Chickpea soup with almond pesto

Light almond pesto adds flavour and colour to Gary Rhodes warming chickpea soup
By Gary Rhodes
Chickpea soup with almond pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the soup

  • 1 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 sprigs thyme
  • 200 g dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours
  • 50 g dried cicerchia, soaked in water for 24 hours or 50g additional dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours
  • 2 leaves sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, left whole
  • 1 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 potatoes, diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved

For the pesto

  • 50 g almonds, peeled and unsalted
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 cloves garlic, halved and the centre root removed
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Tips and Suggestions

Cicerchia are an ancient type of pulse found central Italy. They are similar to chickpeas but have a more stunted shape and earthier flavour. You can sometimes find them in specialist Italian gourmet stores, otherwise look out for them when on holiday in Umbria and the Marche.


1. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen string, to prevent the leaves from falling off.

2. In a large pan put the chickpeas and cicerchia (if using) along with all the finely chopped vegetables, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Add enough cold water to cover the chickpeas and vegetables by approximately 2.5cm.

3. Place over a medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 1½ to 2 hours, topping up with more water if necessary to keep the level 2.5cm above the vegetables and chickpeas.

4. For the pesto: Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend to a smooth consistency.

5. Remove the rosemary and thyme bunch from the soup and discard.

6. Next ladle two thirds of the chickpeas and half the stock into a food processor and whiz until smooth, leaving the remaining chick peas and vegetables whole. Pour the smooth soup back into the pan and season to taste with salt.

7. Reheat the soup so that it is piping hot and serve in bowls, adding a dollop of pesto to each.

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