Lemony Chickpea Soup with Parmesan & Pasta
I truly make this lemony Parmesan chickpea soup at least once a month, it’s ridiculously good! Filled with lots of veggies, bright lemon, and a savory Parmesan broth, it’s cozy, simple, and perfect for chilly weather. And, the leftovers make for a great lunch or meal prep option!
There are few things I love more in this life than cozying up on the couch with a big bowl of soup, a fluffy blanket, and some wool socks. Now that it’s officially fall, I’m pulling a George Costanza and shifting into soup mode. (Except not really, cause honestly, this is where I live full-time). But I digress. It’s soup time! It’z cozy szn! And I have to tell you about this chickpea soup, ok?
This is one of those recipes that came about from me just throwing pantry staples in a pot and then being utterly shocked how good it came out. I’ve changed and added a few things during the dozens (hundreds?) of times I’ve made this recipe, but overall, this recipe is true to its roots and mostly uses staple ingredients. It’s perfect as a cozy weeknight dinner situation but also fancy enough if you’re cooking for vegetarian/vegan friends.
Let’s chat about chickpea soup
For someone who, no lie, eats soup at least once a week, even in the summer, I’m utterly shocked by the lack of soup recipes on Sunday Table. All that to say, I’m making up for it starting with this lemony chickpea soup! We’re off to a great start here, because this is one of my favorite soups of all time. I’m not exaggerating when I say I make it at least once a month, and sometimes, once a week.
The soup is cozy, it’s simple, it’s wholesome, it’s a one-pot wonder, and the leftovers are absolutely outstanding. We have a ton of veggies, chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) for texture and protein, plus the lemony-Parmesan broth. Like, how could you be mad about Parmesan? Oh, and let’s not forget about the red pepper flakes. They add so much flavor to this dish! I like to add a lot, especially when I’m feeling under the weather. It clears those sinuses right up and it’s also just good, ya know?
Ingredients – what you’ll need to make this recipe
Pretty much everything you’ll need are just pantry staples! Here’s the grocery list:
- Veggies – carrots, celery, shallots, and kale.
- Chickpeas – also called ‘garbanzo beans’. I use canned but you can also use dried beans (more on this later).
- Parmesan – you’ll want to get a block of Parmesan, because we need the rind! The rind is the secret to getting a deep Parmesan flavor in this soup. Plus, freshly-grated cheese tastes sooo much better anyways.
- Vegetable broth – I use the Better Than Bouillon vegetable base so I can control the salt/flavor.
- Pasta – something on the smaller side is best – Ditalini, Orecchiette, and Farfalle are all good options.
- Lemon – for brightness! I add it directly to the soup and serve lemon wedges on the side.
- Seasonings – garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves.
- Kitchen basics – olive oil, Kosher salt, & freshly-ground black pepper.
Don’t worry, things can be swapped out depending on what you already have on hand! Here are some recs:
- Chickpeas – cannellini, navy, or even butter beans would be delicious too!
- Parmesan – not really a sub, but if you want to make this soup vegan, you could totally leave the Parm out.
- Shallots – you can also use a small yellow or brown onion.
- Rosemary – thyme or tarragon are great subs. Also, you can totally leave this out (or use dried) if you don’t have fresh herbs laying around.
- Kale – spinach (or any hearty green, really) would work here.
Can I use dried chickpeas instead?
Sure! I’ve never tried it, but it would totally work. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas to make up 2 cans. You’ll also have to cook the chickpeas in advance. You can’t just add them straight to the soup or they won’t cook properly. Here’s the instructions I use to make chickpeas in a slow cooker!
How to make this soup | Video
- Start by heating the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the carrots, celery, shallots, salt, and pepper and cook until the veggies are soft and brown on the edges.
- Next, add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until everything smells amazing.
- Add the chickpeas, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, vegetable broth, and some water. Boil for a few minutes to soften the veggies and chickpeas.
- Then, add the pasta and cook until it’s al dente. Stir in the kale and mix until it’s just wilted. Finish with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Serve the soup with freshly-grated Parmesan, red pepper flakes, more lemon, and black pepper. Enjoy!
Slow cooker instructions
Making this soup in the slow cooker is really simple! Just something to keep in mind – chickpeas only need about an hour to cook in the slow cooker. If you let them cook all day, they’ll get mushy. Here’s how to make it:
- Add the shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, vegetable broth, and water to the bowl of a crockpot. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.
- Next, add the chickpeas and cook for about 45 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta and cook for 15-20 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Add the kale and mix just until it’s wilted. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
A make-ahead option
This soup is the perfect make-ahead recipe! I actually think it tastes even better after it’s had some time for the flavors to meld. When it comes to making it in advance, you can either make it on the stove or in the slow cooker. Once it’s cooked, let it cool to room-temperature, about 1 hour. Then, store it in airtight containers until you’re ready to eat!
Something to keep in mind is that the pasta will get softer the longer it sits in the liquid. With larger shapes like Orecchiette and Farfalle, it doesn’t bother me too much. For for smaller shapes like Ditalini or Orzo, you might want to cook it separately and add it with each serving. Otherwise, it could get mushy!
This soup is a meal in itself but I always like serving at least a veggie on the side to complete the meal. Here are some of my favorite side dishes with chickpea soup!
- Lemony green beans with pine nuts & garlic
- Charred broccoli with breadcrumbs & Pecorino
- Crispy Brussels sprouts with fried shallots, bacon, & Dijon vinaigrette
- Green salad or Caesar salad
- Crust bread or dinner rolls with lots of butter
- Grilled cheese or garlic bread
This soup makes for the best leftovers! Sometimes, I double the recipe just so I have lunches for the rest of the week. To store the leftovers, just place the soup in an airtight container. Then, pop the containers in the fridge and store for up to 5 days.
To reheat the soup, you can just microwave it until it’s hot or heat it on the stove. I usually prefer the stove method just cause I think it’s easier!
P.S. If you don’t want the pasta to get soggy in the soup, you can boil it separately, and add it to individual servings! Just toss the cooked pasta with a bit of olive oil so it doesn’t get sticky in the fridge.
Recipe tips & tricks
- Sauté the veggies until they are soft and browned on the edges. This soup doesn’t need to be cooked for a long time, so letting the veggies sauté properly will help you get the best texture (a.k.a. no crunchy veggies)! Plus, browning the veggies adds a much deeper, more savory flavor to this lemony chickpea soup.
- Use a veggie stock base or low-sodium veggie broth to make sure your soup doesn’t get too salty. You can always add more stock base or salt later!
- To make this recipe vegan, you can just leave out the Parmesan.
- This recipe will make 4 large servings. If you’re serving other dishes on the side (like sandwiches, bread, salad, etc.) you can probably get 6 servings out of it!
More cozy soups
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Lemony Chickpea Soup with Parmesan & Pasta
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 3 large carrots, peeled & diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste*
- 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 2-3 inch Parmesan rind**
- 6 c low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 c water
- 1 1/2 c pasta shells (Ditalini, Farfalle, Orecchiette, etc.)***
- 6 oz kale, chopped (about 3 cups, packed)
- 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Red pepper flakes, Parmesan, & lemon wedges, for serving
- Large Dutch oven or soup pot
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrots, celery, a couple pinches of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are soft and browned on the edges, about 6-7 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir in the chickpeas, bay leaves, and Parmesan rind.
- Pour the vegetable broth and water over the chickpea-veggie mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let the soup cook for 5-10 minutes to meld the flavors.
- Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking, add the kale and cook just until it's wilted.
- Remove the soup from the heat. Add the juice of 1/2 the lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Serve the soup with freshly-grated Parmesan, red pepper flakes, lemon wedges, and black pepper. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Come to Atlanta by Faye Webster