Chickpeas with Toasted Pita Breads and Yogurt (Fatteh)

Originating in the Middle East, there are many variations of fatteh. The main feature of this dish is that stale or toasted flatbreads are used as a foundation for various ingredients. Often this includes chicken, lamb, various vegetables and frequently chickpeas. Yogurt is a common feature of the dish as well. This is a wonderful way to use up stale flatbreads, such as pitas, and they may be toasted if not stale enough to prevent the breads from becoming too soggy.

Depending on the region, most often a baking dish is lined with broken bits of flatbreads and then topped with the cooked ingredients, though some cooks like to crumble the breads into large or smallish pieces as a topping instead of a base. It is not always baked in the oven and sometimes a serving dish is lined with the bread and spread with prepared toppings of the cook's choice.

chickpeas with toasted pita breads

I decided to try a baked version and this easy casserole is pure comfort food — exactly what the season calls for. As a vegetarian, I opted for a chickpea version that truly is a meal in itself and perfect for a small group of diners. Grinding up some of the chickpeas, layering them over the bread, and then topping with the cooked whole chickpeas and whisked tangy yogurt gives this fatteh an especially satisfying texture. Don't be too sparing with the lemon juice because it adds a pleasing zesty layer of flavour to compliment and enhance the experience.

For an especially delightful and nourishing meal, serve with a grain — such as rice or millet — and a light vegetable salad.

Chickpeas with Toasted Pita Breads and Yogurt (Fatteh)Chickpeas with Toasted Pita Breads and Yogurt (Fatteh)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on October 21, 2012

Simple, filling and nourishing casserole of chickpeas, garlic, spices and toasted pita breads with tangy yogurt and lemon juice

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  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 6 cups water
  • sea salt to taste
  • 3 large pita breads
  • juice from 1 large lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt or plain whole fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • a few drops of tamari (soy) sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight covered in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and add 6 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add a few teaspoons of salt and continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid.

  • In a preheated 350° oven, put the pita breads on the rack and toast until crisp — about 10 minutes.

  • Grease a large casserole dish with butter or oil. Line with broken pieces of the toasted pita breads.

  • In a food processor, purée half of the cooked chickpeas along with the garlic, cumin, cayenne and paprika. Gradually add half of the lemon juice, 1 cup of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid, more salt if desired, and the olive oil.

  • Cover the pita breads with another 2/3 cup of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid and the puréed chickpeas. Top with the remaining chickpeas. Whisk together the yogurt with the remaining lemon juice, tahini and tamari. Add to the casserole dish. Spread evenly.

  • Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes. Remove and garnish with fresh mint and a sprinkle of paprika and cayenne. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings

More chickpea recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Baked Gingered Chickpea Stew with Eggplant and Spinach
Chana Saag (Chickpea and Spinach Curry)
Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Chat Masala
Summer Chickpea Salad

On the top of the reading stack: Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Audio Accompaniment: Brian Eno


Johanna GGG said...

this sounds delicious - I think I once had it in a restaurant and was so impressed - I have had something else similar in a local cafe - wish for stale pita bread to throw in a salad

Priya Suresh said...

Nutritious i must say here.