Sunday, October 04, 2009

Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Soup Recipe with Garlic, Sumac, Olive Oil, and Lemon (Slow Cooker or Stovetop)

Garbanzo Bean SoupEver since I rediscovered it when I made Fattoush, I've been loving the flavor of Sumac, the maroon-colored spice you see sprinkled on top of this soup, but if you don't have any Sumac, don't let that stop you from making the soup if you like hummus, falafel, or any of the other tasty things made with garbanzo beans. You can certainly use some smoky paprika (which is how it was served by Gail from The Pink Peppercorn, who posted the Chickpea Soup recipe that inspired me to try this in the crockpot.) I started with dried beans and a bit of skepticism as I added onions, garlic, and chicken stock to the crockpot with cumin and a few bay leaves, but after cooking all day on low, the beans were softened and smelling great. This was my first soup of fall, and although I always hate to see summer end, I really enjoyed the soup.

This recipe did remind me of Revithia, the Greek Chickpea Soup I made last winter, but the addition of cumin and the use of Sumac made the flavor of this quite different. Both these variations of chickpea soup are wonderfully comforting for a soup with so few ingredients, and this soup is great for the budget, and perfect to make for the freezer when winter is coming.

I started with 2 cups of dried chickpeas, but cooking the beans without pre-soaking does make them a little harder to digest. If you sometimes have issues with dried beans, I'd recommend soaking the beans in the crockpot overnight, then discarding that water before you start cooking the soup. You can also soak the beans all day while you're at work and then make this soup on the stove in a few hours.

If you use a crockpot, remember that you need to allow room for the beans to expand as they cook. I used a 2.5 quart slow cooker, which was perfect for this. If you only have a large slow cooker, I"d double the recipe because the soup freezes very well. Here's how the beans looked after cooking for 7 hours on low. At this point I added 1 cup more water and cooked for another hour.

Add ImageI used my immersion blender, which makes it so easy to puree soups. You can also use a food processor or regular blender, but be careful with the hot liquid if you do.

I blended the soup right in the crockpot, and I thought the consistency of the soup was just perfect, with the amount of liquid I used, but if you'd like a thinner soup, add a bit more hot water. I ate some right away and froze the rest, and it was just as good after being frozen.

Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Soup with Garlic Sumac, Olive Oil, and Lemon
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe adapted from Chickpea Soup at The Pink Peppercorn.)

2 cups dried chickpeas
4 cups chicken stock (can also use vegetable stock for vegan version)
2 cups + 1 cup water
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T minced garlic (or less if you're not a big garlic fan)
1-2 large bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin (I might use even more cumin next time)
1/4 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
olive oil, for drizzling on finished soup
powdered Sumac (optional, for sprinkling on finished soup, or use paprika)
1-2 lemons (optional, for squeezing on finished soup)

(Whether cooking in crockpot or on stove, pre-soaking the beans is recommended if you have trouble digesting dried beans. Soak for 8 hours, then discard the soaking water and rinse beans before proceeding with recipe. Cooking time for either version of the recipe will be shorter if you use soaked beans.)

Crockpot Recipe:
Put beans, chicken stock, 2 cups water, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, bay leaves, cumin, salt, and pepper in crockpot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until beans are very soft. (If you start with soaked beans, they will get softer more quickly, but it won't hurt if you cook them all day if you're not home to check.) After 7-8 hours, check the amount of liquid in the crockpot and see if you want to add more. (I cooked for 7 hours, added 1 cup hot water, and cooked 1 hour more.)

When beans are very soft, remove bay leaves, then puree the soup either using an immersion blender, or in batches using a food process or blender. (If you use a food processor or blender, be careful not to overfill so the hot liquid doesn't spill out.) You can puree completely like I did, or leave the soup a bit chunky.

Serve hot. I drizzled each bowl of soup with olive oil, sprinkled on Sumac, and squeezed on fresh lemon juice.

Stovetop Recipe:
Put beans, chicken stock, 2 cups water, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, bay leaves, cumin, salt, and pepper in large soup pot. (For stovetop cooking, I would definitely soak the beans.) Bring to a low simmer and cook until beans are well-softened, checking the beans every 30 minutes or so and adding more water as needed. (Cooking time for dried beans depends on how fresh the beans are, so if you have beans which have been stored for a while it could take 2-3 hours for them to get soft, even with pre-soaked beans.)

When beans are well-softened, check the amount of liquid and see if you want to add a bit more hot water before pureeing soup. (Stovetop cooking will probably take at least twice as much water as crockpot cooking.) Puree soup and serve with olive oil, Sumac, and lemon juice as described above.

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South Beach Suggestions:
All types of dried beans are wonderful low-glycemic foods, so soup like this is perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet. For phase one, eat with something like Crunchy Cruciferous Chopped Salad (no carrots) or Perfect Restaurant Style Salad. For phase 2 or 3 you could add some Whole Wheat Bread.

More Soup with Nutritious Garbanzo Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Basil from Kalyn's Kitchen
Revithia - Greek Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Soup with Lemon and Olive Oil from Kalyn's
Italian Sausage Soup with Garbanzos, Lentils, and Tomatoes from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken Soup with Garbanzos and Oregano from Kalyn's Kitchen
Easy Broccoli Onion Garbanzo Bean Soup from Farmgirl Fare
Slow Cooker Squash Stew with Garbanzo Beans and Red Lentils from Andrea Meyers
Middle Eastern Greens Soup from Cooking from A to Z
Garbanzo Beans and Soft Wheatberries Soup from Almost Turkish Recipes
Chorizo and Chickpea Soup from Morsels and Musings
Tuscan Chickpea Soup from The Vegetarian Hausfrau
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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More to Chew On:


  1. I use a lot of chickpeas in my cooking. Soups with Revithia I adore. The use of sumac is new to me, I will try that.

  2. If this tastes half as good as it looks - it must be delicious! Beautiful photo - you've inspired me to try it:)


  3. I also use chickpeas a lot in my cooking....and this looks very good. All the right ingredients for success.

  4. I love using my immersion blender. One of my favorite kitchen toys:) I love the crock of soup, chickpeas are my favorite.

  5. Your soup looks great! We were making soup from mixed beans and carrots today, I will post recipe later.. it came out very tasty. Soup's season has started also here this weekend, with lots of wind and lower temperatures... I'm very intrigued with your recipe and want to try it out soon :)

  6. Sounds delish! Will add to my list of "must try" this fall. :)

  7. I love chickpeas and this soup sounds delightful. Perfect for these grey and rainy evenings here.

  8. I love all things chickpea.

  9. I haven't tried sumac, but this looks like the perfect excuse to go buy some! I first discovered your blog when I was searching for a baked falafel recipe last year, so it seems fitting for me to try another of your garbanzo bean recipes!

  10. Oh, Kalyn, this soup sounds amazing, and I LOVE sumac. Was introduced to it by a local restaurant, who put it on their hummus—had never had it before! It adds SO much yummy, citrusy flavor.

    So glad you have the Crock-Pot version; I see this in my near future. Maybe it's my excuse to finally get myself an immersion blender, too. :)

  11. I'm loving it that I'm not the only garbanzo bean fanatic out there. Aren't they just about the most versatile ingredient you can imagine. And highly recommend the immersion blender for this soup if anyone is considering getting one. (Lisa, I'm looking at you!) When I finally got one, I couldn't imagine how I ever cooked without it. I use the chopper bowl all the time too, when I don't want to haul out the food processor.

  12. I love garbanzo beans and I love sumac. I wonder if this would work if I left the beans whole? I rather like the slight crunch of each one as I eat them.

  13. WC, I think I would take out some of the bean/liquid mixture and puree it, then add back into the soup with the other softened but whole beans. Best of both worlds!

  14. mmm this looks so good! i freaking love sumac. it's so tangy and refreshing. great leading photo too!

  15. The photo of your soup is beautiful! The soup looks amazing, I love chickpeas. Definitely need to try this recipe :)

  16. Oh, Kalyn - this looks amazing! I don't think I can wait to get sumac to try this. I have plenty of smoked paprika, so will use that per your suggestion. Where did you find dried chickpeas? I have had troubles finding them in the regular grocery stores here.

  17. Thanks Amanda. I'm in love with Sumac too!

    Carissa, thanks. Think you will like it.

    Dara, I think I get them in the bulk at Whole Foods and Smiths Marketplace, but not sure. (They're on my list for shopping tomorrow, along with red lentils!)

  18. This chickpea soup is ingenious! I would never think to use chickpeas in such a way. The flavors in here look amazing. So savory and warm.

  19. Those flavours of olive oil, lemon and sumac seem so right for the chick peas and the texture looks perfect! I love soups that aren't too heavy, yet still fill you up. Bad luck for me that my wife hates chick peas or anything made with them; I'm yet to find a way around that.

  20. I love the blend of all of those flavors - I bet this soup is amazing!

  21. That's a big bowl of gorgeous. I stumbled it. GREG

  22. Joanne, thanks. Humble but very tasty.

    Neil, say it isn't so! No hummus? No falafel? We must hope she's a good wife in other ways!

    Chocolate Shavings, thanks.

    Greg, thank you! (I feel like it's tacky to ask people to Stumble your posts like some bloggers do, but I always appreciate it when someone does!)

  23. We had a Sumac tree in the yard when I was growing up...sometimes we'd taste the weird furry conical shaped "flowers" that grew from it....a "bob" is the proper name come to find out. It had a tangy tannic taste. I never knew it was used in cooking.

    You learn something new everyday! or every minute when you're on the internet...

  24. Assolutamente da provare questa zuppa.
    Ciao Daniela.

  25. I use the Dutch oven method for cooking with dried beans popularized by Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times. It cuts the soaking time down from 8 hours to a more manageable 90 minutes.

    Pre-heat oven to 250 F. Place beans along with 6 cups water in a Dutch oven. Add salt. Figure 1 tablespoon of salt per 1.5 lbs. of dried beans. Bring beans to a boil, then place Dutch oven in the oven, cover and let sit for an hour and 15 minutes.

    This is a foolproof method and it's worked well for me in the past.

  26. Ok this is like hummus soup! I can't imagine anything better!
    Looks so warming and comforting!

  27. Am I crazy or does the sprinkled olive oil in the first picture look like a scary Halloween face? See the two eyes, nose and big grin?

    And no, I don't see Elvis in my toast:)

  28. L.ovely soup! Is the sumac you speak of the sumac I see outside this time of year?

  29. Kitchen Sink, interesting. Never heard of anyone who has seen the actual plant before.

    Daniela, hope you like it!

    Stash, that might work, but I think the crockpot sounds easier.

    A Bowl of Mush, hummus soup indeed! (No tahini though.)

    Chris, Maaaaybe I can see it, if I really concentrate.

    Katrina, not sure. Here is more about the plant sumac comes from. I think there is another plant with the same name that doesn't produce the spice, but not 100% sure.

  30. Kalyn, that has got to be one of the most scrumptious looking bowls of soup I've ever seen. I love soup, and this recipe is definitely going in my "to make" list!

  31. Great recipe! It rained last night which meant it is perfect for some soup! I also happen to have some chickpeas to clear out from my pantry! I hope mine turns out great too!

  32. The soup seems wonderful, but I also loved the dish!


  33. I tried this soup last night!! I didn't have quite two cups of Garbanzo's and kind of guessed on the amount of water so it came out a bit runny. I didn't have sumac so I just used paprika, and it was still delicious. I'm not even sure what sumac is! It was delicious, healthy, and super cheap!!! Btw I love almost all of your recipes. I have soooo many bookmarked!!! Thanks for this great recipe!

  34. Wow!! Can't wait to try this soup. I absolutely love Sumac and since I bought a huge bottle of it, I'm glad to have another recipe to put it in so I can keep it fresh. Thank you for this post!!

  35. Tried it and loved it!!!! Thanks so much!

  36. Monica and Sophie, that's great! Thanks for letting me know you liked it.

  37. I'm new to this site but this soup looks too good to pass up. Does anyone know if you can use canned chickpeas in this recipe?

  38. I think you could make it with canned chickpeas, but I don't think it would be nearly as good. (Probably still good, just not AS good.) I would rinse them well, then cook for at least an hour or two in the liquid.

  39. Oh Kalyn, that looks fantastic! For some reason I have never made soup with garbanzo beans, but I think this winter may be a good time to start!!

  40. Jeanne, this soup was the perfect vehicle for me to indulge my Sumac addiction! Loved it.

  41. I tried your recipe and it's really good. What a great, creamy soup without using flour or oil!

  42. No sumac, so I put some parsley on top (for color mainly)

  43. Good idea to use the parsley. Sumac tastes a bit like lemon, so you could add a little lemon juice if you don't have it.

  44. I did add some lemon juice.. just a few drops at first, but it made such an wonderfull addition/contrast that I added more.

    Maybe I could have decorated it with some lemon balm... The plant is growing like weed in my garden and I've never used it.... yet.

  45. Wow! This soup was awesome. I did not have any Lemon, but sprinkled a bit of True Lemon on top and it was fabulous. The other change I made was to use a little bit of Chipolte powder instead of sumac to give it some zip. I will make this again and again and again. Thanks Kaylyn.

  46. Karen, so glad you liked it. I like the sound of your Chipotle-spiced version!

  47. This soup looks amazing! Love the immersion blender. Such a wonderful kitchen tool.

  48. Jen, I agree completely about the immersion blender. I don't know how I cooked without it.

  49. I've seen this recipe on both Angela and Kath's blog and am now totally craving it! I have a bag of g-beans out in the pantry and think I need to get my beans soaking for tmr. I'll come back and let you know how it come out. Thanks for the recipe! -Mary

  50. Mary I loved this soup; hope you enjoy it.

  51. I made this today and it exceeded my expectations. I've had a lot of chick pea stews and soups but I have never pureed the peas other than for hummus. It was so creamy. A new comfort food for me.

  52. Terri, so glad you liked it!

  53. Um, this looks AMAZING, Kalyn. I've got most of the ingredients for this at home, too, so I'm going to make this very soon.

  54. I just recently tried a chickpea soup for the first time and it was delicious! Definitely bookmarking your version :)


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