Lately, we've had this vegan chickpea noodle soup on repeat. We don't have the sniffles, but the nourishing leek, ginger, and turmeric broth would also be perfect if you have a cold. The crisp veggie and herb toppings are a departure from a classic chicken noodle soup—but this dish would certainly hit the spot when you're craving a comforting, feel good noodle soup.
Why you'll love this garbanzo bean soup
- The recipe is easy to make and cooks quickly
- Everything is cooked in one pot for easy clean up
- The broth is bolstered with nourishing ingredients—like garlic, ginger, turmeric—to help you get through cold and flu season!
- Simmering canned chickpeas in the flavorful broth helps to season them
- The starch released by cooking the pasta directly in the soup helps give the soup a bit of body and perceived richness
- Fresh toppings—like shredded iceberg lettuce, radishes, jalapenos—make an easy garnish that provides crunch and spice
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice adds just enough acidity to brighten up and enhance the flavors
This easy chickpea soup is chock full of nourishing ingredients, including:
- Yellow onions: A delicious soup often starts with a base of onions. This recipe starts with browning the onions to get a head start on flavor. You could substitute the yellow onions with white onions instead.
- Leeks: Leeks are milder and sweeter than onions, so they boost the onion-y flavor without overpowering. Peel back the outside layers of the leek and rinse thoroughly before cutting, because they usually have dirt hiding in between.
- Ginger: Ginger adds flavor and heat to this soup. It's also known for boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation (source).
- Garlic: The garlic adds flavor to this quick cooking soup. 8 cloves of garlic might seem like a lot, but it won't be overpowering, we promise.
- Turmeric: Dried turmeric gives this soup a pretty golden yellow color. Turmeric is also noted for its anti-inflammatory properties (source).
- Black pepper: Turmeric and black pepper pair well together, so we use both in the soup. You can garnish with more pepper if you'd like too! We always recommend using freshly ground black pepper—the pre-ground stuff lacks flavor and heat.
- Vegetable broth: Use the best vegetable stock you can get your hands on—it really makes an impact on the overall flavor. Our favorite one to use in this recipe is Better Than Bouillon No Chicken. It really channels vegan chicken noodle soup. That said, this recipe is also delicious with other vegetable stocks. We've tested it with Better Than Bouillon Vegetable too (it also turned out delicious, but slightly less yellow).
- Chickpeas: We use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) because they're quick and convenient. But, you could use home cooked chickpeas instead if you prefer.
- Noodles: Ditalini noodles are our favorite here! They're cute, easy to eat, and we find they don't tend to swell as much as other kinds of noodles. But, you can swap them for another type of small noodle if you prefer (see suggestions below).
How to make vegan pasta soup
This soup is one of our go-to weeknight dinners in the fall and winter because it's so easy to make. All you need to do to make this hearty pasta soup is:
- Cook the onions until golden brown
- Add the other aromatics—leeks, garlic, ginger, turmeric, black pepper—and saute until fragrant
- Add chickpeas and broth and bring to a boil
- Cook the noodles (in the soup)
- Add colorful fresh toppings and serve!
Everything gets cooked in one pot, making clean up a breeze. We also like cooking everything together so that the chickpeas and noodles both get a chance to absorb the delicious flavors from the golden turmeric soup broth.
Small noodle substitutes for soup
We recommend ditalini noodles for this chickpea noodle soup recipe. Ditalini noodles are shaped like small tubes. They are named after "little thimbles" for their resemblance to sewing thimbles.
If you can't find ditalini noodles, you can substitute them for another small pasta shape, such as:
- Tubetti: These look like ditalini noodles, but are longer in length.
- Small shells: If you use shells, make sure you're using small shells, not the big ones!
- Elbows: This curved tube shaped pasta is often used to make macaroni and cheese.
- Fideo cut spaghetti: Fideo looks like spaghetti or angel hair pasta, but cut into tiny lengths (about 1-inch/2.5 cm long).
- Orzo: A rice shaped pasta that's sometimes used in soups.
Remember: Cook times vary depending on the size and shape of the pasta noodle. If you are substituting the ditalini for a different kind of noodle, adjust the final cook time accordingly!
Vegan Golden Chickpea Noodle Soup
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 cups sliced leeks (cut into ½-inch/1.5 cm thick half-moons)
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1½ teaspoons dried turmeric
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cans (15 oz / 14 fl oz/ 398 ml) chickpeas, drained
- 8 cups vegetable broth (see note 1)
- 1¼ cup dry ditalini pasta (see note 2, see note 3)
- Shredded iceberg lettuce (about 2 cups)
- Thinly sliced jalapeno (1 pepper)
- Thinly sliced radish (2 to 3 radishes)
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges (from 1 lime)
- Saute onion: Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions and salt. Saute until golden-brown around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add seasonings: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pot, along with leeks, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and black pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Boil: Add chickpeas and vegetable broth. Stir to mix, and use the bottom of a stirring spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover with a lid slightly ajar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, to let the flavors meld.
- Add pasta: Add the ditalini and stir well to mix. Cover with a lid slightly ajar (so the broth doesn't over-reduce). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Serve: Taste and season with more salt if needed. Spoon the soup into bowls and top with garnishes (iceberg lettuce, jalapeno, radish, and cilantro). Squeeze a lime wedge or two over each bowl before digging in.
- Vegetable broth: To channel vegetarian/vegan chicken noodle soup vibes, we highly recommend Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Chicken Base (or similar). Otherwise, make sure you're using a high quality, flavorful vegetable broth. The type of broth you use can have a big impact to the final flavor, so use a good one!
- Pasta/noodles: We love using ditalini pasta in this soup, but you could substitute another small noodle such as small shells or elbows. Adjust cook time accordingly.
- Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free small pasta (ditalini or similar). Since gluten-free noodles are more sensitive to overcooking, we'd recommend cooking the noodles in a separate pot of water according to package instructions. Since the noodles aren't cooking in the soup (and absorbing liquid), adjust by removing the lid in step 4 so that the soup cooks uncovered for the last 10 minutes to help it reduce slightly.
- Storage tips: Refrigerate any extra soup for up to 2-3 days. Thin the soup with more vegetable stock before reheating, if needed.
- Nutritional estimate includes soup and suggested toppings.