Easy Chickpea Scramble

This chickpea scramble is a perfect option for plant-based eaters who are looking for an alternative to tofu scramble for breakfast! It’s quick, easy, and packed with plant-protein and nutrition from chickpeas and vegetables. Serve it with rice, quinoa, or toast for a complete morning meal.

A white, rimmed bowl has been filled with a bed of cooked rice and a scrambled chickpea mixture, then sprinkled with bright green parsley.

One of the first recipes that I learned as a new vegan was tofu scramble. I must have made it at least three times a week for a year. It was quick, easy, nutritious, and it made for good breakfast or take-to-work lunch leftovers.

The other evening, I was craving tofu scramble but realized that I didn’t have any tofu in the fridge. What I did have was a couple cans chickpeas. This easy chickpea scramble is the fast and tasty dish that resulted from scrambling chickpeas instead of tofu. And I’ve learned that chickpea scramble isn’t just enjoyable as a tofu scramble alternative: it’s a great staple breakfast in its own right!

What is chickpea scramble?

This chickpea scramble results from scrambling chickpeas and vegetables with a spice mixture in a hot skillet. Like any one of my tofu scramble recipes, this dish features sautéed veggies, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. It’s just a different protein base.

Because I make tofu scramble as often as I do, chickpeas are a nice change of pace! They’re more toothsome than tofu, and they become pleasantly crispy in the skillet as they cook. Using them as a scramble base is also a nice option for those with soy allergies.

It’s possible to use chickpea flour to create a chickpea scramble that mimics the texture of eggs. I like that kind of scramble a lot, but I make this scramble with whole chickpeas much more often. It’s faster cooking, which is a big advantage on busy mornings.

A white bowl with a light gray rim holds chopped onion and peppers.

How to make chickpea scramble

The process of making this chickpea scramble is so simple. First, you’ll sauté some onions and garlic in your skillet (I like to use cast iron for this recipe). Next, you’ll add mushrooms.

A pinch bowl has been filled with a swirly mixture of spices and salt.

While everything cooks, you’ll stir together a seasoning blend. The one I like to use has turmeric, chili powder, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast (for umami), and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes for heat.

Finally, you’ll throw in the chickpeas and seasoning blend. Continue to cook everything in the skillet until the chickpeas are just starting to get crispy, about 5-8 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and that’s it! Breakfast is ready.

A black, cast iron skillet holds a mixture of sautéed vegetables and garbanzo beans.

Do I need to cook chickpeas from scratch for this recipe?

Absolutely not. While I do sometimes cook chickpeas from scratch to save a little money, I use canned chickpeas all the time. Many of my quick and easy dinners begin with a can of chickpeas!

You can use either scratch-cooked or canned chickpeas in the chickpea scramble recipe. If cooking from scratch, you’ll need three cups of cooked chickpeas total.

Can I substitute another bean for the chickpeas?

You can. I’ve found that other beans don’t get crispy as chickpeas do, and I really prefer the texture of chickpeas to most other beans. But I’ve made this sample skillet meal with white beans, black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. You can use the scramble as a way to use up the beans you have, incorporating them into a nutritious meal.

How to serve chickpea scramble

It’s so easy to enjoy the chickpea scramble and its leftovers. My favorite way to eat it is over a bed of cooked rice, with some chopped fresh herbs. You can serve it similarly with any cooked whole grain you like.

I also love to pile the scramble over toast. I’ve also incorporated it into wraps and pita pockets. For a lighter meal, the scrambled chickpeas can be piled over a bed of sautéed leafy greens. This is especially nice if you drizzle it with some yum sauce.

Can the chickpea scramble be frozen?

It can be. I tend to think that chickpeas freeze and defrost really well. I’d suggest freezing the scramble for up to four weeks.

If you’re not freezing, the leftovers can be stored for up to five days in an airtight container in the fridge.

An angled photograph of a white, ceramic bowl with a gray rim. The bowl rests on a white surface and holds a combination of cooked rice and a vegan chickpea scramble.

More savory breakfasts

I can’t get enough savory breakfasts in the morning! They keep me fuller longer than sweet breakfasts do, and they’re especially good for incorporating plant protein in the morning. This chickpea scramble is a favorite. Here are some others:

A white, rimmed bowl has been filled with a bed of cooked rice and a scrambled chickpea mixture, then sprinkled with bright green parsley.
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Quick and Easy Chickpea Scramble

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 8-10 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 14.5-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
  • cooked whole grains, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • hot sauce, for serving (if desired)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and peppers. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is clear and soft. Add a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
  • Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Mix the vegetables and cover the skillet. Allow the mushrooms to cook for another five minutes, or until they’ve released their liquid and are soft and cooked through.
  • While the vegetables cook, mix your spices (salt, turmeric, chili powder, smoked paprika, and pepper flakes) together. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the spice blend, the nutritional yeast, and the chickpeas, as well as about a third or half cup of water. Stir the mixture thoroughly to be sure everything is well combined. Continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until everything is hot and and the chickpeas are just starting to get crispy. Check the mixture for seasoning and season to taste with additional spices, salt, or pepper.
  • To serve, divide the chickpea scramble over even portions of cooked rice, another whole grain, or toast. Garnish with lime wedges and a sprinkle of parsley. Add some hot sauce, if you like. Enjoy!

Notes

Leftover chickpea scramble will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
An overhead image of a vegan chickpea scramble, which has been seasoned with red chili powder and other spices. It is garnished with chopped parsley.

Hopefully this recipe will come in handy the next time you need to throw together something special in a pinch. It’s equally good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

xo

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    15 Comments
  1. Mmmm I love tofu scramble! And this chickpea version sounds great (especially the mushrooms). I like the idea of adding a side of quinoa for that extra punch of protein. Have you tried black salt? It gives it a great taste for scrambles =)

  2. Thanks for the recipe, Gena! I made it for dinner and served it over barley. Yum. I will probably experiment with adding different veggies in the future.

  3. I never know what to call this when I make a similar dish – I like the sound of scramble! I find myself making something like this over and over again; it’s just so easy and satisfying. To keep it interesting, I mix up the beans I use, add sweet potatoes or plantains to the skillet instead of serving over a whole grain, add baby spinach, top with avocado or olives, or add a few spoonfuls of coconut milk.

  4. Yummy! Might pour this over kale for lunch. 🙂 Thanks!!! As always, you are the best!

  5. Thank you for sharing! I’m always looking for better breakfast choices for myself and the kids, this will be PERFECT! I’m going to pin this to my pinterest board for later (:

  6. Looks delicious! I just wanted to say the work you’ve put into your photography skills this year is really paying off! Just gorgeous! xoxo

  7. Gena, Just curious–what are your thoughts/reasons on using safflower oil? I typically stay away from it due to its higher omega-6 fat levels. Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah!

      I think safflower oil is a suitable option for high heat cooking (so is grapeseed and for sautéing, so is olive oil). Coconut oil is a good option, too, but I don’t love the way it flavors food, so I prefer it for baking. It’s true that safflower is high in Omega-6s, which have a pro-inflammatory effect when eating disproportionately, but I get a lot of Omega-3s in my diet from flax and chia and hemp and walnuts, as well as flax oil, and I don’t consume most of the things that can create an Omega-6 imbalance (processed foodstuffs, factory farmed meat). So, I think my balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids is probably OK, and I don’t worry too much when I want to enjoy sunflower seeds or safflower oil in moderation.

      I hope this helps!

      G

  8. I love chickpeas done any way (well, so far, at least!!!) and this looks delicious – I think my other half would love it with a good jacket baked potato:) thanks for sharing

  9. I’m a chickpea girl and would take those over tofu any day so this sounds great! All the spices you used are favourites of mine so I’m sure I’d enjoy this.

  10. Thanks Gena–this looks great–my kinda meal! 🙂 I was pondering which kind of beans to soak for cooking tomorrow, and now it will be chickpeas. 🙂