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20-Minute Chickpea Tacos

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 3
Calories: 686kcal
Author: Nisha Vora


Spiced Chickpeas

  • 1 (15-ounce/425g) can of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Squeeze of lime juice

Cilantro Pesto

  • ½ cup (70g) roasted cashews (or pistachios or walnuts)
  • 2 ½ cups (36 to 40g) loosely packed cups of cilantro leaves and tender stems (no tough stems)*
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped**
  • 1 medium lemon or 1 large lime, zested and juiced***
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • cup (75 mL) extra virgin olive oil

For serving

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • Your favorite store-bought salsa****
  • 1 large avocado, diced


  • If your nuts are raw, spread them out on a sheet pan and roast for 7 to 10 minutes at 350ºF, tossing halfway through.
  • Transfer the chickpeas to a clean dish towel or a layer of paper towels and gently pat dry as much as you can without smushing them. They need to be well-dried before cooking.
  • Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat with the 2 teaspoons of oil and spread the oil out with a paper towel to evenly distribute it. Once hot, add the chickpeas and spread out in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes to allow some browning. Toss and cook for another 3 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden brown and blistered in spots.
  • Add salt and spices, and toss well to coat the chickpeas. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes to allow flavors to blend, then take off the heat and hit with a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Meanwhile, make the cilantro pesto. Add the nuts to a food processor and blitz until in very tiny pieces.
    Add the cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, lemon (or lime) zest, 2 tablespoons lemon (or lime) juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and blend until a paste forms. Scrape the paste towards the middle. Turn on the motor and stream in the olive oil until it comes together into a sauce. If needed, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to bring it all together, or add it for a thinner sauce. Taste, adding more lemon juice or salt as needed.
  • To char corn tortillas: If you have a gas stove, turn a burner to medium-low and use tongs to place the tortilla directly over the flame, 10 to 20 seconds per side until charred, in spots.
    Or, you can add each tortilla to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for 15 to 30 seconds per side. Stack and wrap charred tortillas in a dish towel to keep them warm.
  • To assemble the tacos, spoon some cilantro pesto into the center of each tortilla. Add a handful of the spiced chickpeas. Top with diced avocado and salsa.



* I recommend tasting your cilantro first to ensure it's not too bitter (if it is, it can make the whole pesto bitter). Occasionally, the stems will be bitter, so use just the leaves. 
** If you can't tolerate spicy food at all, omit the jalapeño. For a little heat, remove the membranes or use half of the pepper. 
*** Lemon is better at masking bitter flavors, so it's my preference in case the cilantro is a bit bitter. 
**** For homemade salsa options, check out the "Tips" section of the blog post.