One of my favorite chickpea recipes is this vibrant and simple Lebanese Chickpea Stew, a medley of chickpeas with roasted red peppers and za'atar spice. It comes together so quickly and makes a delicious dinner with either crusty bread or steamed rice.
Chickpeas are delicious in a multitude of recipes, including this Chana Masala and this Chickpea Curry. Another one of my favorite chickpea recipes is this smoky, vibrant, absolutely gorgeous Lebanese Chickpea Stew flavored with the warmth of za'atar.
This is a weeknight stew, especially if you're using canned chickpeas. There is a minimum of chopping required, lots of flavor added by the roasted red bell peppers, rich tomato paste, and the smoky, tangy, spicy, nutty za'atar, an herb and spice mix used across the Middle East.
Lebanese food is not only extremely tasty, it often uses a terrific 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 skillfully to give you loads of flavor and oomph.
It's almost impossible to describe the incredible fragrance that wafts through the kitchen and the house when this stew is bubbling away on the stove. Desi walked in the door sniffing the air, and wolfed down a bowl of rice topped with the chickpea stew. "It's very good," he declared.
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Why you will love this recipe
- Flavorful. It's hard to believe that you can get so much flavor from a few ingredients, but this hearty chickpea stew is truly extraordinary.
- Easy. There's very little chopping and cutting involved and you can get most of the ingredients out of a jar or a can.
- Gorgeous. If you eat with your eyes first, as most of us do, this is an absolutely stunning stew with a rich, deep-red, appetizing sauce punctuated by the plump, beige chickpeas.
- Healthy. The chickpeas, bell peppers and za'atar make this an immensely healthy recipe. If you are watching how much fat you eat you can cut down the oil to as little as a teaspoon.
- Vegan, nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free.
- Spices: Cumin seeds, paprika, za'atar spice and red pepper flakes.
- Herbs: Garlic, dried bay leaves and fresh parsley (you can use fresh mint instead of parsley).
- Extra virgin olive oil. Or use any neutral vegetable oil.
- Tomato paste
- Chickpeas. These can be canned or cooked at home. Be sure to drain the chickpeas before using.
- Roasted bell pepper. Preferably red, but yellow or orange will also do. You can roast the bell pepper yourself, or use the jarred kind.
How to make Lebanese chickpea stew
Place garlic cloves and cumin seeds in mortar or in a food processor.
Crush into a coarse paste.
Place olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven along with the crushed garlic and cumin. Turn heat to medium low and saute until the garlic and cumin are very aromatic, about a minute.
Add the tomato paste, paprika and red pepper flakes to the pot and stir to mix. Continue to saute for a couple of minutes.
Add the chickpeas to the pot along with the za'atar, roasted red peppers and bay leaves.
Stir well to mix.
Add 2 cups water to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot and let the stew simmer for 10 minutes for the flavors to merge and for the stew to thicken. Remove the lid in the last two minutes of cooking. I like crushing some of the chickpeas with the ladle or spatula to help thicken the stew.
Add salt to taste, stir in the parsley and turn off heat. Serve the chickpea stew hot or warm. Sprinkle some more fresh parsley as a garnish, if you like.
- Serve the chickpea stew with wholegrain pita bread or with slices of crusty French bread.
- Serve over basmati rice or cumin rice.
- Serve over a bed or quinoa or couscous.
- If you don't have za'atar or can't make it, substitute with two to three teaspoons of a mix of dried oregano, marjoram and thyme. At a pinch, thyme alone will do. Squeeze in some lemon juice for a bit of tang that the sumac would have added. I do highly recommend buying or making za'atar--it's a really simple recipe and you will find all sorts of uses for it.
- Be sure to drain out the chickpeas before adding them to the pot. If you cooked the chickpeas yourself, you can add the cooking stock back to the stew in place of the 2 cups of water in the recipe. You can also use vegetable stock or vegetable broth instead of water.
- Add more water or stock as needed to thin out the recipe. I like this stew quite thick, and keep in mind that it will thicken further as it stands.
- If you like the stew with plenty of heat, use cayenne pepper instead of paprika.
- Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
- Freeze: Freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
- Reheat: Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Thin out with water if necessary.
More delicious chickpea stew recipes
If you love this Lebanese chickpea stew recipe, be sure to check out more Mediterranean recipes on Holy Cow Vegan!
Lebanese Chickpea Stew
- Dutch oven or large pot
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine too. If starting with dried chickpeas use 1 cup of chickpeas and cook until tender, Be sure to drain out any liquid).
- 2-3 heaping teaspoons za'atar (add 2 teaspoons first and add more as needed)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 roasted bell pepper (chopped in small, bite-size pieces)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
- Place garlic cloves and cumin seeds in mortar or in a food processor. Crush into a coarse paste.
- Place olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven along with the crushed garlic and cumin. Turn heat to medium low and saute until the garlic and cumin are very aromatic, about a minute.
- Add the tomato paste, paprika and red pepper flakes to the pot and stir to mix. Continue to saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add the chickpeas to the pot along with the za'atar, roasted red peppers and bay leaves. Stir to mix.
- Add 2 cups water to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot and cook 10 minutes for the flavors to merge and for the stew to thicken. Remove the lid in the last two minutes of cooking. I like crushing some of the chickpeas with the ladle to help thicken the stew.
- Add salt to taste, stir in the parsley and turn off heat. Serve the chickpea stew hot or warm.