• Kris

Chickpeas in shawarma gravy

Updated: Sep 13, 2020


Chickpeas cooked in a spicy gravy with all the yumminess of shawarma. A fun version of the traditional dish! Vegan, gluten free, oil free.



A few years ago, around the Christmas time, I went to Israel. It was one of the best vacations I ever had in my life! I roamed about the cobblestone streets of Tel Aviv. Wandered in the open spice market of Jaffa. Snorkeled with dolphins in the red sea in Eilat. Even had a dip in the wondrous ‘Dead Sea’! Israel helped me check many boxes in my bucket list, just in one trip!

When you talk about Israel, you have to mention how beautiful the Mediterranean Sea is! The warm glaucous waves and tiny golden fish. The boundless sea-breeze and the silver sandy beaches! People and dogs running happily through the promenade along the coast- line. Youths sitting on the beach, playing guitars. It’s just like ‘happy life’ painted as a reality!

And of course, you have to talk about the heritage and adventures! Spending the Christmas eve at Jerusalem?! C’mon, can you get any closer to tradition than that?! Then talk about eating a homemade ‘sufganiyat’ during Hanukkah. That’s a scrumptious jelly donut y’all! Being painted all over your body with Dead Sea mud … not your everyday spa that one!

But what you must talk about and never ever forget, is the food! Oh my! Israel is really the Mecca of food ethos, let me tell ya! Mediterranean, middle eastern, Russian and Roman, all cultures have poured into the melting pot of Israeli food.


You can eat just made hummus with fresh baked warm pita breads from the street carts. You can savor homemade feta cheese and mushroom filled pastries called ‘bureka’ in the crowded bake shops. You can enjoy a beach-side lunch of delicious kebabs wrapped in pillowy soft laffa breads. You can sip the strong anise flavor of ‘arak’ the liquor, sitting at an open air restaurant by the spice bazaar. You can lose yourself in the sweet sensation of a velvety pudding called ‘malabi’. Words are actually not sufficient to describe the real culinary understanding of Israel! And the food that is the most prominent and loved throughout this wonderful country, is ‘shawarma’!


These days shawarmas have gained popularity in many countries even far away from the Mediterranean or middle eastern zone. This is actually thin slices of marinated meat, stacked on a cone shaped rotisserie and roasted slowly to a perfection. It’s incredibly popular as a street food, served with pita or laffa bread. Usually with tahini sauce, and different kinds of salads. Smoky, spicy, tasty, shawarma is just heavenly!


When you don’t eat meat any more, you can’t give up the divine taste of shawarma of course! So, I had to make it in my style. There are wonderful recipes of vegan shawarmas all over the internet. Many of them are made with chickpeas too. But I wanted to be a little different than what is already available. So, I turned it into a curry like dish, with a shawarma flavored sauce. My intention is to serve my version of ‘chickpeas in shawarma gravy’ over rice. As a bowl. Add your side salad, drizzle with tahini. And voila! You’re transferred to a delectable vegan Israel. No passport required!


Well, of course you can put it inside a pita pocket or wrap in any flat bread to have the more traditional feel! Flour tortillas, roti or nun can work fine for that. You can even put it on corn tortilla, top with pickled onions and eat it as a 'shawarma taco'! In the era of fusion food folks, the possibilities are endless!

Here’s your map to this lip-smacking ethnic gourmet.



About the dish :


Course – Side

Servings – 4

Difficulty level – Easy to medium

Recipe type – Vegan, gluten free, oil free

Does it keep – Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 4 days



What you need :


1 medium onion (or half of a large one)

2-3 serrano peppers or green chili (optional)

1 medium bell pepper (I prefer red, but any color will do)

2 cups cooked chickpeas (one 15 oz can usually yields 1.5 cups)

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon paprika

1.5 tablespoon dry parsley

½ tablespoon dry oregano

½ tablespoon dry thyme

1.5 tablespoon garlic powder

½ cup almonds

¾ cup any plan-based milk *

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar * (Plane white or red wine vinegar works too)

1 tablespoon dry mint

½ teaspoon habanero sauce (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste.


* Instead of plant milk and vinegar, you can use 3/4 cup of any plant based yogurt. Traditionally yogurt or milk is never used in shawarma because it’s against kosher. But we’re not using meat here, or dairy. So you’re good to go!



What you do :


1. Chop the onion, chilies and bell pepper into medium pieces.



2. In a skillet, add a little water (or oil if you are not oil-free), add the onion and chilies and sauté on medium heat until the onion turns translucent. You might need to add some more water as you go, couple of tablespoons at a time.

3. Add chickpeas and bell pepper to it and cook for 2-3 minutes. You can find here how to cook dry chickpeas from scratch.



4. Now add garlic powder, coriander, cumin, garam masala and paprika. Also add parsley, oregano and thyme. Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes.



5. While the herbs and spices are cooking, mix milk and vinegar, stir well and set aside.


6. Grind the almonds finely in a coffee grinder or mortar pestle.


7. Now add the ground almonds to the cuddled milk and make a thick paste.



8. Add this to the skillet, add ½ cup of water to it and stir well.


9. Now add dry mint and habanero sauce (if using).


10. Add 2 cups of water, put the lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.


11. With a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon mash lightly a third of the chickpeas.



12. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro and serve hot.



Nutritional info per serving :

Calories – 260 Cal

Carbohydrate – 25 g

Protein – 9 g

Fat – 16 g

Saturated fat – 1 g

Sugar – 4 g

Sodium – 45 mg

Dietary fiber – 3 g



If you like this recipe, you might also wanna try these :


White barbecue chickpea salad sandwich

Chickpea salad with katsu curry dressing

Roasted beet and harissa hummus



Whenever you think about Israeli food, I bet, you mostly think about falafels and hummus. Deviate from the same old today, and give this one of a kind shawarma a chance. I’m sure your taste buds will say “Todah rabah”!


Light, peace and avocados; from my heart to yours!




Do you have any questions? Any feedback after you’ve made it? I’d surely like to hear from you! Feel free to comment below.




Comments :



JS.C says 9/10/2020, at 12.09 AM 👍Very  Good👍


Kris says 9/10/2020, at 1.49 PM Thanks a lot !


Piu says 9/12/2020, at 12.34 AM Recipe awesome as usual. Like the photos a lot! 😍


Kris says 9/12/2020, at 9.50 PM Thank you so much !!

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