Journey to the Blue Zones: Ikarian Baked Rosemary Chickpeas

BY June 30, 2020
Photo by David McClain

In a new cookbook, the creator of the popular Blue Zones Project—a lifestyle program adopted by Southwest Florida as a community—leads us back to the colorful cultures that inspired his work. 

Ikarian Baked Rosemary Chickpeas


1 pound chickpeas, soaked overnight, rinsed, peeled and dried (or four 15-ounce cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained)

1 bulb garlic, core removed

½ cup fresh rosemary leaves, stems removed

5 small red onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

¼ cup grape syrup (may substitute with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, maple syrup or honey)

Juice of two lemons, plus zest

Salt and pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. If using dried chickpeas: Drain chickpeas from soaking water; boil in fresh water for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain and then transfer to a clay pot or heavy baking dish. If using canned chickpeas: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Pour boiling water over chickpeas so the beans are just covered.
  3. Stir in garlic and rosemary leaves.
  4. Using your hands, massage onions with extra-virgin olive oil until slightly softened.
  5. Add onions and grape syrup to the chickpeas, mix to combine.
  6. Cover the pot with foil and bake for one hour; remove cover and bake for another 30 minutes—stirring if needed.
  7. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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