Asparagus, Chickpeas and Brown Rice with Lemon Tahini Dressing

I hemmed and hawed over whether to use brown rice or another grain for this dish. I went with brown rice, but I could have easily chosen quinoa, barley, farro or millet. Or a combination of any of these. It’s important to note that I used the quick-cooking brown rice (see tips below), which significantly cuts down on preparation time. Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks wrote this recipe using frozen brown rice, thereby creating a 10 minute dinner. Her simple methods and outstanding vegetarian dishes continue to delight. It’s no wonder she’s made such a name for herself in this space.

    • For the dressing:
    • 1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
    • 1/4 cup tahini
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons hot water
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • For the rice:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 14-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Kosher salt

  • Combine the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice and olive oil in a small jar. Whisk together, then add the hot water to thin it slightly. Season with salt. Close the jar and shake until blended. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the chickpeas to the pan, shaking it around to coat them with the hot oil. Allow them to brown lightly (about 3 minutes) while continuing to move the pan back and forth frequently. Add the garlic and onion and cook for another couple minutes, stirring frequently. Add the asparagus to the pan, toss gently, then cover and allow to steam until the asparagus is bright green and starting to become tender, about 2 minutes. Add the brown rice and sliced almonds to the pan. Toss to combine. Taste for seasonings and add salt if necessary. Place rice mixture into bowls for serving. Drizzle the dressing over the rice and vegetables, then serve.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. The grain you choose for this dish will have an impact on cooking time. I love to create a mixture of grains, but this method usually takes at least 25 minutes on the stovetop. You can check out the method I use in this recipe. As for brown rice, I used the kind that cooks in a little pouch on the stovetop or in the microwave. It literally cooks in 10 minutes. I am usually not a fan of quick cooking anything but I’ve relaxed my rules a bit for brown rice because it tastes just about the same and cuts an hour out of prep time. As noted above, you can now find fully cooked brown rice in the freezer section of just about any store, or in vacuum sealed packages at Trader Joe’s.
  • 2. This dressing is out of this world. Why didn’t I think of this myself? And why didn’t I discover it earlier? I don’t know. But now that I do know, I’ll be making a regular batch for dipping raw veggies or drizzling over just about any salad.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

3 responses to “Asparagus, Chickpeas and Brown Rice with Lemon Tahini Dressing”

  1. Barbara Inyan says:

    Great vegetarian recipe! Quick, easy, and delicious, plus it has plenty of protein without any soy. Perfect for a dinner entree or a pot luck.

  2. Alicia says:

    I made this for dinner (again) tonight. But then I realized I didn’t have a can of chickpeas laying around so I tossed in a few handfuls of kale. Delish! I threw it in at the same time as the asparagus.

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