Chickpea Soup: The Best Italian Comfort Soup EVER

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Well dear readers, I’m thinking about doing a cookbook. But when I looked over my recipes, I realized I was missing a chickpea soup recipe, the kind you find in Italy.

Then the other day, lo and behold, Holly, my yoga teacher said, “I’m coming over and we are going to make chickpea soup.” I don’t usually argue with Holly, and I didn’t this time either. She based her soup on a Marcella Hazan recipe she found online, but of course, we modified and simplified it a bit.

The results were simply astoundingly delicious. We made it on a cold winter’s day, and it was the most perfect heartwarming, stomach-filling, soul-satisfying soup you can imagine.

Chickpea Soup


  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • Fresh rosemary (a few sprigs)
  • 2½ cups drained chickpeas (canned or soaked)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth*
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Romano cheese for sprinkling on top


1. In a large soup pot, gently sauté the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil.

2. Remove the pot from the stove until the garlic stops bubbling then add the can of whole tomatoes (letting the oil cool a bit prevents a kitchen accident). Gently mash the tomatoes to release the juices and get the process of breaking down the tomatoes started. Cook on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Take the leaves off the rosemary twig and add to the tomatoes. Also add the chickpeas. Heat until warmed up. At this point, you can shut off the stove and go to work and finish the soup later, or you can finish it now!

4. Add 1 cup of the broth, a few grinds of fresh pepper, and the red pepper flakes if you want a spicy soup. Cook with a lid on for 15 minutes to infuse the chickpeas with the flavors.

5. The next step is optional: Take out 2/3 of the soup and blend in the blender, and add it back to the pot. Try to include the garlic cloves in the blended part to mix it up a bit.

6. Add 1 cup of rice and 3 more cups of broth and boil then simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is done. When the rice is done, the soup is done!

7. Add a spoonful of Romano cheese on top of each bowl (unless you’re a vegan, then you can skip that step).


* Holly always uses organic “Better Than Bullion,” which is a liquid condensed broth. If you use that, it’s pretty salty so there is no need to add more salt.


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10 Responses to Chickpea Soup: The Best Italian Comfort Soup EVER

  1. Tracy Herz January 7, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Maria, Reminds me: Seeing the brothing trend in New York recently, I would really like to see how you approach homemade broth made from the bones!

  2. Maria Luci January 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    @Tracy, Maria has two blogs on broth already 🙂

  3. Gladys Burch January 8, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

    Sounds good, but 1/2 cup of oil? Seems really excessive to fry 4 cloves of garlic, would it work with half that amount or less?

  4. Joan January 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    I think a 1/2 cup of olive oil is WAY off. I’m making this right now and the oil is just sitting on top of the crushed tomatoes (I’m just now executing step 2). I’m pulling out the baster to suck some of it off. I wonder if “1/2 cup” is a typo? Perhaps it should be 1/2 tablespoon??? Or 1/4 cup???

  5. Mary January 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    That was just plain nasty and a waste of money and time. Threw it out. Waaaay too much olive oil and NO flavor.

  6. Janice January 19, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    This soup was AWESOME! I thought the olive oil might have been too much, until I made it. As there is no other fat in the recipe, it neeeded it for mouthfeel & richness. It was VERY flavorful because of the rosemary & garlic. I gave this to 4 friends with the recipe, it was that good! You have to complete all the steps, blending the tomatoes & chickpeas. That’s what makes the soup so smooth & comforting. Yum!

  7. Janis January 26, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    This recipe is a keeper. I used 1/4 cup olive oil and a 28 oz. can of tomatoes (because that is what I had on hand) and I added a chopped onion (because one caught my eye). The resulting soup was both simple and delicious.

  8. Emma October 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    There has to be a mistake with the olive oil… I made it, like it said, and honnestly it’s unecessary and weird. The olive oil, even when all mixed and cooked, just sits on top.

    I would put maybe 2 tbsp of olive oil.

  9. Cynthia A McLeod June 13, 2017 at 6:37 am #

    I’ve made this recipe twice now and loved it each time. I suppose you could reduced the olive oil, but I felt like it did contribute to the taste and texture. Maybe I’ll experiment a bit later. The garlic and rosemary were perfect.

    This recipe was what drew me into Maria’s cookbook “Scratch,” as I opened it up and realized I had all the ingredients on hand for this soup. It sounded a little weird, but I had to try it, and I’m glad I did.

  10. Anna November 5, 2022 at 12:38 pm #

    Love this soup – it’s been in my rotation for years now, and I spend all summer looking forward to making it during winter soup season. I do reduce the oil to 1/4 cup.

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