Monday, May 6, 2013

Garbanzo Chimichangas

Has it really been 17 years since I worked at Medleys learning to produce aromatic homemade breads, delicious Cucumber Dill Salad Dressing, speciality cheesecakes, Tofu Foo Yung with its amazing sauces, and -- a favorite -- GARBANZO CHIMICHANGAS? When we made Chimichangas, I had to pull out the calling list and we could be sold out before lunch.

GARBANZO (or chic pea) CHIMICHANGAS are still a favorite of mine and they are simple to make. With everything prepped ahead of time, Chimis are easily assembled and ready to quickly cook for a family supper, home parties or potlucks.


3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chic peas), mashed

2 T. vegetable oil
1 small cooking onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced (I subbed 1 tsp. garlic powder)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, peppers diced
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
10-12 small (soft) tortillas
grated sharp (or extra sharp) cheddar cheese

1. Mash garbanzo beans in a large bowl.
2. Sauté in oil: onions, carrots, garlic and oregano
3. Add both peppers and cook two more minutes.
4. Stir hot mixture into beans.
5. Add and stir: tomato paste, cumin, salt and turmeric.
6. Assemble chimis (see photo and directions below)
7. Cook over medium heat in small amount of vegetable oil, using pan with high sides. Don’t cook too many at one time. Space them out in the pan. Add oil as needed.
8. When browned, turn. Keep turning as they cook until brown and crisp on all sides.
9. Drain on plate covered with paper towels.
10. Serve with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream.

Assemble the chimichangas...
1. Spread 1/3 cup of the mixture across the tortilla, slightly below the center, and sprinkle it with cheese.
2. Fold the bottom up and over the mixture.
3. Fold each side in toward the center.
4. Roll the tortilla away from you.

In the spirit of good health and weight control, I purchased shredded Reduced-Fat 4-Cheese Mexican cheese instead of cheddar cheese. Never again. GARBANZO CHIMICHANGAS need -- no, they deserve! -- full-fat sharp or extra-sharp cheddar.

The same goes for the sour cream. I tried the reduced fat. No! This ingredient, too, needs to be full fat.

Oh, one more thing ~ You’ll notice a dish of oil and a pastry brush in two of the pictures. I brushed some of the chimis with oil, then baked them on a cookie sheet in the oven, trying 375-degrees for the first ten minutes, then turning them and baking at 400-degrees. They didn’t get that nice brown color or the crispness. Maybe if I’d baked them at 400 for the entire time... Back to the tried and true method of cooking them in the pan on the stovetop.



As a single person, I sometimes (often?) take my meal to the living room and eat off a TV tray while watching a movie or documentary. TV tray meals are usually cobbled-together with whatever happens to be in the kitchen, no measurements recorded.

All-Grain Sandwich Thin with veggie dogs, swiss cheese, Miracle Whip and yellow mustard; red leafy lettuce with store-bought Thousand Island Dressing, and; mangoes and kiwi sprinkled with fresh lemon juice.


I always swore I'd not use "prove you're not a machine" for commenters. A few months ago, I changed my settings and opened up the comments to everyone including those who wanted to be anonymous. The problem is that by doing so, Step by Step in the Kitchen is open to spamming. In the beginning it was one or two comments, now it's up to ten or so per post. Therefore, I hope you will be understanding about having to type in a word or two or a number. Thank you, my dear readers.


  1. This winter, we should get together and cook! I can show you my how I make my Ezekiel Bread from scratch.

  2. I usually stay away from anything named chimichanga because of the deep frying. I never thought about baking them ... thank you for the recipe and baking them!

    Aren't Sandwich Thins are a wonderful invention?

    1. Sandwich Thins are a favorite of mine, Brenda. When I worked at Medleys, I had never heard of chimichangas. I fell in love with this garbanzo (vegetarian) version. We never deep fried them, always using just about an 1/8-inch of oil in the pan and adding more as needed to keep them from burning.

  3. I tried gazpacho at a restaurant once and it was delicious, but your recipe makes them look even better :)

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Thanks, CCU, and the bonus is that while they are typically made with shredded chicken, these are stuffed with garbanzo beans (chick peas) which I love.

  4. Good idea to bake them Kathleen. I never did really like them fried. I know you know this, but chimichangas are a Mexican delight. A lot of foods we eat here in the US are not made the same way as in Mexico.
    Your dinner looks delectable Kathleen :)


    1. My timing was perfect, wasn't it, Randall! Cinco de Mayo never entered my mind. Just going through old recipes and had an urge for chimis. BTW, my next post is a vegan (don't let that word scare you!) pumpkin pie--delicious!

  5. Ah... chimichangas are one of my fav food that easy to prepare but I have never thought to bake them. I'll keep this recipe for next Saturday cooking. Today is my schedule for supermarket and see if the beans is available there. Thank you Kathleen.

    1. You're welcome, Muhammad. I always use canned beans, but want to cook my own beans next time. One and a half cups of dried beans should double and be enough for the recipe. (That's the note I have written on my recipe card--so I must have tried it once upon a time!)

  6. Great chimichanga recipe, Kathleen, and I especially like your use of garbanzo beans here. So unexpected. I agree, too, that full fat products would be better here. I've had mixed results trying low/no fat products and one that I avoid is no fat sour cream. Thanks for sharing your recipe and expertise with us.

    1. You're welcome, CJ. We have a surfeit of initialed relatives in our family, so I hope you feel the welcoming love with my abbreviation of your name!

      Coming up next is Tofu Pumpkin Pie on which I tried lite whipped topping--another no-no. Full fat is best in that one, too.


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