Dried chickpeas

While visiting France, Doug’s cousin Arsene took us to his daughter’s school end-of-the-year program — a hantess, to Armenians. Arsene’s daughter, Marie-Luz, attended an Armenian day school outside Paris.

We’d been to many a hantess before, but never one like this. It started around 11 a.m. and didn’t wind down until about 10 p.m. In June, each teacher and their students performed skits, recitations, dance routines, songs – you name it.

Generations of families set up camp for the day, bringing board games, such as tavloo, extra tables and chairs, and a recipe to serve hundreds. Arsene was in charge of making the Hummus.

Doug and I figured he got off easy with this recipe, even though he’d have to make a huge amount — just open a bunch of cans of chickpeas, and throw the rest of the ingredients into a blender, small batches at a time. Voila!

We were quite surprised when Arsene cleared the car out of his garage, set up a kettle as large as a tympani, and hooked up heating elements, the likes of which we’d never seen before.

When I asked why he was going to all this trouble, Arsene looked at me strangely and replied that it would take three days to make hummus, and he needed the space to make as much as was needed. Don’t you make you hummus this way? He shuddered at the thought of making hummus using canned chickpeas. I’m sure he figured we were just being “lazy Americans.”

Doug & I looked at each other, thinking silently yet simultaneously, 3 DAYS??? Is he serious? Arsene was quite serious. He had to pick through the chickpeas for any stones or unsuitable beans, soak, strain, rinse, and cook them before he could even make the recipe.

Then he had to make tons of hummus, and refrigerate it for the flavors to blend, so it would be perfect come Hantess-time. And it definitely was perfect, a clear hit with the large and hungry crowd.

Chickpeas are low in fat, and high in both fiber and protein. They make a nutritious and satisfying addition to soups and salads. Armenians use chickpeas in many ways, but none of our favorites require anything like three days or even three hours to prepare. In fact, we’re both particularly fond of roasted chickpeas — and lazy enough to buy them already roasted. (You can find the roasted variety in Italian groceries as well as Middle Eastern stores.) They’re a healthy and filling snack that you can enjoy without guilt.

Chickpeas are also great on their own. Here’s an easy way to prepare them: 

Armenian Chickpea Salad
1 16-oz. can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzos)
3 green onions (scallions), chopped
juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/2 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste 1/4 tsp. paprika 

Rinse and drain the chickpeas 
Add parsley and onions 
Add paprika 
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze in the lemon juice 
Add the oil
Toss and serve chilled.
Add fresh chopped garlic for a bit more bite!

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  1. Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Im a 46 yr old Armenian-American from New Jersey, currently teaching English in South Korea. I was born in the US, my grandparents were from Bursa and Sivas. I just made your chickpea salad, threw in a few sliced cherry tomatoes too. MY HEAD EXPLODED WITH THE JOY OF GOD AND MY NECK WAS TINGLING WITH GOODNESS AND PLEASURE AS I ATE AND ATE AND ATE. THAT IS BRAIN FOOD. THAT IS SPIRIT FOOD. THANKS TO GOD, AND THANKS TO YOU FOR POSTING THAT RECIPE. My wife and I (she is from Guyana, South America but her grandparents were from India) are so sick of Korean food and your website just came to my attention a few days back. Keep up the great work. Armenian chickpea salad! OH MY GOD. I'm full right now, but the thought of it has me salivating even though I'm stuffed. 🙂 Thank you brother.

  2. Robyn June 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Dear Anonymous,
    You have warmed our hearts with your enthusiastic comment! We're so glad you've found us, and hope that the other recipes will satisfy you as well.
    By the way, Doug and I are also from NJ. Perhaps we know you and your family.

  3. Anonymous August 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I tried this recipe and it was terrific! I did not get the same level of tingly joy as did the other commenter, but perhaps you have to have overdosed on KimChee to appreciate the tingle you get from a great chickpea salad. 🙂

  4. Anonymous September 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I thought this was a hummus recipe…. i was somewhat disappointed

  5. Anonymous September 15, 2011 at 2:12 am

    If you click on the highlighted word "hummus" in the story, it will lead to the post with the hummus recipe. Or, click on the word "hummus" in the recipe list to the right.

  6. Anonymous September 15, 2011 at 6:51 am


  7. Robyn September 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    It is our pleasure!

  8. Houlland September 1, 2018 at 7:22 am


  9. Sheila Azzara March 11, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Hi have you ever made a socca from chickpea flour? I understand its amazing, gluten free too!


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