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Enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean-style with a warm bowl of this Vegan Stew. It’s made thick and creamy with stewed chickpeas and seasoned to perfection with a few classic Mediterranean spices. Enjoy in a bread bowl or with a side of your favorite crusty bread for a satisfying, comforting meal.
This vegan stew is inspired by a Tunisian chickpea stew also known as lablabi. If you didn’t already know, Tunisia is a small north African nation situated next to Algeria, Libya, and the coast of the Mediterranean sea. It’s believed that this chickpea stew originated in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia and was commonly enjoyed as a comforting street food by locals. Over time, the popularity of lablabi spread and is now enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean region as a simple, flavorful culinary dish.
Table of contents
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Stew
- It’s made with easy to find ingredients. You’ll need just 7 inexpensive ingredients for this chickpea stew recipe. If you don’t already have these ingredients in your home pantry, they’re easy to find at any grocery store!
- Easy to customize. This vegan stew is traditionally made with harissa paste, but I’ve made this recipe without and it’s still flavorful and delicious. If you prefer a spicier stew, add your favorite harissa paste to taste.
- Freezer friendly. Packing your freezer with pre-made soups and stews is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll always have a nutritious meal to eat on busy weeknights. This recipe is both meal prep and freezer friendly.
- Healthy comfort food. Nothing’s better than a hearty veggie stew during the cold winter months that’s filled with nutritious ingredients. This plant-based stew is not only vegan, but also gluten-free, refined sugar-free, low fat, and easy to make oil-free.
- Chickpeas: You’ll need 12 ounces of drained and rinsed chickpeas (about 1 can). If cooking chickpeas from scratch, cook until tender before adding to soup and use about 1 ¾ cup.
- Onion and garlic: Add flavor to the base of the stew. Using fresh over dried or powdered is recommended.
- Carrots: Fresh carrots add subtle sweetness to the stew and help enhance the flavor.
- Spices: I seasoned my stew with a simple combination of cumin, paprika, and salt to taste. For more flavor, add up to 1 tablespoon harissa paste.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best. Pre-bottled won’t add the same brightness or acidity.
- Bread: Traditional lablabi is served with stale or toasted bread that has been torn into small chunks and added to the soup before serving. Instead, I opted to serve in a sourdough bread bowl. If preferred, go the more traditional route and add torn pieces of bread to soak up the lablabi.
How to Make Vegan Chickpea Stew
- 1) In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil until warm. Add in the garlic, carrots, and onion and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. When the onions start getting soft, add the cumin, paprika, and salt.
- 2) Next, soften the chickpeas. In a separate pot, pour in the chickpeas and cover with about 1.5 inches of fresh water. Bring the chickpeas to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add additional water as needed to keep the chickpeas well covered.
- 3) Once the chickpeas are softened, transfer the sautéed garlic, carrots, and onion to the pot with the chickpeas and water (don’t drain the chickpea water!).
- 4) Optional: Remove 1/3 of the chickpea stew mixture and transfer to a food processor or blender. Blend until pureed and add the mixture back to the soup mixture.
- 5) Add additional water to the vegan stew, as desired, or until your lablabi is a consistency to your liking.
- 6) Season with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste, then serve lablabi while warm in bread bowls. Enjoy!
Lablabi is derived from the Turkish word, leblebi and loosely translates to roasted chickpea.
Take your time cooking the garlic, carrots, and onion. When the aromatics are sautéed for a full 10 minutes, they’re given the best opportunity to caramelize and develop a deep flavor base. If this process is rushed, the stew will not have the same depth and complexity.
As is, this vegan chickpea stew recipe is gluten-free and thickened without all-purpose flour. If you are gluten-free, omit the bread bowl or swap it with your favorite gluten-free bread.
Yes. Sauté the onion, garlic, and carrot in a splash of vegetable broth or water instead of the olive oil.
Make Ahead Tips
As with most hearty stew recipes, this vegan chickpea stew makes an excellent meal prep. Follow the recipe as instructed then divide the stew between meal prep containers (as written, this stew makes about 4 servings).
Pack crusty bread on the side and top just before serving along with your desired garnishes.
Garnish your bowl of stew with your favorite soup toppings and serve alongside simple sides, as desired. To give you some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite side dishes to serve with this hearty chickpea stew:
- Colorful Farro Salad
- Spicy Lentil Kalamata Spread with Rosemary Crackers
- Vegan Lentil Chickpea Salad
- Vegan Lemon-Garlic Mediterranean Quinoa
- Easy Vegan Brussels Sprouts
To store: Leftover stew can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Overtime, the rich flavor will continue to develop and become even more satisfying and delicious.
To freeze: Let the chickpea stew cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the stew overnight in the fridge or in a pot over low heat and heat until warmed through again.
More Vegan Soups and Stews to Try
- Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup
- Vegan Corn Chowder
- Vegan Bean Chili
- Lentil Potato Soup
- Root Vegetable Lentil Stew
- Vegan Tomato Bisque with Thyme
Photos by Alfonso Revilla
Vegan Chickpea Stew (Lablabi)
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 12 ounces of chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon of cumin
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt, to taste
- Juice of one lemon
- Sourdough round loaf, top cut out
- In a medium-sized saucepan, cook over medium heat the olive oil, garlic, carrots, and onion. Cover for 10 minutes or until the onions start to become translucent. When the onions start getting soft, add the cumin, paprika, and salt.
- In a separate pot, add chickpeas. Add enough water such that there is approximately 1.5' above the chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Monitor so that water is not lost.
- When chickpeas are cooked through and soft, add the garlic, carrots, and onion to the pot.
- Optional but encouraged: Remove ⅓ of the soup mixture and puree in a food processor or blender, then add back to the soup mixture.
- Add water if the consistency is not to your liking. Add salt until the taste is to your liking. Before placing in the bread bowl, add lemon juice and mix.
- Ladle soup into bread bowl. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.