Operation Use What’s in the Fridge and Pantry to Make a Delicious Meal….

Basmati Rice with Marinated Chickpeas and Pepperoni

I’m just coming off a brutal and busy couple of weeks and really need to relax and remember not everything’s about work and money.

For me, that means creating something, anything. A story, a blog post, a yoga routine or in this case a meal that I don’t have to spend money on.

I woke up today not wanting to see the outside world and not feeling confident enough for the outside world to see me.

Should really be doing the mountains of laundry I have piled up but can’t even entertain the idea of going to the laundromat.

Am I wearing a bathing suit as underwear? Sure am!

Don’t want to spend money on take out I may or may not even like, so it’s time to trust my pantry staple stocking skills I may or may not have. Here we go…

The pantry

Okay, I see chickpeas, not my favorite so that’s probably why they’ve been there for at least a year.

Smoked paprika I bought for one recipe and never touched again…. Mmmm…. Paprika….

Now on to my incredibly disorganized fridge…

Don’t judge!

Basmati rice.

I can always do something with rice if only I didn’t suck so bad at making it.

Today will be the day I don’t suck at rice! It’s decided!

Some sliced pepperoni. Always delicious.

The freezer….

I hate the way this looks. You’d think I’d do something about it.

Frozen broccoli is never a bad idea but meh.

JUST plant based egg substitute! I’m allergic to eggs but JUST, works well as a…. a binding agent!

And breadcrumbs!

I’ll have to move those ones aside to find my gluten-free seasoned panko flakes, allergic to wheat but not an asshole about it when visiting friends or at a restaurant.

And there it is!

Rice cakes!

Back to those chickpeas….. they might be tolerable if marinated. Smoked paprika! Fresh garlic! Dried onion flakes!

A perfect meal

That red onion you see had unfortunately died in my fridge, pretend it’s not there.

Thinking of seasoning.

I have the smoked paprika, fresh garlic and dried onion flakes to marinate the chickpeas, my healthy protein to go along with my not healthy protein (pepperoni), but what about the rice?

I have Sazon and Adobo. Anyone with a Puerto Rican grandmother (me) has these things on hand and buys them automatically.


That’s one packet of Sazon and a sprinkle of Adobo, enough to cover the top of the rice. 2 tblsp of butter optional.

Will not fuck up the rice! Will not fuck up the rice!

The marinade

The sliced pepperoni is photo bombing. They don’t go in the marinade.

I rinse the chickpeas, transfer to a Tupperware container that I’m going to shake and cover the top with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Smoked paprika is strong, you don’t want to add too much.

I do the same with the dried onion flakes, cover the top, and I add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.

Shake it up and let it sit while NOT fucking up the rice for about an hour.

Put it all together!

I just eyeball the egg substitute slowly pouring it in as well as panko flakes while mixing waiting for it to become more paste like.

As I’m mixing I realize it’s not becoming the texture I want like a meatloaf would, chickpeas keep popping out, so I make the decision to….

Change the way I’m going to cook them!

From this….
To this….

Instead of individual cakes, I put two pats of butter, some olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pot, and two more cloves of chopped garlic, underneath my rice/chickpea/sliced pepperoni mixture and flatten it like hamburger.

After 7 minutes of cooking this way…..

Ba Bam!!! See that crust? Delicious!! Fresh celery is the perfect side.


1 15 oz can of chickpeas

Sliced pepperoni, approximately 20 slices, julienned like this….

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Smoked Paprika, approximately one teaspoon, go easy, you can always add it to the mixture later.

Dried Onions, same as Paprika

– Rinse chickpeas in a strainer. Place rinsed chickpeas in a small, preferably round Tupperware bowl you can cover. Cover the top of the chickpeas with smoked paprika and dried onion flakes.

– Cover the bowl and shake. Leave for however long it takes to cook rice.

Basmati rice, 2 servings, prepare as directed on the package. Butter is optional and avoid using broth. Only water. These seasonings are enough.

Adobo, approximately 1.5 teaspoons or enough to cover the top of the rice.

1 packet of Sazon, 1/2 a packet if you don’t like things too salty, you can always add more later if you want.

2 more cloves of garlic, chopped for cooking the rice cake.

Two pats of butter for cooking the rice cake.

Olive Oil, approximately 1.5 tablespoons, enough to cover the bottom of your pan.

P.S., I fucked up the rice.

Had to make another batch. Seriously delicious though!

Hit me up for any advice or any suggestions on what you would have done!

If you made this, let me know what you thought in the comments!!

Published by Cindy

For money, I’m what you call a banquet captain. That means I’m in charge of timing and staff at special events, weddings, benefits, movie premiere parties...ect. I’m also a filmmaker and freelance writer. I’m owned by two cats, Samantha and Harrison Chase who reluctantly allow me to travel, something I’m made to do.

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