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Close-up of dried cicerchie beans
Cooked cicerchie beans mixed with sauteed mushrooms and pasta in a white serving bowl.
Cooked cicerchie beans in a wooden bowl

Cicerchia Bean

$ 7.25

Free shipping on orders $50+

A rustic Italian-bred legume with an unusual, almost tooth-like shape, prized in Italy for its rich flavor. 

In the 1980s, Steve lived in Italy and loved these odd, garbanzo-like legumes. He never could remember what they were called, and when he’d ask his Italian friends about them, he’d describe them as old, wrinkled teeth. “Oh! Cicerchie!” The inspiration for these was from nostalgia, but after cooking them, we all agreed they are well worth revisiting. It turns out that they are not so obscure with Italian cooks, and smart chefs stateside love them, as well.

April Bloomfield described them in the Los Angeles Times a few years ago: “Once they are cooked, they taste like a pea crossed with a chickpea. Even though they are dry, they have a certain freshness.”

Pluralization of Italian words can be confusing. Singular is cicerchia and plural is cicerchie, much like singular is biscotto and the plural is biscotti. You’d pronounce them "chee-CHAIR- key-ah."

There is some concern about the toxicity of cicerchie. Diets of large amounts and little else will be unhealthy over time. The same is true of fava beans and polenta, by the way. Eat a varied, nutritious diet and you will be happy and healthy. Do not eat nothing but cicerchie for months on end. 

Limited availability.
Cooking Suggestions

Italian soups, purees, and pasta e fagioli

From the Rancho Gordo Kitchen

Especially popular in Tuscany as "zuppa di cicerchie," a warm soup with lots of tomatoes and good olive oil. Pictured here with sauteed mushrooms and pasta for a delicious version of pasta e fagioli.

Cooking Instructions

Check beans for debris, and rinse thoroughly. In a large pot, sauté aromatic vegetables (onions, garlic, celery, carrot, etc.) in olive oil. Add beans and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a full boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, using a lid to help regulate the heat, and gently cook until done, 1 to 3 hours. Salt when the beans start to soften. A pre-soak of 2 to 6 hours will lessen the cooking time.

Similar to

Chickling Pea, Chickling Vetch, or Grass Pea

Latin name

Lathyrus sativus

Country of origin


"If you want the best dried beans in North America, order them from Rancho Gordo."

Hugh Acheson

The Broad Fork (Clarkson Potter Books)

Customer Reviews

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Cicerchia Bean

$ 7.25
Shipping Details

Free Shipping on each order $50 and over

FedEx Ground shipments, and one shipping location per order.

For orders less than $50: 
Our flat-fee shipping charges via FedEx Ground is $11 (regardless of weight)
One pound or One Thousand pounds, it's the same price. 

Our flat-fee shipping charge via US Postal Service is as follows:
$11 each 15 pounds
All shipments to Hawaii, Alaska, P.O. boxes, and APO/FPO/DPO addresses must go via USPS.

I just placed my order. When will I get my shipment?

It normally takes us 1 to 3 business days to process orders. If we are experiencing further shipping delays, we will add a note to the checkout page with further information.

We process and ship orders from Northern California Monday through Friday, via FedEx or US Postal Service. A shipment can take from 2 to 5 working days to be delivered after it leaves our warehouse, depending on where you live and what shipping service you selected. Please call us (707/259-1935) to arrange for faster shipping if you need your order to arrive sooner. 

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The Rancho Gordo Story

You Can Blame it All on the Dutch

I was shopping one August for tomatoes and, despite Napa being one of the world's most magnificent agricultural regions, all the tomatoes were from a hothouse in Holland! Worse, they were hard and pale pink instead of the ripe tomatoes I was craving. I started to grow my own tomatoes and this eventually led to beans.

My first harvested heirloom bean was Rio Zape. They were pretty and easy to grow but I had no idea what to expect when I cooked them. They were similar to the pintos I liked but there was so much more going on. Hints of chocolate and coffee mixed with an earthy texture made my head spin. I was blown away by Rio Zape and the other heirloom beans I was growing, but also really confused why they were such a big secret. I took the beans to the farmers market, organizing things on my kitchen table. Soon there was a warehouse, followed by more markets and mail order. It seems we had struck a nerve. People agreed that heirloom beans were worth saving, growing and cooking. Currently our warehouse, a retail shop, and offices are in Napa, California, and a stop here is part of many tours of the wine country. 

All of my agricultural pursuits have been based on being someone who likes to cook but gets frustrated by the lack of ingredients, especially those that are native to the Americas. One of the things that originally drew me to beans was the fact that they are indigenous to the Americas. It seems to me these indigenous ingredients should be familiar, if not common. American cuisine is re-inventing itself and I'd love to include ingredients, traditions and recipes from north and south of the border as part of the equation. I love the concept of The Americas. I feel as if it's just as important as the European heritage many of us share.

You can read more about the Rancho Gordo story here.


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