This BBQ chickpea bowl is so satisfying and bold in flavor. This is such a great plant-based recipe for when you are craving smoky BBQ food. Simple & quick to make, great for meal-prep and also healthy!
Last week, I realized that I went a little overboard with my only-sweet new recipes that I posted. It was rainy and really not the most exciting week of my life. My highlight of the week might be that new workout I tried that nearly killed me (thank you Juice & Toya for the pain), which I also did with my 3 and 4.5 y/o. You see, not what you would call a thrilling week.
Thus, I thought we were all more than ready for a very savory, salty and smoky kind of hearty dish. So, say hello to Mr. BBQ chickpea bowl over here.
I already shared my adoration for chickpeas (yes, I'm very comfortable with being a total health nerd), and my love for smoky flavors. You see where I'm going with this, right? GUYS, this is a bowl made with Smoky Chickpeas. How did I not make this earlier?
And this recipe really isn't that hard at all! Once you gather a few spices together and opened up 2 cans of beans, then the BBQ chickpeas are pretty much done. You can let them simmer gently while making the quick slaw and boiling some corn (corn-not-optional-please). Your house will smell like a BBQ wood grill shack and you will fill yourself with high-protein-high-fiber-so-good-for-you chickpeas that actually taste good.
Saucy Smoky Sweet Chickpeas
This is a saucy kind of chickpea mixture with an amazing combination of sweet and smoky flavors. This is NOT a dry rub crispy chickpea recipe that's meant for snacking (I see these recipes around a lot).
It is meant to eat over rice or in sandwiches (thinking of you, vegan sloppy joes) and pretty much feels like chickpeas tossed in BBQ sauce. YUM, I know! It's filling, super satisfying and intense in flavors.
So, for all of my BBQ meat obsessed fellas that I know, this one is for you (and this smoky tofu too!).
Ingredients you'll need to make the BBQ chickpeas
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Garlic & Onion powder
- Tomato paste
- Liquid smoke
Liquid smoke is essential to add the smoky flavor to the chickpeas, so don't omit it. It is worth the extra trip to the grocery store if you don't already have it (find it in any regular grocery stores), and this tiny bottle will change your life forever anyway (no exaggeration). You can then use it to make smoky sauces, add it to your tofu marinades or add a drop or two to anything that needs a smoky flavor twist. Endless smokiness potential.
And what about the quick creamy coleslaw?
I sure wanted to keep the focus on the chickpeas as they are key to the recipe and also can be used differently, like in sandwiches. BUT, dang, this creamy slaw is SO good. Do not underestimate the amazingness from combining a creamy slaw with saucy smoky beans.
I prepare the coleslaw while the chickpeas are simmering on the stove, so it really doesn't make the recipe any longer.
To make the vegan creamy slaw, you'll need:
- Cabbage (green, purple or napa): I love to do a mix of different kinds for texture and color, depending of what I have already.
- Carrots: They add sweetness, color and texture too.
- Green onion: Or chives. If you are a fan of the oniony flavor, then thinly sliced red onion would work too.
- Vegan mayo: I have made it with my homemade cashew mayo recipe and a store bought one and both turned out delicious. It depends on how much time you have and if you feel like a no-oil healthier meal too (the store bought ones can be heavy on added fat).
- Apple cider vinegar: For a delicious tangyness.
- Dijon mustard: Just a tiny amount adds a nice peppery flavor.
- Garlic: I love adding a small clove of garlic to the sauce for extra flavor, but omit if you don't feel like a garlicky slaw.
- Maple syrup: Just a little to balance the flavor.
How to make this BBQ chickpea bowl
1- Start by cooking some rice if not already done. I love using brown rice, but any rice or even other grains like farro or barley would work great too. You want something to soak up on the delicious BBQ sauce! Also, boil the corn in water for about 10 minutes. Then drain and let cool down until ready to eat.
2- While cooking the rice and corn, start on the chickpeas. Simply combine all of the BBQ chickpea ingredients in a small pot and stir to combine. Then, warm up on medium high heat, uncovered, and keep simmering while stirring often for 10-15 minutes. The chickpeas are ready when the sauce has thickened up to your desired consistency.
3- While the chickpeas are simmering, make the coleslaw. Slice the cabbage and green onion and shred the carrots, then add them to a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk. Add the sauce to the cabbage-carrot mixture and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4- Now, build your bowl! Layer some rice at the bottom, then distribute the warm chickpeas and coleslaw with some corn. Add more green onion if desired.
Watch how to make it
In a hurry? Here is how to speed up the recipe!
- Get bagged & already shredded cabbage, then simply add the dressing and stir.
- You can also use your food processor to shred the cabbage if you are not used to chop vegetables thinly.
- Use your favorite store bought BBQ sauce! Simply add some to the chickpeas in a small pot and warm up. In this case, the BBQ sauce should already be to a nice thick texture, so you don't have to simmer for very long, it should be ready within a few minutes when the saucy chickpeas are warmed up.
- I also always keep a bag of frozen & already cooked brown rice that I can simply thaw in the microwave within a few minutes when in a rush.
BBQ chickpea bowl recipe variation
You can use the saucy chickpeas as a base and add on a tons of veggies, like chopped onion, mushrooms, leafy greens (collard green, spinach, kale) and even cauliflower. You might want to cook the adds-on first in the pot for a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.
If you really love smoky flavor, then adding a generous pinch of smoky paprika would boost the flavor even more.
Other serving ideas
You can make a delicious sandwich out of this recipe! Forget about the rice and fill a bun with the chickpeas and coleslaw. You could also roughly mash some of the chickpea first while keeping the texture mostly coarse to make a sloppy joes styled sandwich.
You can make a BBQ pizza using the chickpea mixture instead of the classic tomato sauce! Add all your favorite topping like onion, pepper and mushrooms (cauliflower and pineapple chunks would work great too) and cook your pizza just the same!
The BBQ chickpeas and coleslaw both store very well, which makes it a great recipe to prepare ahead for busy weeks. Keep them in covered containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. The slaw will soften while resting, but will still remain delicious. Simply warm up the chickpeas in the microwave when ready to eat, and add a splash of water if the sauce became too thick.
Other chickpea recipes you might like
- Creamy chickpea dill salad
- Chickpea and vegetable curry
- Chickpea and oat burgers
- Chickpea flour mini savory pancakes
- Broccoli hummus
I hope you enjoy this BBQ chickpea bowl as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
*THANKS TO MY SISTER SONIA WHO HELPED DEVELOP AND TEST THIS RECIPE*
BBQ Chickpea Bowl with a Quick Creamy Coleslaw
- 2 x 15 oz canned chickpeas - rinsed and drained
- ½ cup water or veggie broth
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
For the quick creamy coleslaw
- 4 cups cabbage, green and/or purple - finely sliced
- 1 cup carrots - shredded
- 2-3 green onion - sliced
- ½ cup vegan mayo - homemade or store-bought
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dijon
- 1 small clove of garlic - crushed
- ½ tsp salt - or to taste
- cooked brown rice - or other cooked grains like farro or barley
- cooked corn on the cob
- In a small pot, add all the BBQ chickpea ingredients and stir to combine. Then, warm on medium-high heat and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes. The chickpeas are ready when the sauce is to desired consistency.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, make the coleslaw by combining the cabbage, carrot and green onion in a large bowl. Then in a small bowl, whisk to combine the sauce ingredients, then add to the cabbage. Stir and set aside until ready to serve.
- To serve, lay some rice to the bottom of a bowl and top with some BBQ chickpea, coleslaw and corn on the cob. Top with more green onion, if desired. Enjoy!
- Store any leftover BBQ chickpeas or coleslaw in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat the chickpeas in the microwave when ready to eat (you can also add a splash of water if needed first).
- This recipe makes for great sandwiches filling too! Stuff a toasted bun with the chickpeas (you can roughly mash some of them) and top with the slaw for a sloppy joe's kind of sandwich.