Italian Chickpea Soup with Fusilli Pasta

Over the years, this Italian Chickpea Soup has been a family favorite and has always gone over well with children visiting our home.The addition of pasta makes the soup heartier, like a minestrone, and can definitely be considered a one-pot meal.

I recently had the opportunity to teach a cooking class at my daughter’s elementary classroom where I decided to serve the soup with pasta and bread, which was a real hit! An added bonus is how economical this recipe is. We made this recipe X4, which fed about 35 people, using all organic ingredients, for under $2 per person including soup, pasta, bread, and butter.

Day 1 of our cooking class involved walking to the grocery store, selecting our groceries, and carrying our groceries back in a wagon! When we got back to the classroom, we soaked the chickpeas so they would be ready to cook the following day.

Day 2 of our cooking class involved cooking the chickpeas in the pressure cooker, and slicing, dicing, and sautéing vegetables for the soup.

The secret to making this soup delicious is to make your chickpeas from scratch. Make your chickpeas in advance, as it takes a good 8-10 hours to rehydrate the dried chickpeas (I usually do this step overnight), and some more time to cook them. I use a pressure-cooker to make my chickpeas, but they can be made in a regular pot (it just takes longer). I recommend making a big batch of chickpeas and freezing some away in quart-sized freezer bags that you can use later on to make hummus or another batch of soup. Here is my recipe for Homemade Chickpeas.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Italian Chickpea Soup with Pasta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Homemade Chickpeas or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds or half moons
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half or quarter moons
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 organic bay leaf
  • ½ cup fresh parsley or basil leaves, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (such as farfalle, fusilli, twists, wheels, or shells)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Follow instructions for making Homemade Chickpeas. Set chickpeas aside. Do not drain, as the chickpea cooking liquid will be used in the soup. If using canned chickpeas you will need to drain the liquid from the can.
  2. In 3- to 5-quart soup pot, sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for about 10 minutes over medium or medium-low heat. Add rosemary and stir to coat onions. Add another tablespoon olive oil, celery, carrot, and another pinch sea salt and sauté about 10 minutes more. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add zucchini and sauté a minute more.
  3. Place chickpeas and chickpea cooking liquid into soup pot and add stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until zucchini is soft, about 8 minutes. Add half of fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve pasta in soup bowls and pour chickpea soup over the pasta.
  5. Garnish each bowl with remaining fresh herbs and/or grated cheese (if using).
Notes:
  1. Make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free variety of pasta.
  2. If using canned chickpeas, add 3 cloves minced garlic along with carrots and celery.

By noon our cooking crew was ready to serve their homemade soup, pasta, and bread to the class.

Enjoy making soup on a cold winter day and share with some friends!

Homemade Chickpeas

Homemade chickpeas are a must for making hummus, chickpea soup, or anything else you love to make with chickpeas. I like to make chickpeas in a pressure cooker because they get softer than when boiled, and they cook much faster than boiling. But I included instructions for either method.

Make sure to keep plenty of dry chickpeas on hand so that you can soak some the night before you are going to cook them. When chickpeas are rehydrated, you can cook them right away or hold in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Homemade Chickpeas
 
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Although this recipe calls for 1 cup dry chickpeas, I recommend making at least a triple batch so that you have enough chickpeas to make a big batch of soup to share with friends, or so that you can freeze some away to use for recipes later on.
Author:
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • spring or filtered water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1-inch piece kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in glass bowl. Cover with water about 1-2 inches above the chickpeas and soak overnight.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the beans.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes uncovered. Skim off foam that collects on the surface with fine mesh simmer.
  4. Add garlic and kombu. Place lid on the pressure cooker and allow to come up to pressure. If there is more than one setting on the pressure cooker, use the lower pressure setting to avoid having chickpeas break apart. Turn heat down to low, and cook chickpeas for 18 minutes.
  5. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Once the lid has unlocked, add sea salt and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
Notes:
  1. If you do not have a pressure cooker, simmer beans for 90 minutes, or until beans are soft but not falling part. Then add sea salt and simmer a few minutes more.
  2. If you cannot find kombu sea vegetable, you can use a bay leaf instead. I like to use Atlantic kombu from Ironbound Island Seaweed which is locally available at Wheatsville Coop.

 

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley

chickpea hummus and crudite vegetables

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley is perfect for an school snack, to bring to a potluck, or as an appetizer. Just serve with your favorite crackers and vegetables. Here, I served the hummus with blanched green beans and red bell pepper slices.

dipping red bell pepper into chickpea hummus

Why make hummus from scratch when you can get it at the grocery store? It might be less expensive, but I really prefer the taste of homemade hummus to any commercial variety I have tasted.

Nearly all store-bought hummus brands contain additives and preservatives that I wouldn’t normally eat and make the taste of the hummus acidic, oily, and not-so-nutritious. Some of the additives include: citric acid, distilled vinegar, and vegetable oil (soybean, sunflower, or canola).

All you really need in a good quality hummus is:

  • chickpeas
  • garlic
  • lemon juice
  • tahini
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Finally, although it takes more effort to cook your own beans from scratch, the result is well worth it. I recommend soaking 2-3 cups of dry chickpeas (instead of 1 cup as the recipe says) so you’ll have plenty leftover to use in soup, pasta dishes, or roasted chickpeas.

This recipe gives the option of using olive oil or tahini (sesame butter), or a combination of the two. Made exclusively with olive oil, the result is a lighter, more Mediterranean-style hummus.

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer or Snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas*
  • spring or filtered water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-inch piece of kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons roasted tahini (sesame butter)
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, divided
  • extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • *Or omit first 5 ingredients and use 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas.
Instructions
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in glass bowl. Cover with water about 1-1/2 inches above the chickpeas and soak 6-8 hours.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the beans.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes uncovered. Skim off foam that collects on the surface.
  4. Add garlic and kombu. Place lid on the pressure cooker and allow to come up to pressure.Turn heat down to low, and cook chickpeas for 18 minutes.
  5. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Once the lid can be removed, add sea salt and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup chickpeas in a small bowl to use for garnishing.
  6. Strain chickpeas and garlic (reserving cooking liquid) and place in food processor.
  7. Place lemon juice, lemon zest, and ume plum vinegar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  8. Add olive oil and blend again until smooth.
  9. Adjust thickness by gradually adding some of the cooking liquid (if needed).
  10. Adjust seasonings (add more lemon juice or sea salt if needed).
  11. Add half of parsley and pulse food processor just to combine.
  12. Put hummus in a serving bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of chickpeas, and a sprinkling of parsley.
Variations
  1. Boil chickpeas in a heavy bottomed pot instead of pressure cooking. Cooking time may take more than an hour for chickpeas to become soft before adding sea salt.
  2. Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of tahini for lighter version.

Try making a colorful veggie platter with your homemade Chickpea Hummus:

Rainbow Veggie Platter with Parsley-Tahini Sauce

Enjoy!

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