tangy braised chickpeas

One of my most core cooking beliefs, cemented over 15 vegetarian years (that ended shortly before this site began) is that most, or at minimum, half of what we think we like about eating meat has absolutely nothing to do with meat, but the way it’s prepared, from the salt-pepper char on a steak to the layers of flavors in a long braise. It’s this logic that led me to mushroom bourguignon and pate and even pizza beans, where the beans take the place of meat and pasta in a ziti-like dish. And it’s what led me to drop my jaw at the brilliance of Molly Yeh’s 2018 “brisket-braised chickpeas” (cozy braised chickpeas with squash), a brisket-free, vegan dish that uses the flavors you’d put in your favorite brisket braise but with chickpeas and vegetables. My sister had recently gone vegan, and the timing was perfect for our new year meal.

what you'll needcook the onionsadd the mushroomsadd broth

But brisket preferences are highly personal, so I make it with my favorite braise, adapted from Maya’s Sweet and Sour High Holiday Brisket in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It uses tomato paste for body and a couple glugs of vinegar for a deeply tangy sauce I reverse-engineered from the version with mother in-law makes which I described in the book as using “a bottle of None Of Your Business, a few spoonfuls of Also Not Going To Tell You, and a packet of So Many Questions Today! How Is My Beautiful Grandson?” I keep the big carrot coins used in the book’s recipe but add meaty slices of portobello mushrooms for a hearty, cozy stew. I thought I’d get ahead this year (or for the first time, ever) and make it a week early and freeze it, but we can’t stop eating it, sometimes even cold from the fridge. Fortunately, it starts with two cans of already-cooked beans (which cook until extra-tender, but they don’t fall apart), and vegetables you can buy almost anywhere, so it won’t be much of a hurdle to make more.

90 minutes later

More Rosh Hashanah favorites: Tangy Spiced Brisket, Majestic and Moist Honey Cake, Mom’s Apple Cake, and Fig Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah


Six months ago: Chicken, Leek and Rice Soup
One year ago: Crisped Chickpeas with Herbs and Garlic Yogurt
Two years ago: Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies
Three year ago: Foolproof Cacio e Pepe
Four years ago: Cheesecake Bars with All The Berries and Corn Chowder with Chile, Lime, and Cotija
Five years ago: Eggplant Parmesan Melts and Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins
Six years ago: Angel Hair Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce, Crispy Peach Cobbler, and Corn Chowder Salad
Seven years ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles and Corn Cheddar and Scallion Strata
Eight years ago: Almond-Crisped Peaches, Key Lime Popsicles and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Nine years ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes, Leek, Chard, and Corn Flatbread and Vanilla Custards with Roasted Blueberries
Ten years ago: Hazelnut Plum-Crumb Tart, Zucchini Fritters, and Naked Tomato Sauce
Eleven years ago: Eggplant Salad Toasts and Peach Shortbread
Twelve years ago: Griled Eggplant and Olive Pizza and Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Thirteen years ago: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs and Dimply Plum Cake
Fourteen years ago: Double Chocolate Torte and Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitakes
Fifteen years ago: Moules Frites and 44-Clove Garlic Soup

Tangy Braised Chickpeas with Carrots and Mushrooms

Note: Soy sauce can contain gluten; check the label if you need this recipe to be gluten-free. Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian; it contains anchovies.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large, thick carrots (12 ounces), in 1/4-inch slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces or 2 large portobello mushrooms, in generous 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups mushroom or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire or soy sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf

Heat oven to 350 degrees. If you have a Dutch oven or braiser that can go from stove to oven, start in this on the stove. If not, start with a wide, deep saute pan and transfer the mixture to a 3-quart (or 9×13-inch) casserole or baking dish for the oven part.

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add onion; cook 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the carrots, 1 teaspoon salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 more minutes, until they begin to glisten. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add tomato paste and brown sugar and cook until well-incorporated, 3 minutes. Add 3 cups stock, vinegar, Worcestershire or soy sauce, chickpeas, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer with another teaspoon of kosher salt and more ground pepper.

Once simmering, either cover tightly with a lid or pour into your baking dish and cover with a lid or tightly with foil and transfer to oven. Braise chickpeas and vegetables for 90 minutes, checking at the 1 hour mark to make sure the chickpeas haven’t absorbed all of the broth (and adding the remaining 1 cup broth if so). Remove from oven, discard bay leaf, and adjust seasonings to taste.

Do ahead: Braised chickpeas will keep in the fridge for 4 days, and for a month or longer in the freezer. Reheat at 350 degrees.

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105 comments on tangy braised chickpeas

    1. Linda Plumb

      I have a local source for wild foraged mushrooms, so I’m always searching for recipes in which to use them. I made this today and this dish is perfection! Deeply flavorful and satisfying. Definitely a keeper!

    1. Warren

      Henderson’s Relish is an easy swap for Worchestershire sauce that is veggie as well. I actually prefer the flavour – it’s found on every restaurant table in Sheffield.

      1. Liz F

        Worcestershire is traditionally not vegan. It has anchovy in it (to make a fermented fish sauce) but there are vegan versions out there.

  1. Barbara

    Yummmmm! I’m already making the Tangy Spiced Brisket this week and was looking for a “brisket” flavored vegetarian dish! Perfect timing!😊

      1. Jess Simmons

        deb, was looking for a serving suggestion! i like the idea of challah, but am gonna shoot for a mashed paranip and potato blend to serve this over!

        1. sillygirl

          I made this and had it over baked potatoes but I just found some mashed cauliflower in the freezer so we will have the leftovers over that!

  2. Allison

    I don’t have carrots or mushrooms on hand, except for in cans. Do you think I can make it with canned veggies, or will it just be a soggy mess?

    1. Francoise

      You could definitely try it. However I’d hold off on adding the canned veg until the last 30 min of the braise to avoid turning them to mush

  3. Karen

    This looks amazing and I am going to make it as soon s the weather turns cooler again. If you don’t care about it being vegetarian, would chicken broth work? It is what I always have in my house. Or would beef broth be even better?

  4. Laura P.

    What a coincidence, I was just thinking that I want to make braised chickpeas for dinner tomorrow night! I was thinking of something more Spanish-style with sherry vinegar and smoked paprika, but this might be a nice change. Don’t think I have enough mushrooms, but I can use what I have.

  5. Elizabeth

    Question on the ingredient list: is it red wine *vinegar* or sherry vinegar? Or is it red wine, as in the wine, or sherry vinegar?

    I don’t mean to be rude! I genuinely am not sure.

  6. Mary Garth

    That line from your cookbook is one of my favorites! I love your writing in general but that particular sentence (and especially “a packet of So Many Questions Today! How Is My Beautiful Grandson?”) has gotten in my head like a good song lyric.

  7. Scott Petrovits

    Could this be done in an Instant Pot, or would everything fall apart into mush? We’re renovating our kitchen and temporarily without an oven, but the Instant Pot works just fine. I’d love to add this to our fall soup/stew schedule.

    1. deb

      I haven’t used the InstantPot for already-cooked chickpeas before but perhaps? If only 10 or 15 minutes? I cannot say for sure without trying it, though.

    2. Kelly

      I made it in the Instant Pot last night! I used the saute function to cook everything prior to the final step (putting it in the oven), and then added dried chickpeas and cooked it for 45 minutes at high pressure. It was amazing and even my 2nd grader had 3 servings!

      1. Sujatha

        Following and eager for advice, this looks delicious and I would love to try this soon in my instant pot! I make a chickpea stew from epicurious that uses 12 oz of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, to 14 oz canned tomatoes + 14 oz of water, 10 min on high pressure + 10 min natural release. Works well, & correct cook time/texture for us, and enough for 4 people, but way more liquid than I think you’d want in this recipe.

  8. myra

    ok, so if your favorite braise is the braised brisket in your first cookbook, can i assume you prefer that brisket recipe to the tangy spiced one published here? & if so, just curious why?

    thanks so much & happy new year!

    1. deb

      I like them both but I am partial to the book’s version, which is more deeply tangy/sour/nuanced. I am, however, deeply disloyal to everything when I’m bored and often make Nach Waxman’s brisket too (but with more carrots and garlic and seasoning)

    1. deb

      It doesn’t need to be a particular temperature (though 325-375 is common); it’s more about the liquid not covering the ingredients completely as it cooks, so it’s not “boiling” the ingredients.

  9. LizF

    Any thoughts on making this with dried chickpeas? I have a 10 pound bag we’ve been working through and I think my family may disown me if I make more hummus!

    1. Deanna W

      I’m making it right now with 2 cups of dried unsoaked chickpeas, and I made it almost exactly as written… I added extra water/broth, left out the carrots until later, and I’m giving it extra time in the oven. I’m planning on letting it go for 3 hours (or until the beans are cooked), checking it once an hour or so to stir and top up the liquid. I’m keeping the beans completely submerged until they’re cooked, then I’m going to add the carrots and continue for another hour or so, and I figure the liquid will reduce down a bit at that point.

    2. deb

      Go for it! 1 pound dry will make what 2 cans holds, if I remember correctly. I’d cook them in salted water, not this braise, however, because acidity (and this is very acidic) can make beans take a long time to cook. You’ll probably need more broth for the braise since freshly-cooked chickpeas are usually “thirstier”

    1. deb

      I talk about many of my pantry preferences in this post. I don’t care for any boxed stocks. Here’s what I suggested:

      I am a great fan of Better than Bouillon concentrates, which have much better flavor than most boxed stocks, keep for ages, and are wonderfully space-efficient. I actually keep one of each (beef, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, turkey) but if you were just choosing one, don’t sleep on that No-Chicken Base one because it has a cozy soup flavor but is also vegetarian. The turkey is great when you need extra stock for Thanksgiving cooking.

  10. Rose

    What a brilliant idea!! Ever since I’ve been a vegetarian I’ve desperately missed by bubbie’s brisket. Plus, I think this may just be the thing to help lessen the blow of not being able to gather with family this year. Will be making this and serving it over a big bowl of egg noodles. Thank you!

  11. Jennifer Eiseman

    This looks Soooo good! I think i have almost ALL of the ingredients for it too! But…can you just make it for me and send it? I feel so lazy lately!

    1. Barbara

      I made this tonight and am in love with the flavors! Wow! This was amazing! I would suggest adding more mushrooms because I think 6 ounces is not enough. I’m already imagining what other veggies to add! Maybe some cut up fresh spinach at the end? I can’t wait to make it again!

  12. Ruth

    This looks amazing! I’ve been looking for a chicken recipe that tastes like the essence of brisket. I’m wondering if it would work to sear the chicked at the beginning and then nestle it back in when you’re ready to pop it in the oven. Any suggestions to try to make something like that work?

  13. Wendy

    We love, love, love the brisket from the book for our Jewish food Christmas dinner. Brisket and latkes should be everyone’s Christmas dinner! But, my daughter is vegan and I am less and less liking meat these days, so this will be perfect as a second entree. I can’t wait to try this! I have also veganized latkes and flax egg works great.

  14. JV

    Looks hearty and delicious, and very fall-ish! As a wannabe vegetarian, I love dishes like this. Shana Tova, Deb! Hope you and your family (and really, everyone) have a sweeter year than the last!

  15. Krista E

    Made this tonight and it’s fantastic! I didn’t have mushrooms. I used a whole plastic tub of spinach/chard/kale mix. I used extra carrots and onions and 4 diced jalapenos instead of red pepper flakes :) thank you!

  16. KS

    Wow! I just made this tonight, exactly as written, and I already wish I’d made a double batch. The tangy sauce has that all-star quality that keeps you dipping in for more!

    I love that this is so simple to make yet really packs incredible flavor. Better yet, it’s a wonderful fall meal without the heavy cuts of meat that usually feature in stews like this. We generally eat meat several times per week, but do not miss it at all in this dish. I’ll be making it again for sure, and sopping it up with a nice crusty piece of bread.

  17. Deanna W

    I made this tonight for dinner starting with dried chickpeas and it was delicious. I added extra water/stock and salt, and waited until the chickpeas were cooked to add the carrot, then I braised them for another hour or so. The chickpeas were still holding their shape after 3-4 hours in the oven, so if you need an excuse to keep your oven on all day, I highly recommend starting with dried beans.

  18. Brittany

    I made this and it was delightful! I love the tangy vinegar nature of it. I deviated from the recipe in several ways because I didn’t have all ingredients on-hand, and it was still great! (I didn’t have mushrooms, but added some Beyond burger. Didn’t have enough carrots but added sweet potato. Had a hunk of sad cabbage and threw that in, too. Didn’t have red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, so used red wine and some apple cider vinegar. Didn’t have enough time for braise for the full time, so I gave it only 40 mins in the oven.) Still fantastic! We ate it like a soup/stew with your “Foccacia for a Crowd”. YUM!

  19. Debby

    Deb, I was just trying to figure out a new vegetarian entree for my granddaughter, while the rest of us enjoy our Rosh Hashanah brisket. As is often the case, Smitten Kitchen to the rescue. She doesn’t like mushrooms, so I am tossing in some zucchini as recommended in an earlier comment. Shana Tovah!

  20. Sarah

    I love vinegar but my husband can enjoy it in only small quantities. BBQ sauce is ok, vinaigrette salad dressing is not. I’ll try this recipe out – but any thoughts from the group on how much I could pull back on the vinegar so that it would still have some kind of tanginess but without a feeling of ‘vinegar’? Impossible question I know but any thoughts would be welcome.

  21. Ceb

    Made this last night and can’t stop eating it today. Really does smell just like a brisket and beans are super creamy and delicious! Recipe is very flexible to substitutions:
    Didn’t have chickpeas –> used cannelini beans
    Didn’t have portobello –> used Shiitake
    Tomato paste went bad –> used the remainder of a jar of marinara
    Served it with a chunk of italian bread which was good, in a perfect world would use challah or egg noodles.
    Overall incredible recipe! Will definitely be making this again, maybe even with the actual ingredients next time :P

  22. Jane Pearlmutter

    I made this today and it’s delicious. I didn’t have mushroom or vegetable broth but In my freezer I found a few cups of surplus liquid from a batch of pulled chicken (defatted). Because that liquid was already a bit sweet and sour I cut out the brown sugar and decreased the vinegar. Also threw in a handful of baby arugula. I checked after an hour in the oven and the liquid was just about gone, but the vegetables were quite tender so I think an hour Is enough baking time.

  23. Sarah Beth

    Deb, this was so wildly delicious. My wife is a vegetarian so it’s been years since I made a roast…and this scratched the itch 100%. Served it over mashed potatoes with a side of roasted brussels, and it was just the absolute perfect meal for this, our first actually almost chilly NYC day. Thank you!!

  24. Caroline M

    Delicious! Made as written except that I subbed a half cup of red wine for part of the chicken broth. The house smells incredible and the chickpeas soaked up all of the wonderful flavors. I served this over a bit of massaged kale and it was a perfect bit of texture and greenery. Will repeat!

  25. Susan

    Made this tonight, followed the recipe pretty closely just using dried chickpeas. Cooked chickpeas separately (I had already been soaking some when I saw this recipe.) Cooked to about 80% done then proceeded with the recipe, using the bean broth for my liquid. This was delicious – I served it over a mashed potato/sweet potato combo.

  26. Sandra Fox

    Hi Deb! Do you think that after making this in the oven, I could leave it in a crockpot on warm? Shabbat/holiday keeper here. thanks!

  27. Christy

    This looks delicious! I have chick-pea intolerant folks in my house. Do you think I could use lentils instead? If so, would I soak them?

    1. Sam

      I was thinking about using a bean instead of chickpeas (one of my lovely Rancho Gordo heirlooms). Would love to hear if anyone has tried with beans other than chickpeas.

  28. Finitots

    I made this yesterday, because I knew from the moment I saw this recipe that it will be delicious. AND IT IS! It’s SO delicious that even my husband who’s sense of taste was somewhat destroyed by cancer treatments told me it’s now his favorite ever healthy dish! I will frame the recipe in a gilded frame and hang it in my kitchen, it’s THAT good (and I don’t usually particularly care for mushrooms). We ate it with brown Basmati rice, and they went together great.

  29. Mary

    I made this and OMG so good! While it wouldn’t be vegetarian, I might try adding a garlicky sausage to it next time, and there will certainly be a next time!

  30. erp

    Thank you! My 8 year old is currently not eating meat so I was planning a chickpea dish for her to have something substantial at our holiday meal but wasn’t sure what exactly. This looks perfect!

  31. Russ

    Yum. Followed the recipe except added some ras-el-hanout spicing which worked nicely. Next time I think I would increase the amount of mushrooms and maybe decrease the chickpeas. But that is personal preference. Served this with Swiss chars and crusty bread.

  32. Amanda

    Saving this for when it gets cooler! (The highs have still been in the 90s this week down here on the Gulf Coast, plus it’s been rainy, so braised things can wait.)

  33. This looks good! I’m always looking for more plant-based meals to add to the rotation. And you’re right about mushroom bourguignon. Even my “where’s the beef” loving boyfriend is a fan of that recipe.

  34. kj

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic. I followed the recipe to a tee. For my first time making it, it took me about 30 leisurely minutes for the mise en place and another short 30 to actually cook it before putting it in the oven for 90 minutes. Definitely a keeper in our book!

  35. Landy

    OMG – this is incredible. I am always having to convince people that plant based food is delicious and filling and robust – and this dish exemplifies all of those things. I used a dutch oven and followed the recipe as written, except I pulled it out of the oven after an hour in order to maintain some of the liquid and it turned out amazing. Serve it with a nice crusty bread!

  36. Elizabeth

    I made this dish this week because I had baby bella mushrooms and all of the other ingredients. It. Was. So. Good.
    Everyone in the house loved it – even the kids. I served it over rice.
    Next time I will double it for sure. Sad there weren’t any leftovers!
    Thank you, Deb!

  37. Susan

    I made this today with two adaptations and it was delicious! I didn’t have enough carrots so I added some lima beans and I didn’t have any portabellas so I added soy curls in their place. Both totally worked!

  38. Dinah

    I was intrigued by the idea but wow, this was not for us. In my kitchen 90 mins in the oven yielded a big pot of chickpeas swimming in sour watery tomato paste. I haven’t eaten meat in a long time but the fat and flavors of meat really do something to a braise that..didn’t happen here for us. I see a lot of commenters loved it so maybe just me! But in case it saves someone else from tossing out a big pot of unloved food, I wanted to say something.

  39. Nina

    I made this as written for our Rosh Hashanah dinner tonight. We don’t eat meat and I’m always at a loss as to what to make that feels traditional. My husband said it tasted just like brisket, but without the gross part. We’ll use it again for other holiday meals, and we’re planning on putting the leftovers over mashed potatoes.