This Chickpeas and Rice dish from Portugal, locally known as Arroz com Grao, is an excellent addition to your weekly favorites! You get the rice’s creaminess and chickpeas’ nuttiness in every spoonful!
If you like rice, then make sure you try these other Portuguese rice recipes:
This rice and chickpeas dish is an excellent side dish for grilled or roasted meat — or serve it on its own.
Oh, one last thing! When adding liquid to arroz com grao, remember that while it typically ‘flows’ with sauce, it is not a soup.
FOR MORE TRADITIONAL PORTUGUESE RECIPES, CHECK OUT THESE POSTS!
- Chickpeas – as the image above shows, I typically use dried chickpeas when making this Portuguese rice dish.
- Butter – melted and combined with some olive oil for sauteing.
- Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil would be excellent for sauteing and drizzling when serving.
- Garlic – minced or sliced thinly.
- Onion – chopped finely, like when you’re cooking a traditional risotto.
- Ham – smoked or not, use what you prefer, and slice it thinly.
- Salt – just use your favorite brand.
- Rice – I keep it traditional, so I used carolino rice to make this classic Portuguese dish.
See the recipe variation section when using canned chickpeas or a different kind of rice.
Start making Portuguese chickpeas and rice by soaking the dried chickpeas in cold water.
Let it sit for eight to twelve hours — I always leave it overnight.
Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
Place them in a big saucepan with four to four and a half cups of water.
Cover with a lid, then bring to a boil.
Adjust the heat and simmer for about thirty minutes or until the chickpeas are soft.
Remove the pan from the heat but keep the chickpeas in the water.
Add the butter and olive oil in a separate and bigger pan and place it over medium-low heat.
Once the butter melts and the oil is ready, add the garlic and onion.
Turn the heat to medium and cook until the onion becomes soft and translucent.
Add the rice and chopped ham, then stir to combine.
Drain and separate the chickpeas from their cooking liquid — do NOT throw the water!
Pour three to three and a half cups of the chickpea cooking liquid into the ham and rice.
Cover with a lid, adjust the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for fifteen to eighteen minutes or until the rice softens.
When the rice is almost cooked, add the drained chickpeas.
Mix gently, taste, and add salt, if needed.
Place the lid back on and finish cooking the rice.
Serve and enjoy your Portuguese chickpeas and rice!
- Remember to chop the onion finely. They should disappear once the rice is cooked, like preparing a traditional risotto.
- Do not hesitate to add more liquid to the rice and chickpeas when you prefer it to be more watery.
- Remember to taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt.
- Make sure you stir the rice gently to avoid breaking (or smashing) the rice.
- Bay leaf. You can add dried bay leaves (and garlic) when cooking chickpeas.
- Skip the ham. While commonly added by the locals, ham is not used traditionally in this Portuguese rice dish.
- Canned chickpeas. About three cups of canned chickpeas will be great as a substitute; remember to rinse the chickpeas and throw away the liquid in the can.
- Basmati rice. If you cannot find carolino rice, basmati is an excellent option.
It’s the same rice I use to make another classic Portuguese dish, tomato rice.
What to serve with Portuguese chickpeas and rice?
Rice and chickpeas are excellent with grilled or roasted meat, like other savory Portuguese rice dishes.
But since there are bits of ham, I sometimes enjoy this dish as a complete meal.
Drizzling extra virgin olive oil or garnishing it with fresh parsley are excellent ways to serve it.
Looks absolutely delicious, right? So, give this chickpeas and rice recipe a try this weekend!
OR GET MORE IDEAS FROM THIS LIST OF RICE DISHES AROUND THE WORLD!
FOR MORE EUROPEAN RECIPES, CHECK OUT THESE RECIPES BY COUNTRY!
Portuguese Chickpeas and Rice Recipe
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, (plus more for drizzling)
- 1/4 stick butter (25 grams)
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2/3 cups rice (150 grams)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup ham, chopped
- sea salt
Prepare the chickpeas:
- Combine the dried chickpeas with cold water the night before and let them soak for 8 to 12 hours.
- Rinse the chickpeas and place them in a big saucepan.
- Pour 4 to 4 & 1/2 cups of water, place a lid, and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chickpeas soften.
- Remove the pan from the heat but keep the chickpeas in the liquid.
Prepare rice and chickpeas:
- Add the butter and olive in a bigger pan and place it over medium-low heat.
- Once the oil is ready and the butter has melted, add the garlic and onion.
- Turn the heat to medium and cook until the onion softens.
- Add the rice and chopped ham, then stir to combine.
- Drain and separate the chickpeas from their cooking liquid — do NOT throw the water!
- Pour 3 to 3 & 1/2 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid into the ham and rice.
- Cover with a lid, adjust the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until the rice softens.
- Add the drained chickpeas and mix gently when the rice is almost cooked.
- Taste, and add salt, if needed.
- Place the lid back on and finish cooking the rice.
- Serve and enjoy your Portuguese chickpeas and rice!
Cook’s Tip #1: Add more water if you prefer more liquid with arroz com grao. Do not forget to taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Cook’s Tip #2: See recipe variation section for using canned chickpeas.