Chickpea, Spinach and Tomato Soup – Recipe

Chickpea Soup With Spinach and Tomatoes
Chickpea, Spinach and Tomato Soup

This soup was pure improvisation. I'd allowed the vegetable drawer to go almost completely empty, and needed to feed seven folks for dinner with no time to shop. The weather is still cool here, so a warm, belly filling soup sounded right. I put a full pound of chickpeas in the pressure cooker, figuring that I could decide on a flavor profile closer to dinner time. Home cooked chickpeas are miles better than canned.

I didn't want a thin broth, and I didn't feel like cream, so my first move was to puree some of the beans in their own cooking liquid. This created a pleasing texture, but not much flavor. Lemon juice was a good start on some acidity, but then the inspiration for chopped tomatoes struck and the soup started to come together. Spinach kicked in some color and another flavor, and naturally I wanted plenty of garlic and onions.

At this point, the flavor profile could have easily gone Italian or North African. I opted to go the latter route, so I finished with a hefty dose of dukkah. It was probably still on my mind from last week's Myhrvoldian amuse bouche. If you wanted to go Italian, scratch the dukkah and add fresh grated parmesan or pecorino, and/or fennel tops or even fennel pollen.

I really liked the results. It was filling but left me feeling nourished, not stuffed. I hope you will use this as a template for your own improvisation! I served it with this pizza bianca which I topped with caramelized onions and blue cheese. (If you make that pizza bianca, don't be scared by the shockingly wet dough, but you might up the flour by an ounce or so.)

Chickpea, Spinach and Tomato Soup
Vegan and gluten-free / Serves 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours (mostly bean boiling time)

  • 1 pound dry chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed and picked over
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + 2 more for saute + more for garnish
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • twenty-eight ounce can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is a nice option)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley (or a mixture of parsley and cilantro)
  • dukkah (optional; you could also use a small pinch of cumin – don't use as much as dukkah!)
  1. Either soak the beans overnight and then boil until tender, or cook in a pressure cooker according to your manufacturers directions. (For my pot, that is about 40 minutes at high pressure with a natural pressure release). The beans should be thoroughly tender. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
  2. Puree 1 1/2 cups of the beans with 2 cups of the cooking liquid, 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Strain. Put the whole chickpeas, pureed beans, spinach, tomatoes, lemon juice and chili flakes in a large pot. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  3. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Saute the onion until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 30 more seconds. Add the contents of the frying pan to the soup. Stir, taste, and adjust salt and lemon juice. Add a little water if needed to create a pleasing soup texture. It should be fairly thick but not a stew.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper, lots of minced parsley, and a generous dusting of dukkah. 
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, March 28th, 2011 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Soups, Vegan or Modifiable.

17 Responses to “Chickpea, Spinach and Tomato Soup – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    March 28, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    This is such a great base. I’ve made something similar using pimenton and raisins for a Spanish twist, but now I”m inspired to mix it up a bit.

  2. Reply
    March 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Never had fresh home-cooked chick peas before, but I really want to try them. Sounds like a great way to utilize the last of the veggies in the drawer, which happens to me a lot, so I am always looking for new ways to be creative about it. Looks delicious!

  3. Reply
    March 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I am so making this for dinner some night soon.

  4. Reply
    March 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Nice and filling, usually i don’t pair spinach with tomatoes, but in a soup is OK by me :-)!


  5. Reply
    March 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    I just found your blog and can’t wait to read through all your recipes and posts! This is definitely a soup I would love and improvising is my second name! Delicious!!

  6. Reply
    March 30, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I added chopped zucchini to this soup (only because I had one left over)and it was delish!

  7. Reply
    March 31, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    YUM! This includes all my favorite veggies! I can’t wait to try this!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  8. Reply
    April 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Don’t you love it when improvisation comes together in something so delicious? Not to mention, the varietal possibilities in this dish are fantastic!

  9. Reply
    April 3, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    This was definitely a hit. It was also good because (combined with the previous carrot soup recipe) I used the pressure cooker twice in one week. Homemade chickpeas are way better than the canned version.

  10. Reply
    April 4, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    delicious …..

    i get so many compliments when i make your recipes!

    it did seems like a lot of chickpeas to me though … not that i don’t like them … and no more cans of chickpeas for me! if i could only remember not to through out the water …. twice now!

    wonderful flavor, will certainly make again, like most of your recipes i try!

    thanks so much!

    Looking forward to that cookbook!


  11. Reply
    April 13, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Some of my favorite ingredients all in recipe, I can’t wait to try this one out! I am also very impressed that you come up with this on the spot, and for guests too!

  12. Reply
    October 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I made the quick version of this: canned chickpeas, skipped the pureeing part and added veggie stock. Still very delicious!

  13. Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Made this the other day, was very hearty and had a nice, kind of “different” flavor! Great student food too, I put a bunch of servings in the freezer for later. 🙂

    • Reply
      September 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      That one should freeze very well.

  14. Reply
    Sharon Dale
    January 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Great recipe. I used Swiss chard instead of spinach and a blend of cumin, coriander, pepper and sesame seeds pulverized in a grinder instead of dukkah. Went heavy on the lemon juice. Topped with 50-50 blend of flat leafed parsley and cilantro. Terrific winter soup.

    • Reply
      January 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      Sounds good!

  15. Reply
    Tom Eickenberg
    March 3, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    I am making this for the third time in three weeks, great meal, I found your sit and intend to use it offten. I just ordered your cookbook from my local book store, Left Bank Books in Belfast Maine. Thank you

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