Chickpea With Caramelized Onion

I always associate the word Turkish with food, good food – even when someone brings up Turkish prisons, Turkish Coffee or the Bride from Istanbul. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Turkey yet but it’s on the top of my list. One day when the coast is clear of Deltas and Omicrons, and when my bank account recovers I will fly to Istanbul. If universe is willing.  

When you mix sweet vegetables such as pepper and caramelized onion with acidic tomatoes and lemon juice something good happens. It gets even better when you add tender chickpeas and fragrant sumac. And even better the next day when the chickpeas soak up all the flavors. So make sure to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

I adapted the recipe from Musa Dagdeviren’s brilliant The Turkish Cookbook. His Turkish encyclopedia food always sends me into the kitchen. It includes tons of vegan and vegetarian recipes.

Legumes are a great source of protein but I don’t cook them as much as I would like to because my husband isn’t as enthusiastic about them as the rest of our family.

Chickpea With Caramelized Onion

Delicious Turkish-style salad which you can serve as a plant-based main or mezze.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish, Mezze
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Healthy, Middle Eastern, Plant-based
Keyword: Gluten-Free, Healthy, Plant-Based
Servings: 2 as a main dish
Author: Shelly
Cost: 4


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 small onion, roughly diced
  • 1 green hot chili pepper or jalapeño – optional, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 1 heaping tablespoon roasted pepper paste* or tomato paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • Handful parsley, chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon sumac
  • Salt
  • ½ lemon


  • Warm the oil in a small skillet on medium high heat. Put in the cumin, onion, green chili pepper and salt, and lower the heat to medium, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Put the chickpeas in a medium serving bowl and pour over the skillet content.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, squeeze in the lemon juice and gently toss. Taste to check if it needs more salt or lemon juice.
  • *To make the pepper paste: roast 1 red bell pepper or a bunch of sweet multicolored small peppers in the oven at 400F/200C degrees for 20 minutes or until tender. Peel their skin, cut the stems, remove the seeds and discard. Put it in a food processor with a short drizzle of olive oil and process until smooth. Store in a sterilized jar (the best and quickest way is to pour boiling water in it and let it sit 3 minutes).

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