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Garbanzo Bean Soup

This easy garbanzo bean soup is inspired by the classic Italian chickpea soup called pasta e ceci. It’s a hearty one pot vegetarian soup for fall or winter.

Tips and tricks for this recipe

Soup-making is mostly art with a little bit of science thrown in.

Start with a base. The French mirepoix is a ratio of 2 parts onion to 1 part celery and 1 part carrot. The Cajun “Holy Trinity” is equal parts of onion, celery, and green bell pepper. In the case of this garbanzo bean soup, we start with onions, garlic, celery, and carrots.

a bowl of garbanzo bean soup topped wtih Parmesan.
chopped vegetables for the soup including onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.

The end of season cherry tomatoes are perfect to add some acidity to the soup (as does the vermouth or white wine). You can also finish soups off with a little bit of vinegar or lemon or lime juice to add brightness.

Next go in your herbs and spices. Here it’s bay, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Plus salt and pepper, of course. Add a little at a time, and taste as you go.

finger bowl with bay leaf, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and rosemary.

Add the liquids, bring it to a boil, and reduce it to a simmer (a slow bubbling). Vegetable soups are great for weeknight dinners because most cook for less than 30 minutes. No pale and limp vegetables!

The traditional pasta shape for pasta e ceci is ditalini, meaning “small thimbles.” Of course, any small pasta would work in this recipe. I made mine here with acini di pepe (“seeds of pepper”).

a half cup measure filled with small pasta.

Finally, pasta e ceci is traditionally finished off with grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. You can, of course, omit it if you are vegan or a vegetarian who avoids rennet.

a finger bowl filled with grated Parmesan.

FAQs about this garbanzo bean soup recipe

Why aren’t you calling this pasta e ceci?

While technically it is exactly that, it is not a traditional recipe and I am not Italian. If you want to compare my recipe to Marcella Hazan’s, you can find that here.

Is there a difference between garbanzo beans and chickpeas?

Nope. This is a chickpea soup too.

What can I substitute for the cherry tomatoes in this recipe?

Feel free to sub ripe full-sized or roma tomatoes, or a small can of chopped tomatoes. While I usually recommend whole tomatoes when you buy cans of tomatoes, the short cooking time here requires chopped tomatoes.

Can I freeze this soup?

Absolutely. Soups without dairy freeze perfectly. Just freeze it prior to garnishing. And reheat it gently in a pot on the stovetop.

four panels showing the process of making the garbanzo bean soup.

Related recipes

Check out some other easy soup recipes like this corn soup with potatoes and bacon, a roasted broccoli soup, or this easy four-ingredient potato soup. And let me know what other soup recipes you would like to see.

Or, if you are looking for easy recipes with chickpeas, my spiced chickpeas are a household favorite as a snack or for adding something crispy to salads and grain bowls.

Garbanzo Bean Soup

5 from 1 vote
Category: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4
Calories: 164kcal
Author: uglyducklingbakery
This garbanzo bean soup is inspired by the classic Italian chickpea soup. It's a hearty vegetarian soup perfect for dinner in fall or winter.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • Blender or stick blender

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ large onion (or 1 medium) chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more as desired
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper plus more as desired
  • teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water plus more as necessary
  • ½ cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • ½ cup small pasta
  • handful of kale, chopped
  • 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) Parmesan, grated

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, just until the onion is starting to color.
    ½ large onion (or 1 medium) chopped
  • Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, for about one minute.
    2 medium carrots, chopped, 2 stalks celery, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Add the cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and the herbs and spices and stir to mix.
    1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, 2 cans chickpeas, drained, 1 bay leaf, 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, ⅛ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Add the liquids (broth, water, and vermouth or wine), increase the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Once it is at a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups water, ½ cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • Turn off the heat, ladle out 2 cups of the soup into the blender, and puree.
  • Return the soup back into the pot, add the pasta and the kale, and cook until the pasta is cooked through. You may need to add more water as the pasta cooks, depending on your desired soup consistency.
    ½ cup small pasta, handful of kale, chopped
  • Taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper as desired.
  • Ladle into bowls, top with the grated Parmesan, and serve immediately.
    1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) Parmesan, grated

Notes

My colleagues who work in the emergency room have shared with me that stick blenders can cause horrible injuries if you try to clean them without unplugging them. Please unplug your corded stick blender before you clean the blades!!!

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 1223mg | Potassium: 464mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 6091IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 1mg
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a grey fall day with a bowl of garbanzo bean soup.

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