Nigella Lawson's smashed chickpeas with garlic, lemon and chile



4 to 6

Nigella Lawson's smashed chickpeas with garlic, lemon and chile

Photography copyright © 2017 by Jonathan Lovekin.

There is not a way I don’t like a chickpea or, indeed, a time when I couldn’t eat mashed potatoes, and this is a very happy combination of both, while being very gratifyingly its own thing. It offers comfort, uplift, aromatic zing, and ease – just what you want when lacking time or energy or both. While I eat this all the year round, I do think of it as the perfect summer version of a bowl of wintry mashed potatoes. And cold, this bumpy chickpea mash is wonderful as a kind of tahini-free hummus.


  • 3 tbsp regular olive oil
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic , peeled and minced
  • 2 lemons , finely grated zest of one, plus 1/4 cup of juice
  • 1 red chili , seeded and very finely chopped
  • 6 cups (4 x 16 ounce cans) chickpeas , drained
  • sea salt flakes or kosher salt , to taste
  • a few glugs extra-virgin olive oil


  • Warm the regular olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan that comes with a lid then, over a low heat, stir in the garlic, followed by the lemon zest. After 30 seconds or so of pushing around the pan with a wooden spoon, or whatever you use, just to make sure the garlicky zest doesn’t stick to the pan, add most of the chopped chile (saving some just to sprinkle over at the end) and stir for ½–1 minute, by which time the pan will be spicily fragrant, and the chile will become translucent orange, turning the lemony, garlicky oil a rich yellow. It’s all very Tequila Sunrise.
  • Turn the heat up to medium, add the chickpeas along with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and stir gently so that they’re slicked in the aromatic oil and flecked with chile, then cover, turn down the heat, and let cook gently for 5–10 minutes until warmed all the way through. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, and leave for a few minutes before smashing the chickpeas roughly with an old-school potato masher, just until you have a fuzzy rubble. Leave for a few minutes longer, so that they are warm – or even room temperature. If you want to leave them longer than 10 minutes, just put a lid on.
  • Just before serving add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice as well as salt to taste, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, scatter with the rest of the chile, and take to the table.

Tip: I use jarred chickpeas mostly; canned chickpeas are often too pebbly, I find. Obviously you can use dried chickpeas that you’ve soaked and cooked to velvety softness, if you’re prepared to wait. And whether you’re using fat chickpeas out of a jar or ones you’ve cooked yourself, don’t drain them too meticulously: a little of the gloopy liquid that clings to the chickpeas is a good thing here.

Excerpted from At My Table by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2017 by Nigella Lawson. Photography copyright © 2017 by Jonathan Lovekin. Published byAppetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.