Chickpeas and cauliflower are braised in a spicy, fragrant coconut and tomato sauce made with a homemade spice blend. Smoky cumin, turmeric, cloves, coriander, and cardamom dominate the flavor profile. Serve this simple, flavorful dish with rice, flatbread, or with your favorite grains.

Spicy Middle Eastern Braised Chickpeas With Cauliflower [Vegan, Gluten-Free]




Cooking Time




For the Spice Blend:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

For the Rest:

  • 2 tablespoons oil (or saute in water if that's your preference)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 whole head garlic peeled and pressed
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons of the spice blend (don't discard the rest! You may want to add more later)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups of chopped cauliflower
  • 3 cups of cooked chickpeas (approximately 2 14.5-ounce cans) with 1 cup of them mashed roughly with a potato masher
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 13.66-ounce can whole fat coconut milk/cream
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Mix up your spice blend in a small dish. You may or may not be using it all. Set it aside.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat. Once hot add your oil (or a couple tablespoon of water if that's your preference for sautéing).
  3. Add your diced onion and cook until translucent about 5 minutes.
  4. Add your grated ginger and pressed garlic and cook for about another minute ensuring you stir often so that the garlic doesn't burn.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of the spice blend and cook for a minute or two until aromatic. Don't discard the rest! You may still want to use it. Add your tomato paste and stir to incorporate.
  6. Mix in your chopped cauliflower and the whole and roughly mashed chickpeas and stir to combine. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes.
  7. Add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until cauliflower is almost tender about 7 minutes.
  8. Add your coconut milk and spinach and cook until spinach has wilted about 2 minutes.
  9. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon into the pot, stir and season with salt, pepper and a bit more of the spice blend and/or more red chile flakes if you like it hot. Serve with rice or flatbread of choice.