Recipe: Fat Sparrow Group’s curried chickpea lettuce wraps

Photo: Ryan King

You can tell a lot about a year from the stretch between mid-August and mid-November. At the start of this issue’s life, we could easily have the hottest day of the summer, and then, just as easily, the first with snow on the ground by the end.

So, a recipe to suit that season should be both hearty and light. Lots of vegetables, balanced with bright and spicy flavours. I think we found just the ticket here.

Nick Benninger, at the head of the Fat Sparrow group, is a culinary fixture in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. He and his wife Nat, run Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21, Taco Farm and Harmony Lunch.

They also have Marbles, in uptown Waterloo, which bills itself as casual fine dining. These lettuce wraps were developed there by chef Dean Baker, for a vegan Tuesday prix fixe menu. (Mondays, with the beer and brats special, will also appeal to carnivores like Dean and me.)

Curried chickpea lettuce wraps paired with Block Three Fickle Mistress

Photo: Supplied

Fickle Mistress is just as much an all-season beer with its balance of sweet and sour. The tart-and-dry finish is perfect for cleansing the palate between wraps.


Curried chickpeas:
• 1 Tbsp curry powder
• 1 tsp maple syrup
• 1 pinch salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1 can chickpeas, drained
Korean BBQ sauce:
• 0.5 Tbsp ginger, grated
• 0.5 Tbsp garlic, minced
• 1 tsp dried chile flakes
• 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
• 1 Tbsp lime juice
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 cup hoisin
• Boston or bibb lettuce, washed
• 1/2 carrot, cut into thin slivers
• 1/4 English cucumber, thin slivers
• 4 radishes, thinly sliced
• Sesame seeds, toasted
• Cilantro for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Dry the drained chickpeas with paper towel and toss them in a bowl with curry powder, maple syrup, salt and pepper until evenly coated.
3. Spread chickpeas onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until coating has adhered.
4. For the sauce, blitz all ingredients except hoisin (you may need to add a bit of water) in a blender until they puree together. Mix in a bowl with hoisin.
5. Create each wrap by filling a leaf of lettuce with a spoonful of chickpeas, topped with the sliced vegetables, BBQ sauce and garnished with a few cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.

You may also like