This tomato soup with chickpeas and spinach is unlike anything you could possibly find from a can. Satisfying, satiating, and surprisingly easy. Also gluten-free and dairy-free.
Tomato soup is an iconic American dish immortalized—in a Campbell’s can—by Andy Warhol and firmly fixed in the nation’s collective childhood nostalgia. This version adds a new dimension to the classic, spiking it with herbs and spices, and enriching it with chickpeas and fresh spinach. The result is smoky, spicy, and truly irresistible—equally delicious swirled with labneh or served as a creamy companion to a grilled cheese sandwich. It also tastes great as is, so feel free to enjoy dairy-free.–Angie Zoobkoff
Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large (about 9 oz) yellow onion chopped
- 2 medium (about 3 1/2 oz) stalks celery chopped
- 2 medium (about 5 oz) carrots peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Two (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas* drained
- One (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
- 4 cups store-bought or vegetable broth or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups packed baby spinach leaves
- Plain yogurt or labneh for serving (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Toss in the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, basil, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 can of drained chickpeas, the tomatoes with their juices, 4 cups of the broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Purée the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or let the soup cool for 10 minutes and then carefully blend it in batches in a standard blender. Return the soup to the pot, return to low heat, and if a thinner consistency is desired, stir in a little more broth. Stir in the remaining can of chickpeas and the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, if desired. Pour into bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt or labneh, if desired. Serve hot.
*How do I substitute dried chickpeas for canned chickpeas?Some peeps prefer dried chickpeas because they’re more economical and, they swear, they have more flavor. If you want to give dried garbanzos a try, we’ve got a few tips for you. You can soak them in a large bowl, filled with cold water, for 12 hours then use as you would the canned kind. Or…if planning ahead isn’t your thing (we get it) then you can have ’em ready in an hour. Dump those chickpeas into a saucepan, cover with water (2 inches above the beans). Now, bring to a boil, cook for 1 minute, cover and remove from the heat. Let ’em soak for an hour. By then they’ll be soft, tender, and ready for your soup.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This soup was the perfect meal on our first real snow day of the season, and it’s going on my list of repeats and favorites. I’ve never been a fan of pure tomato soup of the Campbell’s variety, but because this recipe is rounded out with carrots, chickpeas, and spinach, the dish has real dimension and depth of flavor as well as a nice sophistication.
In fairness to those expecting something that screams tomato, just to set expectations, the carrots are definitely forward in flavor (they also give the soup a nice hue). The flavor may also depend on the size of the carrots you use. If you want “more tomato” you could use smaller carrots. I opted for medium-large carrots–not the mutant ones but not the emaciated ones, either. I really enjoyed the smokiness of the paprika (just enough and not overpowering) as well as the extra chickpeas added in whole at the end.
I didn’t have labneh at home but sour cream made a good substitute. The soup also paired well with some baked sweet potato chips. My taste tester gave it thumbs up for its “good flavor” and called it “very warming.”
This tomato soup was AMAZING! Hands down, one of the best tomato soups I’ve ever tasted. Dairy-free and vegetarian but with the addition of pureed chickpeas and flavorful veggie stock, you won’t miss the dairy or the taste of meat at all. The flavor combination of smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, basil, cumin, and dried rosemary was remarkably flavorful; that plus the sweet flavor of the tomatoes and carrots, plus the creamy texture that the soup gets from the puréed chickpeas, is truly scrumptious.
I love the idea of using 1 can of chickpeas puréed into the soup and then adding more chickpeas whole to add texture to the overall soup. That and sneaking in all the chopped veggies and the spinach at the end makes for a beautiful presentation and a remarkably healthy soup. The only thing I would change with the recipe was the amount of stock that you add in; I added in 4 cups at first, but it was a thick, thick consistency, so I added in 2 more cups (6 total) and I thought this made for the perfect consistency. Thanks for sharing the recipe—it was marvelous. (Can’t wait for leftovers at lunch!)
I love soup weather and tomato soup is easily my favorite homey, nostalgic winter meal. I love the addition of chickpeas—it’s a nice way to make the soup good and hearty but without making it taste like hummus.
With a nice little side salad, this was a great dinner without any bells and whistles! I’ll be making this again, especially as part of my new year’s resolution to get some more veggies.
Delicious and hearty, this tomato soup with chickpeas and spinach went well with a dollop of Greek yogurt and warm, crusty bread on night one and then grilled cheese sandwiches on night two. My testers were happy to have the soup two nights in a row and both agreed that it was incredibly filling. Definitely a soup that fills you up and doesn’t make you miss meat if that’s part of your diet.
The cumin and red pepper flakes stood out in night one, but by the second night, both had blended with the other spices so that none predominated. Surprisingly, neither the rosemary nor the smoked paprika was that noticeable. I really loved that the chickpeas provided the creaminess you would normally get by adding dairy and thickened the soup enough to boost its heartiness quotient without resorting to pasta, potatoes, or rice.
A terrific tomato soup with complexity but easy to make on a weeknight. The hint of smokiness and spice has a harissa-like flavor but is milder and very approachable. You can keep it totally vegan if you wish or add a swirl of labneh or yogurt. I actually had a last-minute panic—I was out of vegetable broth and basil and had to make a quick decision to use chicken stock and it worked just fine if you have to do the same. For the basil, the closest I had on hand was an herbes de Provence blend. Overall, the spicing was just right, though I wanted to offer a wedge of lemon to brighten the flavor (the yogurt or labneh would do the same).
If I was planning ahead for next time, I would use home-cooked chickpeas and their broth as part of the liquid and that would be a perfect upgrade, but honestly, tinned chickpeas are fine for this soup. Since you’re going to puree it with an immersion blender or regular blender, your dicing doesn’t have to be too fine, so your prep doesn’t take too long. I found in a wide stockpot the depth was too shallow to effectively use the stick blender without too much splatter, so I pureed the soup in two batches (never overfill your blender, especially with hot food) and was pleased with the result.
This creamy tomato soup satiates your classic tomato soup craving but also offers up some spicy and fragrant herbs that will keep you coming back to this recipe over and over. This tomato soup is super easy to throw together and serves as the perfect elixir for that after-the-holidays sickness we all know and love. I cooked a big batch of garbanzo beans earlier in the week to use for this soup (and also in baked goods—vegan baking is a fun adventure).
Originally published March 14, 2017