A smoky, vibrant, delicious Lebanese Chickpea Stew flavored with the warmth of za’atar is what I have for you today.
This is a weeknight recipe, especially if you’re using canned chickpeas, like I did. There is a minimum of chopping required, lots of flavor added by the already-roasted red bell peppers and rich tomato paste, and the je ne sais quoi of the za’atar which is an herb and spice mix I often turn to when I want lots of flavor for little effort.
Lebanese food is not only extremely tasty, but it often uses a rich complement of vegetables and beans which makes it really healthy. Even meat dishes often contain beans or grains. And many dishes, as flavorful they are, can also be uncomplicated to make, requiring a bare minimum of spices and herbs that combine skilfully to give you loads of flavor and oomph.
It’s almost impossible to describe the incredible fragrance that wafted through the kitchen and the house as I made this stew. Desi walked in the door sniffing the air, and wolfed down a bowl of rice topped with the stew. “It’s very good,” he proclaimed.
I made this Lebanese Chickpea Stew in my new favorite casserole: a gorgeous but hardy Frieling 9 1/2-inch, four-quart Black Cube Casserole. And Frieling is giving away one of these casseroles to a lucky reader of Holy Cow!
I’ve been cooking a few of my everyday dishes in this casserole for a couple of weeks now, and it has stood up beautifully to the workout I’ve put it through each time. For instance, it did a great job gently browning (without burning) the cumin and garlic paste that first goes into the pot for this recipe, using just a minimum of oil. And then it beautifully sauteed the thick tomato paste I added to that cumin-garlic mixture. If you are someone who water-sautes or dry-sautes most dishes, this pot would be perfect for you.
What I really love about this casserole is the size. It is not as bulky as the other large pots in my kitchen that I have to pull out when I am cooking a family-sized curry or biryani or stew. It’s compact and sits beautifully on the stovetop without crowding it. And it has a lovely glass lid with a rubber seal that sits snugly over the pan and locks tight, making it perfect for slow-cooking dishes like biryani where you want the food to steam inside without losing a lot of the moisture. In fact, the first dish I made in it was a biryani and it turned out incredibly flavorful.
The casserole (a $164.95 value) is also oven-safe up to 500 degrees F, dishwasher safe (perfect for a lazy lug like me who hates to do dishes), and 100 percent scratch-resistant. You can find more information about their products on Frieling’s social media pages.
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas drained
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2-3 tsp za'atar
- 2 leaves bay
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp heaping tomato paste
- 1 inch large roasted bell pepper . Chop into 1/2- pieces. I used the jarred kind
- 2 tsp olive oil or avocado oil or any vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- 2-4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- With a mortar or pestle, or in a food processor, crush the cumin and the garlic together until you have a very coarse paste.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan.
- Add the cumin and garlic mixture and saute a minute or so until it turns fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Saute, stirring frequently, for about two more minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and stir to mix. Add four cups of water, the za'atar, bay leaves and the roasted red pepper. Mix well.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat until it boils gently, and cook for 15 minutes. I like to mash some of the chickpeas with the back of the ladle to thicken the stew slightly.
- Add salt to taste and stir in the parsley. Turn off the heat.
- Serve hot. This is perfect with rice, brown or white. You can also serve with some crusty bread, or some whole wheat pita bread.
More Lebanese deliciousness from the archives:
And here’s my uber-delicious Moroccan Chickpea Stew packed with veggies: