Ρεβίθια στο Φούρνο (της Καλύμνου) — Baked Chickpeas (from Kalymnos)

Traditionally a dish enjoyed on Sundays throughout Lent, Ρεβίθια στο Φούρνο (Baked Chickpeas) are a staple on the island of Kalymnos (I’m sure I’ve said before that’s the island from which my family is from?!). In the past, women would layer the chickpeas, onions, rosemary and olive oil in a clay pot (πήλινο in Greek), seal it and place the clay pot in an outdoor stone oven to slowly cook from Saturday night. By the time they returned from church services Sunday morning, the meal was ready to be shared with the family.

This is a dish that reminds me in every way possible of my Giagia (my paternal grandmother) who made it often. The mere image of these baked chickpeas brings me back 20 some-odd years to when my Giagia would come up the stairs from her apartment carrying a plate brimming with the rustic goodness of this dish. Don’t think I enjoyed eating them as a kid: the rosemary was much too strong an herb for me back then and the chickpeas in my mind had an odd texture. But now, I can’t get enough … especially when they are cooked as such. The chickpeas are slightly crisp outside and creamy inside; the onions are sweet and savory all at once; the rosemary has a lovely earthy flavor; and all that olive oil is just heavenly when slopped up on a piece of crusty bread. And I am so lucky that–unlike myself at their ages–my little ones enjoy them too and we can all appreciate them so much more now … for the taste … and for the memory of my beloved Giagia.

I stay true to the Kalymnian way of cooking the chickpeas, just adding a couple of dried chili peppers for some spice … and using a plain-old GE Profile oven to do the cooking. One thing to note, however, is that I share here a simplified (in terms of method not in flavor) recipe in which I first boil the chickpeas until tender and then bake them in the oven with caramelized onions afterward. You can, of course, cook the dish entirely in the oven: just soak the chickpeas overnight in water with some salt or baking soda; drain them just before using; add the drained chickpeas to a roasting dish/dutch oven with the remaining ingredients; seal tightly; and bake for 4 to 5 hours at about 275 degrees.


Ρεβίθια στο Φούρνο (Καλύμνου) — Baked Chickpeas (from Kalymnos)

1 lb. chickpeas
3 large onions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2-3 small dried Pili Pili Peppers (Capsicum Annuum or chili peppers)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Boil the chickpeas until just tender (about 1 hour). Once done, drain in a colander and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup of the olive oil in a dutch oven or large oven-proof skillet. Add the onions to the skillet, season with salt and cook the onions until caramelized and golden in color. With a slotted spoon, remove the caramelized onions to a bowl. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To the same skillet/dutch oven (with the oil remaining from the onions), add the rosemary sprigs and chili peppers and saute for about a minute. Stir in the drained chickpeas and cook until heated through and coated well with the olive oil (if the chickpeas seem dry, add a bit of the remaining 1/3 cup olive). Top the chickpeas with the caramelized onions and place the skillet/dutch oven in the oven. Cook the chickpeas, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Serve the dish hot, warm or even at room temperature.

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25 Responses to “Ρεβίθια στο Φούρνο (της Καλύμνου) — Baked Chickpeas (from Kalymnos)”

  1. Rosa says:

    Really scrumptious looking!



  2. Joan Nova says:

    I am definitely going to try this. It looks delicious and I just bought a bag of garbanzos. Yes, and some nice crusty bread (and a glass of wine) is definitely required.

  3. Anna A. says:

    Love this recipe! I love chickpeas and rosemary. I am so making this. Thanks to you and giagia for this recipe.

  4. Peter says:

    The first time I had chickpeas in serious way was in Sifnos and when they are slow cooked, man O man are they good.

    This is definitely good Sunday fare.

  5. Ivy says:

    They sound delicious. I must definitely try them.

  6. Konstantina says:

    Wow, these pictures look great! As I just wrote to Ivy, my mom never cooked chickpeas, but I love them! I will defintely give this dish a try!!

  7. Bookmarked! I found chickpeas only recently and I love them! I could eat them for every meal if I wanted to. :) These look fantastic! Can’t wait to try them.

  8. Add me to the list of wanting to make this! I love chickpeas but usually opt for the canned version for convenience. I just bought some dried ones and am ready to tackle this Maria…

  9. Chickpeas are sooo delicious! Especially cooked in the oven as so many other legumes done the Greek way.
    By the way, I had these when I was in Kalymnos! Beautiful island and so green…

  10. Jurgita says:

    I’m so sorry for the off topic question, however I’m curiuos do you have a recipe for Greek Σάμαλι pie? I’ve eaten it in Crete and it was sooo delicious, that I really felt in love with it (after baklava and kadaifi, of course) :)
    I’ve already tried one recipe that I found on the internet but the pie wasn’t as good as that one in Crete…

    Help me, please :)

  11. admin says:

    Jurgita: I love my mom’s Ravani which is quite similar to Samali, so I always end up making that instead. But I have tried this recipe

    I hope it works out!

  12. Bridie says:

    How long do these last in the fridge? I want to make some a few days before a long tapas lunch I’m hosting on Saturday. Hopefully I can reheat them on the day. I’ve had a Greek version that had tomatoes in the sauce – can this be added to this recipe? I think this would work well with fried Kefalotiri cheese… Thanks!

  13. admin says:

    I’d say if you want to make the dish entirely from Friday it would be fine; just heat it (covered) before serving. But I think you can even start this from Thursday: You can boil the chickpeas from Thursday, rinse them under cold water, drain and cool before covering tightly and storing in the fridge. Plus you can caramelize the onions at the same time, cool them and store them in a tightly sealed container. Then I’d say you can saute the chickpeas with the rosemary and chilis early Saturday, layer them with the already caramelized onions, bake them through and have them ready for when your guests come.

    They go great with cheese and plenty of bread! I hope it works out!

  14. admin says:

    As for the tomatoes … I’ve always enjoyed this particular dish without them. I make another chickpea dish with some tomatoes and rice that I cook entirely on the stove but it is completely different; different spices; different texture; different dish. I personally prefer the chickpeas with the caramelized onions without tomatoes but you can alter the dish according to your tastes! Kali Orexi!

  15. Foodjunkie says:

    I absolutely love this! Got chickpeas planned for this week, I will give your recipe a go. How can I say no to caramelized onions??

  16. WOW, this dish is awesome!!! I love everything about it!

  17. Jurgita says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I’ll definitely try. Both :)

  18. Mary Ann says:

    Just returned from a week onn Sifnos…the chickpeas werfe outstanding. Am ready to make them myself. Thanks for the recipe.

  19. [...] recently made her baked chickpeas, a traditional Kalymnian recipe from her grandmother, just because I always felt that chick peas [...]

  20. A says:

    I just had this in Athens! Do you think it would work well in a slow cooker/crock pot?

  21. admin says:

    I think they’d cook just fine in a slow cooker/crock pot. Honestly, I have yet to invest in one but I am sure this type of dish would work fine using one … just soak the chickpeas overnight in plenty of fresh water then place them with all the ingredients in the slow cooker to cook away. You may want to caramelize some onions separately though to top the chickpeas with once done.

  22. Panayiotis says:

    Μπρε καλώς τα αρβίτσα!!!

    What a wonderful site and great recipes. As someone who grew up with Kalymnian culture, the mere mention of this dish reminds me of Sundays this time of year…

    Next time you’re making them, let me know and I’ll come play tsambouna or violi for you! : )

  23. [...] get all its natural flavor), Spinialo (sea squirts in brine), Phylla (meat-stuffed grape leaves), baked chickpeas with caramelized onions and Mouri to name a [...]

  24. admin says:

    Manny: so glad you enjoyed the dish! Great to hear from you and how your family enjoys such similar dishes. In the end, we all have much more in common than we think :)

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