Sicilian chickpea fritters with scamorza & chili
Prep time
Cook time
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Simple street food from the markets of Palermo brought to our kitchen. If you can't find scamorza, any melting cheese is fine - fontina, Emmental etc. Serve with sweet chili sauce or my spicy tomato passata (ketchup). Add a salad, and you’ve a great snack lunch or supper for a meat-free day! Serves four large ‘burger’ size patties or 12-16 small balls or patties ideal as appetizers.
Recipe type: Snack / Light Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12-16
  • 2 x 400g tins Chickpeasprint button transparent
  • Scamorza or other melting cheese (small block)
  • dried chili flakes – amount as desired
  • zest of 1 lemon & juice of half a lemon
  • 1 egg, medium size
  • fresh-milled sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • dried oregano or thyme, a rounded teaspoon and some to sprinkle
  • polenta – to coat the fritters
  • A little extra virgin olive oil
  • Sweet chili sauce (shop bought) or Red Bistro passata to serve
  • Parmesan to grate on to serve
  1. Drain, rinse and shake dry canned chickpeas. Place in a food processor.
  2. Add all the other ingredients except the cheese. Pulse, then whiz up the chickpeas on speed two until a medium-grained paste. There’s no need to make it totally smooth.
  3. Sprinkle some polenta on a large flat plate. Take a small handful of the chickpea mix and form into a ball, then press flat gently between palms. Set aside and make another chickpea disc. Place some thinly sliced Scamorza on the top of one disc, then cover with the second disc. Press lightly together and then coat all sides of the fritter in polenta. I used a burger press to make my fritters which were quite deep at around 2.5cm so I could encase a good amount of Scamorza. If making appetizers, make smaller patties or balls – with the latter, simply make a dimple in the ball, press in the cheese and reform the ball.
  4. Cover and chill in the fridge for two hours.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (fan). Place fritters on a metal baking tray lined with baking parchment. Drizzle over some olive oil and bake for around 20 minutes, turning once, until crisp and slightly golden on top.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at