Chickpea Soup with Swiss Chard

The humble chickpea is enormously popular in Italy, especially for soups. Here, in this Tuscan specialty, it's joined by tomatoes, macaroni, Swiss-chard leaves and a generous quantity of garlic.

  • Servings: 4
KEY: Fall, Winter, Italian, Beans, Grains & Legumes, Soups & Stews, Fast, Dinner, Lunch

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  • 6 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas (three 19-ounce cans)
  • 3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes in thick puree, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tubetti or other small macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound Swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. Puree half of the chickpeas with 1 1/2 cups of the broth in a blender or food processor. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, the pureed chickpeas, whole chickpeas, bay leaf, red-pepper flakes, tomatoes, tubetti, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the Swiss chard to the pot. Simmer until the chard is tender and the pasta is done, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the black pepper. If the soup thickens too much on standing, stir in more broth or water.

Suggested Pairing

Since a red wine would accent the Swiss chard's bitterness, try a full-bodied Tocai Friulano. Its nutty flavor will mirror that of the chickpeas.

Photo © Emma Lee Published December 2011

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