This Italian chickpea soup, aka pasta e ceci soup, is a traditional recipe full of flavour and ready in 20 minutes.
This warm, comforting, and protein-rich garbanzo bean soup recipe is Italian comfort food at its finest.
Like any other traditional recipe, there are several variations.
Today I’m sharing the Sicilian-style pasta with chickpeas soup, handed down from my mum to me.
There aren't many traditional Italian one-pot pasta recipes, but luckily pasta e ceci is one of them!
It comes together in just about 20 minutes and calls for basic ingredients you most probably have in your kitchen already. I mean, what´s not to love?
This hearty vegan chickpea soup is one of those comforting dishes that always pleases everyone, adults and even children!
In typical Italian fashion, you need just three main ingredients, plus some aromatics and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Vegetable broth
Choose your ingredients wisely, quality is the key here!
Most short pasta shapes will go well with this vegan pasta dish. Ditali, ditalini, conchiglie, gnocchetti sardi, rotelle, and even calamarata or simple old broken spaghetti are some great options.
My only recommendation is to use high-quality pasta for the best result.
Whenever possible, go for bronze-cut pasta made in Italy.
Gragnano pasta is my favourite, which is slightly coarser than usual commercial pasta.
Its unique texture makes it the best vehicle for a great sauce. It also keeps “al dente” easier than non-bronze cut pasta.
Tradition calls for dried chickpeas but canned chickpeas perform surprisingly well and will save you hours of cooking time.
If you want to use dried chickpeas, you need to soak them and cook them before proceeding with this recipe.
Personally, my favorite option is cooked chickpeas sold into jars.
They taste so much better and have a better texture, plus, they’re relatively cheap.
Garlic: Add it chopped, grated, or leave it whole for a more subtle flavor.
Chili: If you like a little bit of heat, you can add a pinch of red chili flakes.
Fresh herbs: I like to add a mix of rosemary and thyme. Parsley works amazingly well too.
This classic basic version makes the most of simple ingredients, but you can make so many variations!
Here below are a few favourite add-ins that you can throw into the mix:
- Cherry tomatoes: 4-5 cherry or piccadilly tomatoes can add a nice layer of flavour.
- Tomato paste: double concentrated tomato paste provides a bump of umami and a gentle touch of colour to your sauce.
- Extra veggies: I like to add some finely chopped carrot and potato into my pasta e ceci for some extra nutrients and texture.
- Bacon: Even better, pancetta or finely chopped Parma ham can give a nice smoky and meaty flavour to your final result.
- Pecorino: add a pinch of grated Pecorino cheese right at the end, for a nice punch of salty and peppery flavour.
- Parmigiano Reggiano: add a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano to give your pasta an always-welcome umani boost.
CHICKPEA SOUP RECIPE TIPS
To get the most amazing creamy chickpea soup, I recommend the optional blending step.
Blend part of the chickpeas with a ladle of stock until creamy and smooth, then return it into the pot with the remaining chickpeas.
Make sure the chickpea-broth ratio is well balanced.
You need the mixture to be loose enough so that the dried pasta can be cooked in the same pot.
If there’s not enough broth, the pasta will absorb it, resulting in a dry sauce.
So, always keep a cup of hot stock aside in case you need to loosen up the chickpea soup.
THE VEGAN BEAN COOKBOOK
This awesome chickpea pasta recipe is one of the 60 recipes you can find in my new book "The Vegan Bean Cookbook", available now to preorder from all good bookshops!
The goal of the book is to show vegan and non-vegan readers that beans are not boring AT ALL!
Beans are conveniently cheap, packed with protein, and incredibly versatile.
There's so much you can do with the humble bean!
From simple and nourishing pasta dishes to fun and incredible desserts, and I will show you all in this cookbook.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Pasta e Ceci (Italian pasta and chickpeas)
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium potato, peeled and finely cubed
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 15.5oz [425g each]
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 9 oz short pasta (such as ditali, shells, or mezzi rigatoni)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and potato, followed by the garlic, chickpeas, rosemary and thyme. Sauté all the vegetables for 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften, adding a splash of water if they begin to brown too much. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
- Optional step: For a creamier result, transfer ⅓ of the vegetables and chickpeas into a blender, add a ladle of stock and blend all the ingredients, then transfer the mixture back into the pot.
- Pour in the remaining stock, cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pasta into the pot, and let it cook for about 10 minutes or until tender to the bite, then adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Remove the pot from the heat, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top, and divide the soup between 4 bowls. Season with extra freshly cracked black pepper and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.