Israeli-Inspired Bliss: Warm Chickpeas with Creamy Tahini Sauce
Hummus lovers, this one’s for you! This simple but nourishing meal of Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce is inspired by one of my favourite cheap and cheerful dinners at Miznon restaurant in Melbourne, Australia. A few months ago I was looking for a vegan friendly restaurant for an after-work dinner in Melbourne’s CBD. One of my Instagram followers recommended I try Miznon and I’m so glad I did! They are a casual, cool Isreali street food restaurant on Melbourne’s iconic Hardware lane, serving up a variety of both vegetarian and omnivorous dishes. Most of their veggie meals can be easily made vegan and my favourite of them all is their Hot Chickpeas Pita.
What I love about the dish is that it’s so creamy and rich, but uses the most simple combination of plant-based ingredients. It’s loaded with plant-protein from the chickpeas and healthy fats from the tahini. Serve it in a pita bread with some wilted greens and you’ve got the perfect vegan lunch or dinner formula!
What do you need to make Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce?
I reckon this really is the perfect lunch or dinner for a nutritious, filling vegan wrap that goes beyond your standard hummus and falafel combo. As a bonus, not only is this recipe budget friendly and easy to make, but it uses mostly pantry staples and dry goods! Here’s what you’ll need to pick up to make it:
- Canned chickpeas
- Hulled tahini
- Olive oil
- Red onion
- Ground cumin
- Fresh lemon
- Vegetable stock
- Pita bread
- Greens of choice (I suggest kale or spinach)
What to pair chickpeas with?
The chickpea is a humble, yet delicious and nutritious legume that can be prepared in a variety of ways. They have a slightly nutty, earthy flavour that pairs well with spices such as cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika. They also taste great with herbs like parsley, thyme, and mint. Additionally, chickpeas work well with classic aromatic seasonings such as garlic, onion, and tomato paste.
Chickpeas are popular in many cuisines around the world. In Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, they are best known in classic dishes such as hummus, falafel and tabbouleh. They are also often paired with zucchini and eggplant to create hearty dishes packed with flavour and nutrition.
Chickpeas also feature heavily in Indian cuisine, particularly in curries and other vegetarian dishes. Chana Masala a popular vegan-friendly dish made from chickpeas simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. Chole bhature is another classic Indian dish consisting of spiced stewed chickpeas served with deep-fried bhatura flatbreads on the side.
In this Isreali-inspired recipe, we are enhancing the chickpeas creamy texture and slightly nutty flavour by pairing them with the rich and smooth tahini sauce. However, if you prefer tomato based dishes with your chickpeas, try my recipe for Egyptian Koshari and simply replace half the lentils with chickpeas.
Is tahini made from chickpeas?
No! Although they make a great flavour pairing and often feature side by side in recipes, tahini is not made from chickpeas. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. It has a creamy texture and a slightly nutty, earthy flavour that works well in a variety of dishes, dips, sauces or spread.
What is tahini?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It has a nutty, earthy flavour and a creamy, smooth texture. It is probably best known for its use in many Middle Eastern dishes, and can also be eaten as a dip or spread. Tahini is high in protein and healthy fats, and it also contains a number of vitamins and minerals. There are two main types of tahini – hulled and unhulled.
Hulled vs Unhulled Tahini
- Hulled tahini is made from sesame seeds that have had their hulls removed. The hulls are the outermost layer of the seed and are generally removed before sowing to improve germination rates. Hulling also removes much of the fat and oil from the seed, resulting in a drier, lighter coloured tahini paste with a creamier texture and milder, balanced flavour.
- Unhulled tahini is made from sesame seeds that have had their hulls left on. This results in a darker, richer coloured paste with a more intense flavour as well as a higher oil content. Unhulled tahini is considered to be more ‘natural’ and has a longer shelf life than hulled tahini, however, its flavour is more bitter and is therefore a less popular choice.
Substitutions for ingredients in Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce
- Chickpeas – I beg you not to change the star of this show! Chickpeas are one of the hero ingredients in this recipe. If you’re in a pinch you could try swapping them for canned butter beans or white beans. Roasted cauliflower florets would also be very tasty with the tahini sauce.
- Tahini – unfortunately, as tahini is the main ingredient in our sauce there’s no real substitute, it’s a must for this recipe!
- Red onion – this could be substituted for white onion or brown onion.
- Za’atar – Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix, usually made from oregano, thyme, sumac, cumin and sesame seeds. It has a strong, aromatic flavour that goes well with many dishes. If you can’t find it, try swapping this for some dried oregano and thyme for a similar (but less complex) flavour profile.
- Fresh lemon – if you have bottled lemon juice give that a go! It will be less strong, but still a good option. If you don’t have that, try 1/2 a tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 tbsp water.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce recipe is a delicious, healthy and easy way to enjoy legumes. Tahini is the star of the show in this dish, providing a creamy and nutty flavour that pairs perfectly with chickpeas. Be sure to give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce
- 400 g canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1/4 red onion finely diced
- 2 tsp za'atar
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 3 tbsp hulled tahini
- 2-4 tbsp vegetable stock
- pita bread
- greens of choice
- red onion finely diced
- Heat olive oil in frypan over medium heat.
- Add red onion and saute for 2 minutes, then add garlic, za'atar and cumin, stirring constantly. Cook for a further 1 minute.
- Add chickpeas and lemon juice to deglaze the pan, then turn off heat.
- In a small bowl, mix tahini and 2 tbsp vegetable stock until well combined. Pour over chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add extra vegetable stock if you prefer the sauce to have a thinner consistency.
- Serve immediately on pita bread with greens of your choice, top with extra red onion and za'atar if desired.