cream or milk) if desired, you can 1) add a touch more maple syrup and/or 2) simmer the tomato mixture before adding the chickpeas for longer. Over time, simmering will mellow the sauce.

  • Feel free to use quick-cook brown rice that is ready in 10 minutes—the pantry includes regular brown rice because it is usually more cost-effective, but quick-cook varieties can be great to have on hand for rushed weeknight meals. With quick-cook brown rice, this recipe takes only about 30 minutes start-to-finish.

  • If you like a creamy curry and you have cream (or coconut milk!) on hand, knock yourself out. Add about 1/3 cup less tomato puree, and gently stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream in the last five minutes of curry-simmering.

  • One fourth of the recipe as written contains approximately 460 calories, 8 grams of fat, 89 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 188 milligrams of sodium.