Meatless Meal Base: Herb Brown Rice & Chickpeas

Savory brown rice and chickpeas are a delicious meatless meal base. Top with curry, roll in a wrap, layer with roasted veggies, or eat straight from the container like my daughter! A scoop of savory brown rice and chickpeas is simple, flavorful and flexible for meal prep.

Brown Rice and Chickpeas are a delicious building block for meatless meals

Rice and beans may sound like a bland, tasteless part of a meal. That’s not this dish! I cook grains exclusively in vegetable broth, so that they are saturated with flavor. And, the za’atar Middle Eastern spice blend (thyme and sesame seeds) gives this meal base an herby flavor and aroma.

This is actually more of a “grain and bean template” than a recipe. Feel free to experiment, use what’s in your pantry, or aim for what most of your family will enjoy. Try farro or quinoa instead of brown rice. Try pinto beans instead of chickpeas. Swap the seasonings for an Italian blend, or curry, or lemon juice.

Rice and Beans Are a Delicious Staple

People, cultures and cuisines around the world enjoy meals with a base of rice and beans. Think of different international cuisines you might have tried:

  • Cuban black beans over rice
  • Indian chickpea curry (chana masala) or kidney bean curry (rajma) over rice
  • Mexican arroz y frijoles
  • Cajun red beans and rice
  • Ethiopian misir wot (spicy lentil stew) over rice

It’s not just a coincidence. Rice and beans are an inexpensive and filling meal. They can be seasoned and put in an endless variety of sauces. Nutritionally, brown rice and beans give you a full belly and a good boost of protein.

Meatless Meal Tip #2 Video

Cook Brown Rice and Chickpeas in Instant Pot

5 Plant-Based Ingredients

Grab these 5 ingredients that are probably already in your pantry: a grain, a bean, vegetable broth, favorite seasoning and salt. I use brown rice, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), vegetable broth made from “Better Than Bouillon” vegetable broth concentrate paste, za’atar and salt.

Chickpeas, brown rice, vegetable broth, and za'atar (a Middle Eastern sesame, salt and herb blend).

Pro Tip: Always rinse grains in a fine-mesh sieve before cooking! Whether quinoa, farro, brown rice, sushi rice or jasmine rice, give them a quick swish under cold running water. It rinses off dust, debris and particulates may be coating the grains. Rinsing also improves flavor and fluffiness of rice and quinoa. Have you ever found cooked quinoa to be bitter tasting? It’s the powdery resin on the quinoa. Rinse it off!

Food52 Article: Which Grains to Rinse and Why

Instant Pot

As a mom, I love any recipe that says to dump all ingredients in a pot, set the timer and walk away. Zero babysitting makes me a happy mama. Well… for my food at least!

Add all 5 ingredients to the Instant Pot and give a good stir. Lock the lid on and set to “Sealing”.

Brown Rice and Chickpeas ingredients all in the Instant Pot

Set the Instant Pot to “manual” or “pressure cook” (depending on your model). Set the timer to:

  • 23 minutes (for most altitudes)
  • 30 minutes (for high altitudes) – We are at 9,400 feet and water boils at a much lower temperature. If you are also at a high elevation and struggle with undercooked grains and potatoes, I highly recommend a pressure cooker. Always increase the cooking time 10-30%. This may take some experimenting.
Brown Rice and Chickpeas in Instant Pot, Manual Mode

The Instant Pot will take a few minutes to build up pressure. Then, it will begin counting down the time.

Ready to Eat

When the Instant Pot has finished and beeps, safely release the steam immediately. After removing the lid, you’ll be greeted by fluffy, fragrant rice and chickpeas!

Meal Prep Ideas

Add roasted veggies to brown rice and chickpeas for a savory grain bowl. This can be eaten hot or cold, so it is perfect for school or work.

Roll lettuce, roasted veggies, brown rice and chickpeas in a spinach wrap for a filling, meatless lunch.

Lunch wrap meal prep with brown rice, chickpeas, and roasted veggies
Brown Rice and Chickpeas in the Instant Pot for Meal Prep

Meatless Meal Tip #2: Herb Brown Rice and Chickpeas

  • Author: Katie Allen
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 23
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x


Savory brown rice and chickpeas are a delicious meatless meal base. Top with curry, roll in a wrap, layer with roasted veggies, or eat straight from the container like my daughter!



  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, rinsed
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp za’atar (or seasoning of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot. Lock lid and set to sealing.
  2. Set to “Manual Mode” for 23 minutes (or 30 minutes for high altitude).
  3. The instant pot will take a few minutes to build up pressure. Then it will begin counting down the time.
  4. When the Instant Pot has finished the 23 minutes (or 30 minutes), it will beep. Immediately vent the steam safely. This is called quick release.


Vegetarian: Recipe is vegetarian.

Vegan: Recipe is vegan.

Gluten-Free: Recipe is gluten-free.

Meal Prep Ideas: Top with curry sauce and vegetables. Roll into a wrap with fresh or roasted vegetables. Layer in a bowl with fresh greens, veggies, seared tofu and sauce. Add to tacos.

  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 278
  • Sugar: .3g
  • Sodium: 357mg
  • Fat: 6.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Protein: 5.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: brown rice and chickpeas, vegan meal prep, plant based meal prep

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