Culinary Institute of America Recipe
Print Recipe

Lemon Chickpea Muffins

As the world’s premier culinary college, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is trying to help everyone understand why food matters and how to make smarter choices about the foods we eat. The CIA has been working with the Harvard School of Public Health to remake many of our favorite foods, and we’ve recently taken on the task of making over our muffins.

People often think that in order to eat better, they need to remove all fats completely from their diet, but this is far from the truth. We need fats in our diets, but we need to make smarter choices about the types of fats we consume. Healthier, non-saturated fats like those found in nuts and olive oil are important for our bodies, and learning how to enjoy them in moderation is an important step towards eating better.

This recipe for Lemon Chickpea Muffins was developed by the CIA for a Harvard-CIA “Muffin Makeover” project and incorporates healthy fats and whole grains to create a better-for-you version of the massively oversized, calorie-laden muffin found in most restaurants and bakeries.

“Lemon and cardamom is a classic flavor pairing that makes these muffins fragrant and delicious,” says CIA Chef Melissa Fritz. “Using puréed, canned chickpeas creates a very moist, tender muffin because the chickpea starch holds water so well. The addition of ground almonds to the batter contributes a hearty nuttiness as well as healthy fats.”

You can create more healthful versions of many baked goods using simple substitutions. If a recipe calls for butter, start by replacing half of the butter with a healthful oil, such as canola. Then see if you can replace half of the refined, all-purpose flour with whole grain flour.

Pair these muffins with fresh fruit and yogurt for a quick and satisfying breakfast. They are also perfect for packing into a school lunch or enjoying as an easy afternoon snack.

Recipe source: CIA Chef Scott Samuel

CIA's lemon chickpea muffins recipe



Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups chickpeas (1 15 oz. can), drained and rinsed
  • Zest from two lemons
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Purée the chickpeas in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Add the lemon and orange zest and juice, olive oil, sugar, and egg yolks. Purée until smooth.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Stir in the chickpea mixture, then add the ground almonds.
  6. Whisk egg whites until they hold semi-soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, sugar, and cardamom. Set aside.
  8. Scoop batter into muffin tin. You can use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to do this, but you’ll only need to add a generous 1/4 cup of batter to each muffin cup. Sprinkle the muffin batter with some of the almond-sugar-cardamom mixture.
  9. Bake 12–13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
 Nutrition Analysis per muffin—Calories: 170, Protein: 4 g, Carbohydrate: 23 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sodium: 230 mg, Saturated fat: 1 g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated fat: 5 g, Trans fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 31 mg

Want new recipes delivered to your inbox each quarter?
Sign-up for our newsletter. Or sharpen your skills and learn to prepare similar recipes in our Boot Camps and Saturday classes. Subscribe Now >
Close Menu