30-Minute Smashed Chickpea Taco Bowls

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Drizzling aji verde sauce over a smashed chickpea taco bowl

Welcome to another EASY, nourishing, flavorful plant-based meal (we know you love them!). This EPIC bowl combines limey, salty, spicy smashed chickpeas with fluffy quinoa, caramelized roasted veggies, and an aji verde sauce so good you’ll want to lick the blender!

Ready in just 30 minutes, this nourishing meal is our new weeknight go-to and soon to be yours, too. Let’s get cooking!

Chickpeas, peppers, limes, red onion, salt, spices, aji amarillo paste, aji verde sauce, and quinoa

How to Make Chickpea “Taco” Bowls

These vegan taco bowls get their name thanks to the smashed chickpea taco “meat” made by mashing chickpeas with olive oil, lime juice, aji amarillo paste (or sriracha), salt, and dried herbs and spices. They’re smoky + spicy + limey + SO versatile!

Using a fork to smash chickpeas in a bowl

Once in the oven, they cook long enough to crisp around the edges while still remaining moist and “meaty.”

Spicy smashed chickpea taco "meat" on a baking sheet before baking

Then it’s on to the fajita-style veggies! Sliced bell peppers and onions get tossed with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder and bake at the same time as the chickpeas.

Sliced peppers and onions on a parchment-lined baking sheet

While they’re doing their thing in the oven, there’s time to prepare a batch of quinoa (in the Instant Pot is our preferred method!) and the vibrant aji verde sauce. Assemble into bowls, drizzle that sauce, and it’s mealtime!

Peruvian-inspired taco bowls with smashed chickpeas, roasted peppers and onions, and spicy aji verde sauce. A flavorful, hearty, vegan and gluten-free meal ready in just 30 minutes! #minimalistbaker #vegan #glutenfree #chickpeas #bowls

We hope you LOVE these taco bowls! They’re:

& SO delicious!

Enjoy them for an easy weeknight meal, or meal prep to enjoy throughout the week. They’d also be fun for a Friday night dinner party served with Chili Lime Mango Margaritas or Easy Vegan Flan (No-Bake!).

More Nourishing Plant-Based Bowls

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Quinoa, smashed chickpeas, and roasted peppers and onions topped with aji verde sauce and cilantro

30-Minute Smashed Chickpea Taco Bowls

Peruvian-inspired taco bowls with smashed chickpeas, roasted peppers and onions, and spicy aji verde sauce. A flavorful, hearty, vegan and gluten-free meal ready in just 30 minutes!
Author Minimalist Baker
Smashed chickpea vegan taco bowl drizzled with aji verde sauce
4.54 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Peruvian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month (quinoa and chickpeas)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days (stored separately)



  • 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed and well dried
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp aji amarillo paste (or sriracha)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt


  • 2 medium bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, sliced lengthwise (we used green and red)
  • 1 large onion (red or yellow), peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder




  • CHICKPEAS: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, toss the chickpeas with olive oil, lime juice, aji amarillo paste (or sriracha), cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and salt until evenly coated. Mash with a fork until well broken down and cohesive.
  • Transfer to one of the parchment-lined baking sheets and spread into an even layer with some spaces between the groupings to encourage crisping.
  • VEGGIES: On the other baking sheet, add the sliced bell peppers and onions. Toss with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Spread evenly over the pan. Roast the chickpeas and vegetables for 20-25 minutes until crispy, stirring/flipping halfway through.
  • QUINOA: Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot. 1 cup dry quinoa yields ~3 cups cooked.
  • SAUCE: Make your aji verde sauce.
  • Serve the vegetables and chickpeas over quinoa and top with aji verde sauce. Sprinkle with optional cilantro and serve.
  • Leftovers can be stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The quinoa and chickpea taco “meat” can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of salt, a full batch of aji verde sauce, and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 436 Carbohydrates: 53.9 g Protein: 13.1 g Fat: 20 g Saturated Fat: 2.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 11.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 995 mg Potassium: 626 mg Fiber: 9.4 g Sugar: 11.2 g Vitamin A: 462 IU Vitamin C: 89 mg Calcium: 84 mg Iron: 4.1 mg

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My Rating:

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bianca, sorry that happened! Did you make any adjustments, such as to the amount of oil? If not, baking for less time should help!

  1. Kelly Bairos says

    We’re not cilantro fans but the rest of the recipe sounds delicious. Is there another sauce you can recommend using?

  2. Kenzie says

    I love so many recipes on this blog, but this one was just okay. The sauce was delicious, but I don’t think there was enough texture difference between the quinoa and the mashed up, roasted chick peas.

    I think the idea of chickpea taco meat is a really good one and a good replacement for tofu taco meat I sometimes make, but I don’t know if we’ll do the bowl again.

    Thanks for the recipes though!

  3. Kris Kent says

    This is such a flavorful recipe! I enjoyed the other comments on what they added. Thanks so much!

  4. Christine Whittington says

    Wow! Full of amazing, distinctive flavors! The bowls looked a little naked after I put everything together, so I added halved cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado. Even better! Kitchen is a mess, though. I don’t believe the “30 minutes,” but that time factor rarely works for me. I did also cook the chickpeas, so there was that. Better yet, there are leftovers. This dish is truly epic, as per the description. The Aji Verde sauce is delicious (for cilantro lovers, like me) and I can see using it on lots of things. I used my small blender–the one I use for smoothies–for the sauce. I did not have aji amarillo paste, so subbed Sriracha in the chickpeas and Sriracha + 1/2 large jalapeno in the Aji Verde sauce. The fact that they have “Taco” in the name makes me think they could be topped with a few tortilla chips. Minimalist Baker is quickly becoming one of my favorite food blogs.

  5. Ashley says

    This was great! It surprised me how good the chickpea taco meat was. Excellent. Thank you so much!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Ashley. Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  6. Kate says

    This was great, though I had more of a chickpea crumble – it would not clump! I also forgot to get cilantro, so I tried substituting kale. Still great.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Kate! We’re so glad you enjoyed it! If you didn’t already, perhaps try mashing the chickpeas more and adding them to the baking sheet so they’re touching. Hope that helps for next time!

  7. Tammy says

    While this was really delicious, it definitely took more than 30 minutes to come together! This is my BIGGEST pet peeve with recipes. There is NO way, between the time to prep (especially smashing the chick peas) and cook that this takes 30 minutes. This isn’t even including making the aji verde sauce. Please consider adjusting the time.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for the feedback, Tammy! We’re glad you found it to be delicious! We found it took about 10 minutes to smash the chickpeas, chop the veggies, get everything in the oven, and then about 20 in the oven. The quinoa and sauce can then be made while those are in the oven. Could you help us with which part(s) you found took longer? We don’t typically include time to get out ingredients since that’s so variable person to person and how well a kitchen is organized, but we wonder if maybe that could account for the difference?

      • Tammy says

        Thanks for the response. No, I really don’t believe it was getting out the ingredients. I found it took a bit to dry the chick peas thoroughly, longer to smash them (I feel the biggest part to get them really smashed up), and cooking them, as well as roasting the veggies (both took quite a bit longer than the stated cook time and I didn’t have large cuts of veggies). The quinoa definitely was not the issue at all. I got that going when I started prepping the veggies.

        Time stated from start to finish, when not accurate, is a huge pet peeve of mine when following recipes. I felt that prep and cook time time was understated with this recipe. I am not a novice cook so I *do* know my way around the kitchen as well as quite a few tips and tricks.

        I’ve made other recipes from your site without issue. I subscribe to your newsletter and follow you on Facebook and Instagram. I love the recipes…all are delicious. However, I felt the need to bring this one up as far as it being “30 minutes”.

    • Christine Whittington says

      Same here, with taking longer. I think it is just me being slow, because I always take me longer than recipes say it should. It probably took me 10 minutes just to mash the chickpeas, another 10 to add all of the ingredients to them, another 10 to slice the pepper and onions. Next time I will pulse them in the food processor. I did cook the chickpeas in my Instant Pot, which I have to do because I live at 10,142′ altitude. Also, the quinoa took longer for the same altitude reason.

      I like to prep all of my chopped and sliced ingredients and spices beforehand, but didn’t do it this time–that could have affected the time because I was having to find stuff. Where is the lime squeezer? Where is the Srirachi hiding in the fridge? Oh, need to peel the garlic. I did make the aji verde sauce while the chickpeas and veggies were roasting. I decided I wanted to add avocado and halved cherry tomatoes after the face, so that was a few more minutes.

      So, it would probably have taken a normal person on a normal day 30 minutes, but not me this time and, again, that’s just me.

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Christine! Thank you for sharing your experience. xo

  8. Laura D says

    This was really yummy. I prepped the sauce, veggies and chickpeas the day before, so it was quick to roast and cook the quinoa the next day for dinner. The aji paste is pretty spicy, so I split the chickpea mix and sauce in half and only added it to one half so my kids could eat the non spicy half. I also only added half the aji paste to the sauce. I added some chopped avocado to the bowl too. Thank you!

  9. Susan says

    The flavour combo was nice but I found the chickpeas too dry. Next time I will prep them on the stove top – I don’t need them crispy. I found the aji amarillo paste and doubled the amount for more of a kick. Sadly my family is the “cilantro tastes like soap” so I used parsley, an okay substitute but the cilantro was missed by the cook! We topped the bowls with some fresh chopped tomatoes and green onions. With a few tweaks we will enjoy them again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Susan! Another option if you’d prefer the chickpeas to be more moist would be to bake for a shorter amount of time.

  10. Claudia "the amateur vegan chef" says

    Wow!!! I made this for my daughter & son-in-law. Oh so easy & totally delicious. They aded some roasted brussels sprouts & sautéed spinach to green it up. Thank you, Dana xoxo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Claudia! Thanks so much for the lovely review. xo

  11. Jen says

    So delicious! I did mine with Broccoli and spinach as I am not a pepper fan. Sauce made the dish! Will def go into the rotation.

  12. Christan Moy says

    Looks good! At what point do you smash the chickpeas and what do you suggest is the best way to do so?