Healthy & Delicious: Moroccan-Style Chickpea Soup

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]

The best part about living in my neighborhood is the monster variety of fantastic international foods. Within a few blocks of my apartment are Colombian, Italian, Australian, Ethiopian, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants, not to mention scads of Arab grocers. If you've ever craved a fava bean and meatball enchilada with a pint of Guinness, my part of Brooklyn is the place to be.

One of my favorite local joints is a Middle Eastern pita shop serving the best hummus and merguez this side of the Atlantic. They do a few stews, as well, including a lovely Harira soup. Packed with chickpeas and lentils, it's a Moroccan dish traditionally served during Ramadan, though I would eat it any holiday.

I was craving that particular fare recently, and wanted to see if a quick, reasonable facsimile could be created at home. Fortunately, Cook's Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipe includes a recipe for Moroccan-Style Chickpea soup that seemed to fit the bill. Bonus: all the ingredients were already in my pantry.

A half-hour later, dinner was served. Lacking both meat and lentils, the result wasn't an authentic Harira soup, but it was close enough. Bowls received thumbs-up all around, thanks to the saffron-infused broth and bursts of fresh lemon and cilantro. It's even better paired with fresh-baked pita bread.

Healthy & Delicious: Moroccan-Style Chickpea Soup

About This Recipe

Yield:4 to 6


  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 5 or 6 ounces spinach, cooked (optional, but highly suggested)
  • A few lemon wedges


  1. 1

    In a large pot, combine broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, saffron, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, kill heat and set aside.

  2. 2

    While that's happening, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook about 5 minutes, until onion is a little soft and translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and cumin. Cook for another 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant.

  3. 3

    Pour chickpea broth mixture into saucepan. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes.

  4. 4

    Kill heat. Stir in cilantro. If using spinach, stir that in, as well. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and serve with lemon wedges.


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