Chickpea and chard stew for Lent

Lent was very important when I was growing up, because I studied in a Catholic nun’s school, and my mom was deeply religious. There were many traditions surrounding this sacred time, such as processions, prayers, mass… Children were not allowed to play, and we thought it was the worst season of the year, far too boring and far too long. On Good Friday, my grandmother forbade us to take a shower because we were going to be transformed into some kind of fish (and that made me dream of becoming a mermaid… which was actually quite appealing!) Music, TV and any other kind of entertainment were banned from our lives during these weeks. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

In Peru there are many typical dishes to enjoy during Lent, but one of my favorites is this garbanzo –or chickpeastew, full of flavor, and providing a lot of energy and satisfaction during these days of low, or zero meat consumption. Sometimes, salted-dried cod is added, but then it is a completely different dish.

As you can imagine, in Peru we start with raw garbanzos, but we don’t expect everyone to share our love of slow cooking. To prepare this stew you can make good use of the very practical canned chickpeas, cooked and ready in minutes. Make it as thick or thin as you prefer, and if you want to make it heartier, add some potatoes, diced carrots and some celery. The official side dish is rice, but good, crusty bread will work perfectly fine with this.

The first time I cooked garbanzos, my love for rosemary was bigger than my good sense, so I added several good size sprigs. Do I need to say that my stew was completely inedible? Too much of a good thing doesn´t mean it will be better. Be wise and use rosemary sparingly, or substitute with oregano, thyme or parsley.

How do you celebrate Lent?          


Chickpea and chard stew
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
  • *2 cans chickpeas
  • *1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • *2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • *1 tomato, chopped
  • *1/2 chili pepper, chopped
  • *Bunch chard leaves, cut in strips
  • *Sprig of rosemary
  • *Oil for cooking, salt and pepper
  • *1 litre water
  1. *Rinse the chickpeas very well, to take the canned flavor away.
  2. *Sautee the onion, garlic, chili and tomato for about 5 minutes, at medium-high heat.
  3. *Add the chickpeas and rosemary, keep sauteeing for a couple minutes more, and then add water and bring to a boil.
  4. *Cook for 20 minutes. 10 minutes before it's ready, add the chard stems and season with salt and pepper.
  5. *When it's ready, turn the heat off and add the chard leaves. Move until they are cooked.
  6. *Serve with rice, or a good crusty bread.




  1. I love garbanzos! What a delicious recipe!

  2. This looks SO good! We recently started trying to eat vegetarian so I am going to take advantage of LENT recipes and keep them in my regular recipe stash. This one looks like my kids can like it too!!

    • Yes Dariela, my daughter loves Lent recipes because she’s vegetarian. Good luck getting the kiddies to eat legumes. It really is a matter of getting them used to it.

  3. OMG! I love this. My hubby is going to like this dish when I prepare it for him!

  4. Ok, so I loved your story of Lent! You studied at a Catholic nun school? I would have been whacked every day with a ruler lol. FYI: I’m going to a Peruvian Restaurant in Boston this weekend. My cousin is having an engagement party and she selected the restaurant. Any suggestions? I am very picky and I am a big meat eater. Not so much veggies

    • Oh Sujeiry, if you’re a big meat eater I wouldn’t worry too much. Peruvians eat anything that moves! You will find plenty of options in the menu. Let us know how it goes!

  5. oh awesome that you’ve cooked garbanzos for the 1st time. they’re so good and so diverse! riquisimo. y con rosemary nonetheless… very robust.

  6. I love chard and really do not eat enough of it. This is a great idea and actually gives me ideas for other dishes to make with chard.

  7. This reminds me of a dish my Tía Visi makes in Spain. She loves garbanzos! And she cooks them very well, too!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. Perhaps I’ll try it sometime.

  8. Oooohooo. Yum! And beautiful pics.

  9. I looooooooooooove chickpeas something fierce. Like I almost want to eat my computer screen reading this post. Thanks for providing another way to enjoy my faves =)


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