20-Minute Broccoli and Za’atar Chickpeas with Yogurt Sauce

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Charred Broccoli and Za’atar Chickpeas with Yogurt Sauce is guaranteed to bring excitement to your weeknight dinner table. It’s a well-balanced meal with plenty of punchy flavors, veggies, and protein that comes together in just 20 minutes!
Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 20 mins
5 from 11 votes

Charred Broccoli and Za’atar Chickpeas with Yogurt Sauce is a restaurant-worthy meal made with a short list of simple, wholesome ingredients. Better yet, it only takes 20 minutes to put together!

You can easily call this a vegan’s dream meal. Each bite is packed with plant-based protein, the gourmet flavors are bold and bright, and it’s well-balanced nutritionally! Turn to it on lazy weeknights or when you’re simply craving a medley of outstanding flavors. 

PS: If you’re looking for even more quick dinner recipes with show-stopping flavors, be sure to try my Tahini Pasta and 15-Minute Chili Garlic Noodles.

Table of Contents:
1. Why this recipe works
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Recipe Card

Charred broccoli and spiced chickpeas on yogurt sauce with bread on a brown plate with fork.

Why this recipe works

A little bit of everything in every bite.
Well-balanced is the name of the game here. The yogurt sauce is creamy and bright, the spiced chickpeas and charred broccoli will fill you up without weighing you down, and the pickled chile peppers add complex and slightly sweet-and-spicy bites (which the yogurt helps to cool).

It’s also balanced nutritionally. Protein? Complex carbs? Healthy fats? Check. Check. Check. 

It’s surprisingly quick and easy.
When all is said and done, this meal only takes 20 minutes to prepare. It features 4 layers but each one comes together in no time. Plus, you can save time by multitasking and preparing some of the elements ahead of time (for instance, the quick pickled peppers can be made a couple weeks ahead of time). 

Hello, wholesome!
Yep, it’s true. This deceptively indulgent meal is made with wholesome ingredients only! You get healthy fats and gut-healthy probiotics from the vegan yogurt, complex carbs and protein from the chickpeas, anti-cancerous properties from the broccoli, as well as vitamins and antioxidants from the chile peppers. 

Ingredient notes

Ingredients for chickpeas and broccoli dish in separate bowls and labeled by ingredient name.

Yogurt. Think of the vibrant lemon yogurt sauce as a bed for the broccoli and chickpeas, so you’ll want to pick out the best vegan yogurt you can find and afford. If you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, the Homemade Coconut Yogurt in there is an excellent option.

In general, thicker and tangier yogurts will help the sauce feel more substantial and creamy rather than watery, as well as more flavorful. For store-bought alternatives, my favorites are Culina, CocoJune, GT’s CocoYo, and Kite Hill Greek Yogurt. 

Chile peppers. A fresno or jalapeño pepper is best. Attention spice lovers: feel free to use a serrano pepper if you can handle the heat!

Broccoli. Both the broccoli florets and stalks taste delicious, especially when charred. You’ll be surprised that you can get perfectly browned and tender broccoli in just 5 to 7 minutes (the secret is a rippin’ hot cast iron skillet and a glug of oil).  

Chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are a quick and easy solution here (make sure you save the aquafaba for vegan baking!). However, if you prefer the flavor of freshly cooked beans, feel free to make them in the Instant Pot or on the stove ahead of time.

Za’atar. This fragrant Middle Eastern seasoning blend tastes citrusy, herbaceous, and slightly nutty. It should be easy to find in well-stocked grocery stores, Middle Eastern shops, and online.  You can also make za’atar yourself using a handful of spices.

Charred broccoli and spiced chickpeas on yogurt sauce with bread on a brown plate.

Step-by-step instructions

Pickle the peppers. Combine the chile pepper, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt together in a small jar or ramekin. The pepper will macerate and soften up while you work on the rest.

Pickled Fresno peppers in a small glass bowl on a brown table.

Prep the broccoli: chop off the woody bottom inch or so of the stalk, then peel the first layer, and slice the stalks thinly into rounds. Cut the florets into medium-sized pieces.

Raw broccoli florets and sliced broccoli stems on a large wood cutting board.

Cook the chickpeas. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and cook in a single layer (undisturbed) until they begin to brown. Toss and cook until they’re golden brown and blistered.

Sprinkle salt, cumin, coriander, and Za’atar on top. Toss to combine for a minute or two, then take them off the heat and squeeze on a little lemon juice.

Cook the broccoli. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large cast iron skillet until lightly smoking. Add the broccoli florets and stems in an even layer. Cook undisturbed until they start to char. Flip and continue until both sides are charred.

Charred broccoli in a large cast iron skillet.

Make the yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Stir to combine and season to taste.

Time to assemble. Smear some yogurt sauce onto your plates. Add the chickpeas and broccoli on top of each. To finish, spoon the pickled peppers and a few spoonfuls of the pickling brine on top. Enjoy with the bread or grains of your choice.

Tips for making this recipe

Have (a little) patience.

Achieving a beautiful char on the broccoli is all about patience. First, you need to wait for the oil to get really hot in the skillet (you’ll know it’s ready when you start to see light wisps of smoke). 

Lay the broccoli in an even layer to prevent it from steaming. You can carefully do this by lowering the broccoli into the pan with a spider or slotted spoon. Give it time and don’t stir it around! That perfect char will come when the broccoli is left undisturbed.

A cast iron pan is the absolute best tool for charring the broccoli (and most foods). If you don’t have one, use another heavy-bottomed frying pan and make sure it’s over high heat.

Dry the chickpeas.

Once they’re rinsed, dry the chickpeas really well by patting them with a clean kitchen towel. Any water left on them will cause the oil to splatter in the pan and prevent the beans from crisping.

Multitasking is key.

You’ll have this meal ready in no time when you multitask efficiently. Always start it off by pickling the peppers so they have time to soften up and “pickle.” They’re fine to sit on the sidelines while you prep the broccoli and cook the chickpeas.

Get the charred broccoli going on a seperate burner from the chickpeas. While you wait or after the chickpeas and broccoli are done, make the yogurt sauce (it takes 2 minutes). It’ll be done before you know it!

Half eaten broccoli and chickpea dish with bread on a brown plate on a brown table.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you serve with this?

Bread! While this meal is surprisingly filling on its own, you can stretch it further by serving it with hunks of toasted bread from your local bakery, or with pliable flatbread, like naan, pita, or roti. 

Alternatively, if you already have cooked grains in your fridge, serve the meal with them.

Is this meal gluten free?

Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten free as long (as it’s served with gluten free bread/grains).

How do you store the leftovers?

Each component can be stored in separate airtight containers in the fridge. The yogurt sauce will last for 5 to 6 days, the chickpeas and broccoli for 4 to 5 days, and the pickled peppers for 2 weeks.

The yogurt sauce is SO good! Where else can I use it?

First of all, make a double batch of the yogurt sauce so you have extra to spare. It stores really well in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. Enjoy it as a refreshing and cooling dipping sauce for Gobi Manchurian or Dal Makhani, drizzle it over vegan kebabs or grilled corn on the cob, as a dressing for a green salad or potato salad, use it as the base for a smashed cucumber salad or roasted eggplant, and anywhere else you need a creamy sauce.

Where else can I use the pickled chile peppers?

Keep a jar full of pickled peppers in your fridge at all times to use on top of tacos, nachos, grain bowls, and salads.

Spiced chickpeas and charred broccoli on yogurt sauce with bread on a yellow plate on a table.

If you love this broccoli and chickpea plate as much as we do, please be sure to leave a rating and review below :) And as always, I love seeing your remakes on Instagram!

Charred Broccoli and Za’atar Chickpeas with Yogurt Sauce

5 from 11 votes
Charred Broccoli and Za’atar Chickpeas with Yogurt Sauce is guaranteed to bring excitement to your weeknight dinner table. It’s a well-balanced meal with plenty of punchy flavors, veggies, and protein that comes together in just 20 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 2 (or 3 with bread)

Ingredients

  • 1 Fresno chile or jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • ​​3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 12 ounces (340g) broccoli
  • 3 ½ tablespoons avocado oil or high-heat oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) (425g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of Za’atar*

Yogurt Sauce

  • 5 ounces (140g) plain-flavored vegan yogurt (ideally, a creamy and thick variety with a tart flavor)**
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or crushed with a press
  • 1 medium lemon, zested + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving

  • A few slabs of bread or cooked grains of choice (optional)

Instructions

  • In a ramekin or very small jar, combine the chile pepper, vinegar, maple syrup, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and set aside to macerate, for 10 minutes (or longer), stirring once or twice (or shaking the jar up and down a few times).
  • Prep the broccoli: Cut off the tough one or two inches from the bottom of the broccoli stalk. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the first layer of the broccoli stalk. Cut the broccoli into small-to-medium sized florets. Slice the stems thinly into rounds.
  • Cook the chickpeas: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once hot, add the chickpeas and spread out in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes to allow some browning. Toss and cook for another 3 minutes, or until brown and blistered in spots. Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt, cumin, coriander, and Za’atar, and toss well to coat the chickpeas. Cook for 2 minutes to allow flavors to blend, then take off the heat and hit with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Meanwhile, cook the broccoli on a different burner: In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 2 ½ tablespoons of the oil over high heat. Once you start to see light wisps of smoke, add the broccoli florets and stems in an even layer as much as possible. Season with a bit of salt. Cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes to char, then stir/flip, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more until broccoli is nicely charred. Turn off the heat and squeeze just a bit of lemon juice on top.
  • Make the yogurt sauce: Mix together the yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, cumin, coriander, a few pinches of salt, and pepper to taste. Taste, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as desired.
  • To serve: Smear some yogurt sauce on the bottom of two or three plates, plate some chickpeas and broccoli on top of each, and spoon some of the pickled peppers on top along with a few spoons of the pickling liquid. Scoop up with bread of choice.

Notes

* You can find Za’atar at well-stocked grocery stores, Middle Eastern shops, and online (this is my favorite Za’atar, made by a Palestinian-American family – affiliate link).
** Recommended vegan yogurt brands that fit the bill: Culina, CocoJune, GT’s CocoYo, and Kite Hill Greek Yogurt.
*** If using a stainless steel pan, you might need a touch more oil to prevent the chickpeas from sticking.

Calories: 570kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Sodium: 1243mg | Potassium: 1001mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1226IU | Vitamin C: 200mg | Calcium: 312mg | Iron: 6mg

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14 comments on 20-Minute Broccoli and Za’atar Chickpeas with Yogurt Sauce

  1. Stacy Andres

    5 stars
    This is so, insanely delicious! I am a terrible multitasker but this came together quickly and easily. The flavors are incredible!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Stacy. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  2. Casey

    5 stars
    Delicious, and came together so quickly!

  3. Mimi

    Your recipes are AMAZING! Any chance of putting back the image of recipes when printing it? The images help me visualize what to cook for particular meal.
    thank you!

  4. Katie

    5 stars
    This recipe is one of my new favorites, especially served with my husband’s garlic turmeric rice. It’s so delicious, the leftovers are gone long before I get tired of eating them for lunch.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Katie!

  5. Iralyn

    5 stars
    This recipe is simple and easy, but OMG the FLAVOR! I was a little nervous it would be lackluster, but I should know by now that Nisha and her team never disappoint! It is healthy, filling and balanced. Spice, creaminess, tartness, heat, sweetness (from the pickling liquid)…just so good. This will be an easy lunch staple in our house for sure!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Iralyn. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  6. Mattie Nickelatti

    5 stars
    Loved everything, especially the charred broccoli. The only thing I changed was the yogurt sauce as it was a bit too tart. I added about a tsp. of maple syrup. It was yummy!!! Greetings from Austin, TX

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Mattie! Greetings from San Diego :)

  7. Fanny

    5 stars
    Hi,
    I tried this recipe today and liked it very much!
    So easy, quick and a Perfect light meal for hot summer days!
    Thanks for your efforts!
    Greetings from Germany!
    Fanny

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Fanny! Greetings from California!

      1. Shirley Thompson

        5 stars
        Absolutely delicious!!!!
        When I pickled the pepper, I used my judgment to determine amount of salt to use. Why do you not list an amount specifically for the pickled pepper?
        Love your recipes.

        1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

          So glad you loved it, Shirley! And just a pinch is fine, it’s not necessary to be exactly precise with this small of a quantity of salt.

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