Thank you U.S. Dry Bean Council for sponsoring this Slow-Cooker Italian Chickpea Soup post. Join me to celebrate World Pulses Day with U.S. Beans!
I loved soup growing up. I still do, and I think it’s so comforting and nostalgic for me because of my childhood.
My grandparents (on both sides) were from Italy — mainly Campania, Sicily, and Calabria. As an Italian growing up in New Jersey, I’d say our diet was about 99.9% Italian food.
We also had very little money, so staples like beans and soups were common mains on the dinner table.
Soup was always my favorite — usually a large, deep pot that was simmering on a stove all afternoon. There were tons of veggies, fragrant herbs, and always beans or pasta (or both).
They were hearty and rustic, topped with overly generous portions of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and served best with warm crusty bread, spread with butter.
I defy anyone to tell me that soup isn’t dinner. It’s more than that, really. I think making soup is as therapeutic as eating it. It’s a marriage and balance of complementary, yet unique ingredients that form a harmonious whole. It’s nourishing, healthy, and deeply soothing.
I hope you love this chickpea soup as much as I do.
To celebrate World Pulses Day, I chose my absolute favorite pulse: The chickpea — or ceci in Italian.
“Pulses” (legumes like beans, peas, and lentils) are a great environmentally-friendly source of protein.
The U.S. Dry Bean Council is helping to honor the small, but mighty pulse. Beans are good for not only us, but also the planet. This superfood plays a critical role in sustainable food production and has been proven to help prevent cancer, manage sugar levels, and increase energy.
I absolutely love cooking with beans, especially chickpeas.
Like all beans, chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients, chickpeas are inexpensive and easy to add to your diet. Not to mention, they are delicious.
How to Make Chickpea Soup
To make this Slow-Cooker Italian Chickpea Soup, we will combine dried chickpeas that were soaked overnight with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and chicken stock. You can absolutely use vegetable stock to keep this recipe vegetarian or vegan (without the cheese).
Fragrant herbs, such as thyme and rosemary, will also be added to the chickpea soup along with flaky sea salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Orecchiette pasta and tender Tuscan kale will be added to the soup during its last half hour of simmering.
To serve, we’ll top the soup with a generous spoonful of grated Parmesan and a bit more lemon.
This soup is hearty and satisfying, while remaining very light and healthy.
Why Soak Chickpeas Overnight
Soaking chickpeas (or beans in general) overnight softens them and makes them more easy to digest.
To soak chickpeas overnight, place them in a large bowl covered with cold water. The water should cover the top of the chickpeas by at least two to three inches. The chickpeas will expand and triple in size as they soak.
I like to soak beans overnight or for up to 12 hours, but soaking a minimum of eight hours is best.
You will need to drain and rinse the beans before using.
This hearty and healthy Italian Chickpea Soup is full of vegetables, fiber, and nutrients and is easily made in your slow-cooker.
- 1 pound dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 10 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
- 1/2 bunch Tuscan kale, chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Lemon wedges
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Soak chickpeas overnight in enough cold water to cover them by several inches. Drain and rinse.
- Add the chickpeas, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme to the slow-cooker. Stir to combine and pour in the chicken stock.
- Cook on High for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, add the pasta and cook another 30 minutes until the pasta is tender.
- During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the kale, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh rosemary.
- Serve bowls topped with grated Parmesan cheese and additional lemon wedges for squeezing. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 serving, with cheese
- Calories: 394
- Sugar: 7.8g
- Sodium: 580mg
- Fat: 6.8g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5g
- Carbohydrates: 65.1g
- Fiber: 10.5g
- Protein: 20.7g
- Cholesterol: 4mg