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. And if you want more fun uses for broccoli, my not-so-average Vegan Broccoli Salad is a must-try.
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).
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.
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.
Looking for more easy broccoli recipes? Try this seriously creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup!
Need more creative ideas for canned chickpeas? Try this Actually Good Quinoa Salad featuring tangy marinated chickpeas.
And for other uses for Za’atar, try it as a great topping for classic hummus or beet hummus!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten free as long (as it’s served with gluten free bread/grains).
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.
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.
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!
- 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*
- 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
- A few slabs of bread or cooked grains of choice (optional)
- 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.
** 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.