Chickpea Shawarma

I was searching for barley in my pantry (never found it) and came across a bag of dried garbanzo beans. As it was dated 5 years ago, I figured I should go ahead and do a chickpea shawarma recipe that I’ve wanted to try.

Dried chickpeas triple in size after they’ve soaked at least 8 hours. If yours are anywhere near as old as mine, they might not have tripled even after soaking overnight. Therefore, I transferred them to a large pot and covered them in water before bringing it to a boil. I turned off the heat after ten minutes and left them there in the hot water for an hour and that did the trick to soften them enough for cooking.

I didn’t make traditional hummus as I didn’t have any tahini but the spice mixture and olive oil makes for a tasty paste that spreads like a charm. The roasted chickpeas make for a lovely crunch in your sandwich and as a snack, too.

Once finished, I made chickpea shawarma sandwiches. Delicious and packed with plant protein and soluble fiber! I ended up eating all the roasted chickpeas watching a football game before I remembered to take a picture with them in it.

1 lb of dried chickpea/garbanzo beans
1 bay leaf
Shawarma spice mix (recipe below)
Olive oil

Soak beans overnight. Place softened beans in a large pot with the bay leaf and cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. Strain and then place in cold water and stir with your hands to release the tough outer coatings. Skim those off. Repeat at least twice more to remove as many of the outer coatings as you can.

Once the beans are cooled, divide in half. That is about three cups for each of the next stages of this recipe.

Process half with two teaspoons of the shawarma spice mixture, three tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse to mix and scrape down the sides as necessary to make sure everything gets incorporated into the paste. Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil if you’d like it creamier.

Roast the other half by preheating oven to 400 degrees. Dry the chickpeas well before placing in a bowl and tossing with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of the shawarma spice mixture. Spread in a single layer onto a 9×13 baking pan. I prefer a baking pan over a baking sheet as the high sides mean I can toss the beans better.

Bake on the lowest rack on oven and, every 15-20 minutes or so, shake the pan so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. Cook until beans are browned and crispy, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and while still warm toss with more shawarma spice mixture.

To make sandwiches – spread chickpea paste into halves of pita bread or onto flatbread. Place slices of tomato and cucumber into the pita and add some of the roasted chickpeas for crunch.

After cooling, store roasted chickpeas in a zip top bag on the counter and eat within a couple of days.

Store chickpea paste in the refrigerator.

Shawarma Spice Mixture

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon cayenne

In a small bowl, combine the spices. Store any extra in an airtight container.

Carmo – A Tropical Cafe

I went to meet a political crony to plot to take over the world and he suggested a neighborhood sandwich shop. Carmo Cafe would not have been my first pick for lunch – as it supposed to be one of the best vegan and vegetarian places in the city. However, it was within walking distance of his house and, he was buying (thanks, John!), so what else was I to do but go?

I was pretty impressed with the variety of choices – enough to satisfy me (an unrepentant meat eater) but also vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc. Lots of locally sourced produce and flavor profiles from Asia, South America and the Caribbean.

I had the Tuna salad sandwich – sushi-grade yellowfin tuna marinated in a light vinaigrette, served on sourdough with avocado and cucumber. Very good flavor with a nice crunch from the cucumber.

carmo tuna

To drink I had the Cacau Fruit juice – filled with all sorts of good-for-you things but the most important, to my mind, is being able to drink the juice of the chocolate plant.

Quite the place – quirky art on the walls and eclectic furniture among lots of darn healthy food choices. Definitely worth another visit.