This Spicy Chickpea Soup is quick and easy and can be ready in just 45 minutes. Each bite is packed full of amazing sweet, sour, spicy, and savoury flavours. Garnished with toasted crunchy cashews and finished off with a swirl of vegan cream or a scoop of vegan yogurt for the ultimate plant-based veggie indulgence. Not a fan of chickpeas? These can be easily replaced with kidney beans for The Best Spicy Kidney Bean Soup!
We use a variety of spices for our flavour packed Spicy Chickpea Soup but if your in a hurry or want to use less ingredients then simply replace these with a curry powder or paste such as a Madras curry powder, Tikka Masala curry powder, or perhaps a Jalfrezi curry paste. Not a fan of chickpeas? Why not prepare a delicious Spicy Kidney Bean Soup instead?
History of chickpea soup
Spicy chickpea soup, often referred to in various cuisines as "chickpea stew," "chickpea curry," or by other names, has roots in many different countries and cooking traditions around the world. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) have been cultivated for over 7,000 years, primarily in the Mediterranean region, but they have also been a staple in many parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
In countries such as Spain and Italy, chickpea soups have been popular for centuries and they're typically seasoned with local herbs and spices, and sometimes include ingredients like spinach, chorizo, or pasta. Incidentally, we have a tasty Spanish Chickpea Stew which makes for a delicious easy meal.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, chickpeas are a staple. While hummus is perhaps the most famous dish using chickpeas, many Middle Eastern nations have their own variations of spicy chickpea soups or stews and these are often flavoured with spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili, and might include other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and garlic.
Chickpeas, especially the smaller, darker variety known as "Bengal gram" or "Chana," are a staple of Indian cuisine. The Indian subcontinent offers a range of spicy chickpea curries, like "Chana Masala," which is a spicy chickpea curry made with a tomato-based sauce and a mix of flavourful spices, and Chana Chaat which are delicious spiced chickpeas that are commonly enjoyed as a snack. Our tasty Tikka Masala recipe also includes chickpeas - Slow Cooker Tikka Masala.
In countries like Morocco and Tunisia, chickpea soups, stews or tagines are flavoured with aromatic spices like saffron, paprika, and cumin. They might also contain ingredients such as lamb or other local vegetables. For a delicious Moroccan stew recipe that features chickpeas do have a look at our Moroccan Roast Cauliflower & Lentil Stew.
In modern times, spicy chickpea soup can be found in various forms all over the world, with chefs and home-cooks whipping up countless variations.
We often like to include some kale in our Spicy Chickpea Soup as it fits in so well with the Indian spices.
Spicy chickpea soup
Each bite of this yummy soup is full of flavour, we could literally eat it everyday. From the flavour pops of fennel and nigella seeds, to the toasted crunchy cashews and fresh coriander, the creamy potatoes and chickpeas, and the sweet carrots and onions. Not forgetting the sweet and sourness or the tamarind or mango chutney. Its just so warming and satisfying.
All the ingredients compliment the Indian spices and tomato based sauce beautifully. The beauty of this chickpea soup recipe is that it is flexible as the amount of spice can be altered depending on you and your family's preferences. My kids don't like their food too spicy so I just add a pinch of chilli flakes, but a fresh chilli can be sliced and added along with the onion for more spicy heat. Alternatively simply add more chilli flakes or even garnish with a fresh sliced chilli, if your feeling extra brave! Also, instead of the individual spices, if its easier, go with a curry powder or paste.
***Ingredient photos coming soon***
This spicy chickpea soup is packed with big flavours - nigella seeds, fennel seeds, paprika, chilli flakes or powder, turmeric powder, garlic powder, tamarind paste or mango chutney.
*An easier option is to replace the individual spices with curry powder such as Madras curry powder or a Tikka Masala curry powder, or perhaps use a curry paste.*
The fresh ingredients are - potato, carrot, and red onion - and the rest of the ingredients are canned chopped tomatoes and canned chickpeas - along with vegetable stock and a little bit of sugar to balance the flavours.
As an optional but tasty garnish we toast cashew nuts and scatter over a good amount of fresh coriander [cilantro] over the finished soup.
***Step-by-step photos coming soon***
- First off the fennel and nigella seeds are briefly cooked in oil, before the onions and garlic are added, followed by the carrot, potato, chickpeas and the rest of the spices turmeric, paprika, and chilli flakes.
2. Next the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock are poured in, and the soup is cooked for at least 25 minutes.
3. While the soup is cooking roast the cashews in a small fry pan or skillet. Add the cashews to your pan and sprinkle with salt, and perhaps some garam masala powder, chilli, paprika or cayenne powder.
Over a medium-high heat shake the pan often until the cashews are tinged with golden colours.
Once the pan is very hot you can lift it off the heat and just shoogle it back and forth. The cashews will continue to brown in the residual heat.
4. Lastly, the soup is removed from the heat and the coriander and tamarind paste or mango chutney is stirred through.
The toasted cashews are scattered over each bowl and a swirl of vegan cream can be added.
This spicy chickpea soup is so simple but very tasty and impressive enough to have as a dinner party starter or main. Or serve as part of an Indian inspired feast or dinner party.
This recipe will provide 3 large bowls or 4 smaller but good-sized portions. I usually get 4 portions but others may have larger appetites! The recipe can be easily doubled to make extra portions.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Leftovers can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or frozen for up 2-3 months.
Reheat leftovers by placing in a saucepan and gently bringing to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until piping hot. If liked, add a little extra tamarind paste or mango chutney to the reheated soup along with extra chopped coriander [cilantro] and toasted cashews.
Yes. This soup can be easily made gluten-free. Just ensure that your vegetable stock and any spices or spice mixes are free from gluten ingredients especially flour which is sometimes added.
Tamarind paste is made from the sticky fruit pulp contained within the bean-like pod of the tamarind tree that is indigenous to some parts of Africa, India, and Mexico. Tamarind is also cultivated as ornamental garden plants and for agricultural purposes.
Tamarind paste can often be found in the world food section of many supermarkets. I sourced my tub from Asda, UK (not an affiliate ad link). Or if your lucky enough to be near to an Asian supermarket then your bound to find tamarind paste for sale.Often pressed tamarind pulp can be sourced in a small packet from supermarkets, wholefood, and Asian stores and this can be used to prepare tamarind water. Which you can use instead of tamarind paste. I have done this many times and its an easy process. Just follow the instructions on the packet.
The flavour of tamarind is sour, sweet and fruity so is perfect for creating depths of flavour in soups, curries, and stews. Tamarind is a common ingredient in many Indian curries and Thai dishes - such as Pad Thai.
Western products such as Worcester sauce and brown sauce often make use of tamarind as a key ingredient, so if you have never heard of or tasted tamarind before its likely you have consumed tamarind but just didn't know!
In Mexico, they make a delicious chilled non-alcoholic drink agua de Tamarindo (Tamarindo drink). A pitcher of Tamarindo drink is perfect for cooling down on hot summer days and is an ideal way to use up some of your tamarind paste.
Another delicious idea is to make this quick tamarind chutney recipe, which will provide a flavour and texture boost to any dish, or even enjoy with some vegan cheese and crackers!Other ideas is to make a tamarind salad dressing by mixing some of the tamarind paste through your usual dressing or mix it with some olive oil, seasonings, and a sweetener such as maple syrup.
If you enjoy the flavour of tamarind then you add small amounts to any of your favourite spicy curries, soups, rice, marinades, sauces such as BBQ sauce or ketchup, or recipes for an instant flavour boost. We say small amounts, as its always best to add a small amount then adjust to taste.
Tamarind has been used as part of herbal medicine since medieval times although more research is needed for any conclusive health benefit claims. Although, tamarind is a nutritious and worthwhile addition to diets as it is high in antioxidants, B vitamins, essential amino acids, and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorous.
If you don't have tamarind paste or puree available then we have provided the next best alternative for our spicy chickpea soup - mango chutney. However, there are a few other options that may work.
Such as a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice, tablespoon of apricot jam, a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
If you go with lemon or lime juice or a vinegar its also best to add a teaspoon of sugar if the flavours seem a little off balance.
Another idea is to prepare a prune paste as prunes have a deep sweetness similar to tamarind. Blend prunes with some water, and if needed, add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to enhance the tartness, and a pinch of sugar if liked.
Mango chutney is a sweet and tangy condiment made from mangoes, sugar, and various spices. It has its origins in Indian cooking but is now a common ingredient in many countries.
Mango chutney generally has a chunky texture, with pieces of mango, though it can also be smooth. Its flavor is a balance of sweet, tart, and spicy.
It is usually found in the Asian or Indian food section of most supermarkets or stores, and in the UK it tends to be packaged in small jars.
If you don't have mango chutney to hand for a savoury recipe, we have found that adding an onion chutney or a tomato chutney to be just as nice, although the end flavours will be different.
Yes, a curry powder would work fine. As curry powder is a blend of various spices, it can be a great way to easily achieve a flavourful curry without needing individual spices, which can save money especially if you don't have all the spices available.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Curry powders can vary in their spice mix composition and heat level, as some might be milder and more turmeric-heavy, while others might be more spicier with a more red chilli powder included. So its good to know the flavour profile of the curry powder you're using.
2. Curry powders can range from mild to very spicy. If you like your soup to have a kick, and you're using a mild curry powder, you might still want to add some chilli flakes or fresh chili to achieve the desired heat.
3. When replacing the individual spices with curry powder, start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of curry powder as add more if liked.
4. If there's a particular spice in your original recipe that you're fond of (like the fennel seeds or nigella seeds), you might consider still adding a bit of that spice separately to ensure its flavour comes through.
5. Even if you're using curry powder, you might still want to add certain individual spices or ingredients like garlic powder (or fresh garlic) to maintain the depth of flavour.
Yes, we would replace the chickpeas with kidney beans as kidney beans taste so good cooked in a spicy soup. Other ideas include cooked or canned green or brown lentils, cooked mung beans, azuki beans, black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, or butterbeans [lima beans].
A few ideas:
* 3 Ingredient flatbreads
* naan breads, roti breads, chapati bread
* crusty bread, such as homemade Australian Damper Bread
* lentil or chickpea crisps [chips]
* Crispy Tofu Bites
* add any variety of rice to the bowl before ladling over the soup
* instead of rice -replace with cooked couscous, millet, quinoa, or Bulgar wheat
* sweet potato fries, chips, or wedges, on the side of a bowl of soup is always tasty
* vegetable pakoras or samosas, on the side
* a few vegetable spring rolls
* a few teaspoons of Indian mint or lime pickle on top of the soup
* mango or tamarind chutney
* a scoop of home-made raita - simply mix diced cucumber & mint leaves with some plant-based plain yogurt
* lemon or lime wedges
* sliced spring onions [green onions]
* a tomato and cumber salad
* a simple red onion pickle [find an easy recipe over on our Italian Bread Salad recipe]
More spicy chickpea recipes
My family loves chickpeas as well as spicy foods so combining the two together always makes sense especially seeing as different cultures and traditions throughout the centuries also had the same ideas!
So we have a nice growing collection of vegan recipes that include spice and chickpeas on our family recipe blog that we know you will love also!
For even more spicy chickpea recipes do check out one of our visitors most favourite curry recipes this Vegan Thai Red Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Chickpea Curry and for a slow cooker version you have to try this Slow Cooker Red Thai Curry [with Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Spinach].
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Spicy Chickpea Soup
- Large soup pot or Dutch oven pot
- Small fry pan or skillet optional, to toast cashews
- 1 tablespoon olive oil [or coconut oil, or replace with ½ cup of vegetable stock]
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds [also known as black onion, black cumin or kalonji seeds]
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes [or to taste, or replace with 1 small green fresh chilli, sliced]
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder [or granules, or 3 minced fresh garlic cloves]
- 1 medium red onion [diced]
- 1 medium carrot [diced]
- 150 grams potato [1 medium, diced]
- 1 can chickpeas [400g/14oz can, drained.]
- 1 can chopped tomatoes [400g/14oz., or 400g tomato passata/tomato sauce]
- 750 millilitre vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoon sugar [any sugar is fine, such as granulated, soft brown, date, coconut, jaggery, etc. Plus salt and pepper to taste]
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste or mango chutney [or puree, or replace with mango chutney, use more to taste]
- 3 tablespoon coriander [cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish if liked.]
- 60 grams cashews [chopped, alternatively use flaked almonds, peanuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.]
- 4 tablespoon plant-based cream [or vegan plain yogurt, optional]
- Heat the oil over a medium heat, add the fennel and nigella seeds, and cook and stir for 1 minute.1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon nigella seeds, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Turn the heat to low and mix through the onions.Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently1 medium red onion
- Next, add the turmeric, paprika, dried garlic, chilli flakes [or fresh chilli or chilli powder], and stir well.1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Mix through the the carrots, potato, and chickpeas.1 medium carrot, 150 grams potato, 1 can chickpeas
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock.1 can chopped tomatoes, 750 millilitre vegetable stock
- Season with a little salt and pepper, and the sugar.½ teaspoon sugar
- Over a high heat bring to a gentle boil, and cook for 25 minutes over a medium heat. Once cooked the potatoes and carrots should be soft, so if they are taking their time to soften pop a lid over the pot so that the heat concentrates more into the pot.
- If toasting the cashews for a garnish, these can be toasted while the soup cooks. To toast the cashews heat a small skillet or fry pan over a high heat, and then add a single layer of cashews, shake or stir the cashews as they toast, and once the cashews are beginning to turn golden remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring as the nuts will continue to toast. Tip the cashews out to cool on a plate until the soup is ready. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds are a nice alternative.60 grams cashews
- Remove the soup pot from the heat and mix though the chopped coriander and tamarind or mango chutney. Leave to sit for a few minutes for the flavours to mingle.1 tablespoon tamarind paste or mango chutney, 3 tablespoon coriander
- Check the seasoning adding salt and black pepper if necessary, and more tamarind paste or mango chutney if liked.
- Drizzle a tablespoon of cream over each bowl or add a scoop of yogurt, this is optional but very tasty.If using the toasted cashews sprinkle these over each bowl, along with extra coriander if liked.4 tablespoon plant-based cream
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. The data includes the cashew garnish.
- This recipe will make 4 good sized bowls but for hungrier and bigger appetites the recipe will be enough for 3 large bowls. The recipe is easy to double up and make extra portions.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
- Or frozen for up to 2-3 months.
- Reheat leftovers by adding to a pot, bringing to the boil, and reheat for 2-3 minutes until piping hot.
- If preferred replace the individual spices with curry powder or curry paste, such as a Madras curry powder or a Tikka Masala curry powder, or a Jalfrezi curry paste. However, if possible also add chilli flakes or powder as well as the paprika but its not essential.
- Tamarind paste can be replaced with mango chutney for this recipe.
- For a more substantial meal serve the soup over some cooked rice, or serve with chapatis or flat breads.
- Instead of chickpeas use a can of kidney beans.
- For extra nutrition add a few cups of chopped kale and cook this within the soup, or stir through a few cups of spinach through the soup at the end of cooking.
- When purchasing cashews we always buy cashews labelled as 'broken cashews' from our local health shop [wholefood store] as these are less expensive than whole cashews. Alternatively, use sunflower seeds which are even cheaper but just as nice.
Prepared our Spicy Chickpea Soup? Or perhaps you cooked up a Spicy Kidney Bean Soup? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe so do pop back and drop us a comment and click the star ratings. Its very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x