Eat for Eight Bucks: Chickpea Soup and Carrot Salad Recipe

Eat for Eight Bucks

Dinner recipes that will keep your stomach and wallet happy from Cara and Phoebe of Big Girls, Small Kitchen

Eat for Eight Bucks: Chickpea Soup and Carrot Salad Recipe

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

2 cups dried chickpeas: $1.50 2 onions: $0.50
2 stalks celery: $0.20 1 loose carrot: $0.25 2 lemons: $1.50 Cilantro (pro-rated): $0.50 Baguette: $1.50 Bunch carrots: $2.19

Pantry items: Olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, ground cumin, dried chili pepper or chile flakes; optional ingredients, vegetable stock or bouillon powder, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.

Total cost (for 6 portions): $8.14

I've gone fourteen cents over budget this week but am giving myself a pass, since this menu will reasonably feed not two, not four, but six people. A simple, filling spiced chickpea and lemon soup from Rose Bakery's Breakfast, Lunch, Tea is the centerpiece, and on the side you have some storebought bread and a simple salad of grated carrot dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, and garnished with pumpkin, cumin, and/or sesame seeds, if you like. (It's delicious with or without seeds).

Usually I just use water when a recipe calls for broth or water, but this time I used vegetable bouillon powder and thought it gave the soup a super-tasty kick in the pants. Although a bit of investigation revealed that the nutritional yeast extract in my bouillon powder might as well be MSG, as long as I stay headache-free I'll be going back to that little jar of umami.


  • 2 cups chickpeas, soaked (overnight or quick-soak method)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, crushed (or a big pinch of chili flakes)
  • About 6 cups vegetable stock (made with bouillon powder, if you wish) or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 lemon wedges and chopped fresh cilantro to garnish (or a sprinkling of roasted cumin and sesame seeds)


  1. 1.

    Drain the chickpeas and put them in a pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and them simmer until soft—anywhere from 1 to 2 hours (or more).

  2. 2.

    Towards the end of the cooking time, heat the oil in your soup pot and cook the onions, celery, and carrot over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to turn golden. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and crushed chili. Stir for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas and enough chickpea liquid and stock or water to cover the vegetables by about an inch and a half. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Purée the soup. Add more stock or water if it is too thick. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and season if necessary. Garnish and serve.