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Chickpeas Should Be Your Secret Weapon In The Kitchen

12:02 PM EDT on April 27, 2023

These protein-packed legumes are a great addition to many dishes, or even playing a starring role, as in the Roasted Chickpeas recipe included below

Chickpeas deserve more love in Italian kitchens. Sure, they get lots of attention from our Mediterranean diet brethren, most notably in hummus, but there’s just not a lot of recognition given to the “ceci” on Italian menus and tables. We at Appetito hope to change that by championing the ceci on a regular basis. No, we are not part of some Chickpea Industrial Complex (though that would be cool); we heart ceci because they are full of nutrients, including high doses of zinc, which boosts immunity and fights inflammation. They are also super low-calorie, packed with protein (11 grams in one cup), damn filling and full of fiber (35 grams in a cup). Oh, and they are delicious and economical as well.

When I lived in the hills south of Florence, the local bakery roasted ceci every Friday night. I adapted this custom to a scene in my novel Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure, to which Chef Cara DiFalco dedicated an episode of her Emmy-nominated show, Cara's Cucina. Her recipe and episode can be found here.

Here’s how I get my ceci on:

Roasted Chickpeas (Ceci al Forno)

Roasted Chickpeas (Ceci al Forno)

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Recipe by Andrew Cotto Course: Features


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 cans 2 ceci beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

  • 3 cloves 3 garlic, minced

  • 1/2 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

  • zest of one lemon

  • 3 sprigs 3 fresh rosemary, chopped

  • salt to taste

  • red pepper flakes to taste

  • juice from the zested lemon

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 extra virgin olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • In a baking dish or tray, combine beans, onion, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and rosemary. Mix well.
  • Pour olive oil over the beans.
  • Cover the dish tightly with foil.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove foil and squeeze lemon over top before serving.

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