This Garlicky, Spicy Chickpea Stew Is Exactly What You Need

Lablabi, a traditional Tunisian chickpea soup with cumin and harissa, delivers big flavors and textures in every bowl.

Comments: 55

  1. Thanks to the author for mentioning "Cool Beans" by Joe Yonan. This book will probably help me realize my dream of making a soup of all or nearly all bean varieties available in the world. Yet to be resolved is a warning of Suzanne F (earlier Fass), of Upper Upper Manhattan, that different beans require different times of cooking.

  2. @Tuvw Xyz I have found brining to help both with flavor and cooking time. Brine overnight, then with aromatics of your choice added, boil hard for 10-15 minutes & put in the oven at 320-325. Check after one hour and then every 15 minutes afterwards. FYI - soaking isn't 100% necessary, just make sure you do a really hard boil before putting them in the oven. Check out Serious Eats for the article on brining.

  3. @Tuvw Xyz I hope you have a very large pot. There are more bean varieties than you can imagine. But what fun it would be to travel the world to find those currently unknown in this country. I suspect there might be thousands!

  4. @Suzanne F - bean there, done that ...

  5. This looks both different and delicious, and I'm glad to see Yonan getting some recognition.

  6. of course there arent blenders on desert islands, so what to do???

  7. @wickets Food mills work very well and require no electricity...just a little effort!

  8. @wickets Really??? Spoon. Potato masher. Heavy wire whisk. Sieve. Hands, if the soup is lukewarm.

  9. Instant pot. Try it.

  10. @petey tonei Going to try this tonight! What timing did you use in this recipe - how many minutes on high pressure would you recommend?

  11. @ Annie Many thanks for your explicit and clear advice. Shall follow it.

  12. As I commented before, Ms. Clark just loves anything that is "garlicky". I wonder if she puts garlic on ice cream.

  13. @TomF. In San Francisco there is a restaurant called The Stinking Rose in the North Beach area (a garlic restaurant). Their dessert menu includes Gilroy's Famous Garlic Ice Cream. This Queens boy ordered it; his San Franciscan wife turned up her nose at the thought of such a concoction (pun intended). But she was impressed when she took a taste of mine. It's doable; don't knock it till you've tried it.

  14. @fFinbar BTW, their motto is "We season our garlic with food." It's a serious garlic lovers paradise.

  15. Doesn’t everyone?

  16. Looks great, but can we officially retire the construction "This _________ is exactly what you need"?

  17. I've made crunchy chickpeas before (from the previously published NY Times recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017427-crunchy-roasted-zaatar-chickpeas). In my experience, these take a lot longer to get crispy/crunchy than the recipe(s) anticipate. That recipe also calls for roasting the chickpeas first, then adding the oil and za’atar when they come out of the oven. In addition to being less messy, the olive oil keeps all its nuances.

  18. "To get the crunch, he bakes za’atar-coated chickpeas until they’re crisp and golden. For the creaminess, he purées some of the cooked beans in a blender with olive oil, then stirs them back into the broth." Immediate non starter. There are a zillion variations on this type of chickpea -- any indian daal, e.g., that are just as tasty and way simpler to make. Please bring back the minimalist. I miss Bittmann.

  19. @whaddoino Maybe give it a try and see if you do like it? Good to keep an open mind about different techniques and textures.

  20. @Max. Not just an attitude. I do not have a stove or blender or food processor, rely on crockpot, grill, toaster oven, microwave - details matter.

  21. Very similar to #TheStew recipe, which was presumably inspired by middle eastern chickpea dishes in the first place. I think roasting the chickpeas is less effort than stovetop for 15 minutes, since that takes stirring.

  22. Chickpeas are my favorite. But I do not use any oil or cream. I soak them in water ( overnight) so they are soft in the morning. Garlic, onion and ginger are chopped fine. A bit of turmeric is added and the mixture is cooked on slow fire for about one hour in a pressure cooker. Salt is added later on. A dash of tamarind water ( you can use lemon also) is wonderful.

  23. With all due respect, I simply love and adore Melissa Clark. I always look forward to her articles and featured recipes. But I have to be honest here - I was exhausted by the time I finished reading the the 7-step instructions plus the final step for serving and garnishing. I like chickpeas but I don't love chickpeas, although the soup/sauce looks pretty hardy and tempting. I'm pretty sure this recipe is exactly what I don't need.

  24. A shorter version. Sauté one chopped onion in 3 T. olive oil until soft. Add a mixture of 1 T. dried harissa with 1 T. olive oil, 1-2 T. tomato paste, and 1 T. chopped garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 2 cans of drained garbanzo beans, 3 T. lemon juice, and 3 bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the beans. Set on a low boil for 30 minutes. Use an emersion blender to partly purée about 1/3 of the soup. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. of dried parsley flakes on top to garnish just before serving. Omit the extra cumin. Forget the crispy beans if you are in a rush. Serve with slabs of sour dough bread and an arugula salad. Yum.

  25. @SMS Sounds like a plan to me. Thanks for the wonderful suggestion!!

  26. Well... of course it's Tunisian and these days DIVERSITY trumps everything, but let's be frank. Doesn't it look a little too much like a bowl of Campbells Navy Bean soup to deserve such accolades?

  27. @whydetroit8 You may think it looks like that but rest assured that it certainly doesn't taste like that and isn't that the point really.

  28. @whydetroit8 No. It looks delicious and different. And let's be frank: cynicism is boring. Curiosity and open-mindedness is terrific.

  29. None of the pictures shown or recipes listed are for Tunisian lablabi. Sure, go ahead and make weird variations (zaatar chickpeas??), but please call it something else. - a somewhat annoyed Tunisian reader

  30. @Assil, it’s an interpretation. The recipe here is not that different from any recipe I can pull up, online, for lablabi. The execution is a little tweaked, that’s all.

  31. Hi I appreciate your mention of Lablabi , but please keep it authentic (Tunisian), you can play with the chick peas all you want ??? You need day old morsels of bread drowned in the broth then topped with tender chick peas with harissa, a dash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of ground cumin . Anything else is just luxury (chunks of canned tuna, soft boiled egg and capers) It is a poor man’s breakfast mainly in the winter.

  32. The best Lablabi was made in a Tunisian bus station on my way to work to an orphanage on the outskirts of Tunis. That was in the winter of 86. RPCV Tunisia 85-87.

  33. The humble chick pea is certainly versatile. However, I find the bean is too often associated with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare. I used chick peas just yesterday as a crockpot thickener. The dish is essentially a slow-cooker tortellini stew with a tomato base and onions and carrots for crunch. Olive oil and anchovies round out the flavor. Blended chick peas provide the texture. Basil and garlic or cumin and cilantro would pair equally well. The whole thing took maybe 15 minutes to prep. Everything else is hurry up and wait.

  34. Fantastic recipe! It will become a house staple. Thank you.

  35. I just made it tonight using her recipe but added cilantro to the parsley. My husband LOVED it. So did I. After a trip to Tunisia some years ago, I made lablabi like they have it there, but this is better.

  36. Wow. We read this tonight and went right ahead and made it. Meaning, I went to the market and got the missing ingredients and then my girlfriend put it all together. Think she was excited that I was at all interested in anything that had a bean in it. I do not share the recipe author’s enthusiasm for the mealy legumes, however the description was captivating and the pictures positively delicious-looking. I just devoured my second bowl. What a treat. The spicy/tangy, flavor-filled bites are extremely satisfying as the bread/chick pea chunks take on a meat-like chewiness. Thank you for sending this and broadening my horizons.

  37. This is outstanding, and even though the article doesn't say it, it's vegan. Could be the vegan recipe that makes me consider the possibility that veganism doesn't have to be a form of suffering.

  38. I made this yesterday. Used dry chickpeas, not canned. Also figured out the secret to the roasted chickpeas with Za'atar spice - don't cook them, just soak. Needless to say, this will be a regular at our table.

  39. This dish looks and sounds great. There's a variant of this dish from India - called Chana Masala, with more spices. Quite delicious, and goes with breads/Naans. And chickpeas are packed with proteins.

  40. @Cheri , “Chana masala” is actually the spice mixture sold in the Indian grocery stores to make Indian chickpea dish which is called “Chole”.

  41. @Cheri, “Chana masala” is the spice mixture to use in the chick pea dish called “Chole”.

  42. @anonymous Chana masala can mean chana (chickpeas) with masala (spice mix) or the spices for that dish.

  43. I made this for dinner from dried beans using a presuure cooker. Everyone in my family was surprised that they loved it. there was one small difference too add iron - I sauteed swiss chard in garlic and lemon, and used it as a side topping. We cant wait to eat this again!

  44. Thank you for posting this delicious recipe. I am American of Indian origin so I make daal and chole all the time, and yet this recipe solidifies my repertoire even more. Thanks again!

  45. I don't have a clue who Joe Yonan is, but you might want to talk with a real Tunisian if you want something true and authentic. I'm sure there are at least a few in NYC. Find one! Why are you peddling something other than the real thing? That's my question....

  46. @Karekin Hi. No one ever said it was authentic. In fact, if you'd read the article, you'd have discovered that he took liberties with the authentic dish. Also, if you'd read the article, you'd know who he is.

  47. @Karekin Perhaps because it tastes good.

  48. Truly my one wish is for the words "garlicky" and "lemony" to be banned from the English language. Or at least from the New York Times.

  49. Pretty similar to an Indian chole (a chickpea curry often eaten with puffed up batura bread). One of my favorite meals.

  50. @Joshua Schwartz MANY thanks for these 'extra' links!

  51. I'm eager to try this dish, but I'm unfamiliar with Harissa. I see Trader Joe's carries it under their own brand name. Is this a good product, or should I seek it out at another type of grocery store?

  52. @CindyJ TJoe's is very good...however my 'fridge does not need another little jar that get's lost till it's gone spoiled in the back! Far better and longer lasting is "Harissa Seasoning" from Frontier on your store's spice shelf, made w'all organic peppers (pepper carries a high pesticide load, esp. when dehydrated) and giving you the option of NOT adding salt &/or excessive oil yet still obtaining the heat you want w'harissa. The condiment fits on your spice shelf & has a 2+ year BestBy date!

  53. Made this today. So light yet satisfying - this is a keeper. Tip - you can make the toasted bread and the roasted chickpeas ahead of time - I made them in the morning - let them cool then store them in airtight containers - and then made the soup in the late afternoon.