Chickpea Soup

Chickpea Soup

By Carmel Karni    —   See the recipe

This soup recipe is more of a method than a recipe. It makes a very satisfying, healthy dinner.

You can make it with brown lentils (no need to cook in advance) or any kind of white bean you have on hand. You can also use other vegetables you have laying around- fennel, zucchini, or green beans to name a few. Whole peeled canned tomatoes work great in place of the fresh ones. A parmesan rind adds a lot of umami. I always save my parmesan rinds for soups such as this one. 

I also prefer cooking the chickpeas myself because I think that home cooked chickpeas are far superior in flavor and texture to the canned kind. You are also left with a delicious cooking broth, which enriches the soup tremendously. If you have an instant pot you don’t need to plan ahead and can do everything in one afternoon. If you don’t have one, soak the chickpeas overnight or just cook as long as it takes with a pinch of baking soda. They will cook. It may just take some time. Cooked chickpeas are very versatile and it doesn’t hurt to cook extra and freeze them so you have them at the ready.

Chickpea Soup

A marriage of sorts between pasta e ceci and minestrone.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, 
  • 2 medium carrots 
  • 1 celery rib
  • Chard stems (if using chard)
  • 2 peeled potatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves 
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Parmesan rind, if you have it.
  • 6 cups chickpea cooking liquid (or chicken stock, water or a mix of all)
  • 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas (see recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup dry pasta, any kind, though a small pasta, like ditalini works great. You can also break bigger pasta shapes into smaller bits.
  • A handful of chopped chard leaves (or spinach, or kale)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan for serving


Chop your veggies into smallish sized pieces. Mince the garlic and rosemary. Heat a soup pot on medium heat, add olive oil, when shimmering, add the onion, carrot, celery, potato, chard stems, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary and parmesan rind to the pot along with a pinch of salt. (You can chop and drop in the pan as you go!) Reduce heat and saute slowly, without browning, for about 7 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

Add the chickpeas, bean cooking liquid, chicken stock combination of both. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partly cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors mingle. 

Bring heat back up, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Add greens and cook an additional 3 minutes, until the pasta is soft but not mushy and the greens are cooked but still vibrant green (if using spinach, just throw it in at the last minute. If using kale, start it half way through the pasta cooking time)

Taste broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a glug of olive oil on top for richness and some grated parmesan.

If you plan to keep the soup, don’t cook the greens or pasta. Instead, cool the soup down and refrigerate it without them. Add the greens when you start reheating the soup and cook the pasta once the soup boils.

For the chickpeas- I usually cook 2 cups of dry chickpeas and save the leftovers for other uses. Reduce the salt amount if you are cooking less.

Instant pot- place washed chickpeas along with a bay leaf and two teaspoons of salt. Add water, about 4 inches above the peas, seal and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, allow the beans to sit 10 minutes after the machine finishes and then release the pressure manually. 

Stove top- (if soaked)  pour off soaking liquid and wash beans. Fill with fresh water 4 inches above the peas. Add a bay leaf and a tiny pinch of baking soda, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are almost soft. Add salt and continue cooking until the beans are soft and creamy but still keep their shape. Times vary between a half an hour to two hours or more depending on the freshness of your beans and whether or not you soaked them.

You can keep the cooked beans in their liquid in the fridge for a few days or freeze beans and cooking broth separately for later use.

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