Chickpea, Tomato & Bread Soup

May 26, 2013

This delicious recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbook Plenty is a take on the Tuscan ribollita. Somewhere between a soup and a vegetable stew, it is a warming and filling meal in a bowl after which you don’t need much… maybe just a comfy little pillow to rest your head on!


  •  1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzle over finished soup
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthways and sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 14 ounce canned Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 tsp dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar (or super fine sugar)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • salt and black pepper
  • 160 grams stale sourdough bread (crust removed) *gluten-free sourdough bread recipe here
  • 14 ounces cooked chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoon basil pesto (ideally homemade; optional)
  • 1 handful shredded fresh basil leaves1


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the onion and fennel in a large saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and stir as you cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and let it bubble for a minute or two.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the herbs, sugar, vegetable stock, and some salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then cover and leave to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  7. While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and some salt, and scatter in a roasting pan.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until thoroughly dry. Remove from oven and set aside.
  9. About 10 minutes before you want to serve the soup, place the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin; you want some to be left whole.
  10. Add the chickpeas to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Next add the toasted bread, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper liberally.
  12. Ladle the hot soup into bowls.
  13. Spoon some pesto in the centre, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with a generous amount of freshly shredded basil, if you like.

Serves 4-6

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