This nourishing Chickpea and Rice Soup is the ultimate no-fuss winter warmer. Made in one pot with pantry staple ingredients, it's a feel-good, fill-you-up soup the whole family will love. Vegetarian, gluten free, and on the table in just 45 minutes.
This recipe post is sponsored by USA Rice (@think_rice). I was compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.
Why You'll Love this Chickpea and Rice Soup
A pot of pure comfort, this cozy vegetarian rice soup offers familiar flavor and weeknight-ease. Plant-powered and fiber-filled, it's chockfull of aromatics, warming spices, and a flurry of fresh herbs. It's the kind of soup that will warm you from the inside out, while delivering good-for-you nutrients.
Unlike classic chicken and rice soup, this version gets a zesty lift from turmeric and ginger. It also packs more of a garlicky, herb-y punch than most, making each spoonful more enticing than the next. Plus, rice is gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains, making this recipe appealable to the masses.
This chickpea and rice soup is ready in just 45 minutes, with the majority of the cook time being hands-off. And since it's plant-based, it will last for up to 5 days refrigerated. Prep a pot at the start of the week and you can reheat bowls on demand for quick and easy meals.
So go ahead and flag this nourishing soup, which will become a steady addition to your repertoire of go-to healthy meals.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- U.S.-grown Long-Grain White Rice: Long grain white rice has a firm, fluffy texture due to its higher amylose content. It works exceptionally well in pilafs, stir-fries, and soups, and actually accounts for more than 70% of the rice grown in the United States. U.S.-grown rice is nutrient-rich and contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and other B-vitamins, as well as iron and zinc.
- Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas add a one-two punch of protein and fiber to this soup. They also hold their plump shape better than most beans while the soup simmers.
- Aromatics: A classic mirepoix made of onion, carrots, and celery create an aromatic backbone for this soup. The key is to cook them long enough so they really sweat–at least 10 minutes. For the onion, I prefer yellow, however you can also use white, sweet, or even shallots.
- Spices: A mix of ground ginger and turmeric give this soup a zesty lift. Of course you can use fresh, which will pack even more of a punch, however I love having ground on hand for convenience.
- Broth: If making the soup vegetarian, stick with vegetable broth. Otherwise, chicken, turkey, or even bone broth will do the job.
- Herbs: I love using a mix of parsley and thyme, which add equal parts brightness and earthy, floral flavor. If you have dry bay leaves on hand, you can also toss one of those in the soup while it simmers.
Step 1: Sauté Aromatics
Start by heating a glug of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Next, add onions, carrots, and celery; cook until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
Next, stir in garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme; cook 2 more minutes, stirring often, until aromatic.
Step 2: Toast Rice
Stir in the U.S.-grown Long Grain White Rice, and cook for two minutes, allowing the rice to lightly toast. (As with toasting spices and nuts, toasting rice before cooking can enhance the nutty depth of the grains, lending an extra layer of flavor to the soup.)
After two full minutes, stir in the chickpeas and broth.
Step 3: Simmer Soup
Bring the soup to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, until the rice is tender. (Do not remove the lid during this time, which could disrupt the rice cooking process.)
Remove lid and stir in peas, fresh parsley, and lemon juice, and give the soup a taste. If you wish to add any additional seasonings, such as more salt and pepper, stir them in now.
Step 4: Serve Soup with Fresh Herbs
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with additional fresh parsley and cracked black pepper. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and/or side salad, if desired.
What to Serve with Chickpea and Rice Soup:
This vegetarian rice soup is plenty hearty and filling on its own, however it also pairs well with a myriad of sides. Here are some of my favorites:
- Salad: You can’t go wrong with a soup + salad combo! This Winter Chopped Salad with White Balsamic features white beans and sweet potatoes for a filling and flavorful side. Alternatively, this Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette spotlights cooler weather produce and a truly fantastic dressing.
- Sandwich: For a non-veg option, this Green Goddess Chicken Salad Sandwich will make for a mighty fine lunch. Or for the vegetarians, I love these Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches.
- Protein: For a meatless option that’s super satiating, try my Moroccan Lentil Meatballs or Chickpea Meatballs.
- Bread: Garlic bread, pita, fresh sourdough, or a baguette are perfect for dunking into this soup and sopping up the remains.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat:
- To Store: Let soup cool to room temperature before placing leftovers in an airtight storage container. Refrigerate leftover soup for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat: Gently rewarm soup in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat until hot. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 to 45 seconds.
- To Freeze: Store soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recommended Tools for this Recipe:
- Dutch Oven: I use my Lodge Enameled 6-qt Dutch Oven for every stovetop soup recipe. It’s a staple piece on my stovetop, and has endless functionality. Lodge is also quite a bit cheaper than Cuisinart, yet just as good quality, in my opinion.
- Ladle: For transferring the soup to your bowl, you need a reliable ladle. This one is sleek, affordable, and versatile.
- Non-Slip Cutting Board: For slicing and dicing all of your aromatics, these non-slip, ultra-durable cutting boards will stay in place on your countertop.
More Vegetarian Soup Recipes to Try:
Chickpea and Rice Soup
- Large Stock Pot or Dutch Oven
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (sub 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger)
- ¾ tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ¾ tsp. black pepper
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¾ cup dry U.S.-grown Long Grain White Rice
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 qt. (6 cups) vegetable broth (sub chicken broth if not making vegetarian)
- ½ cup frozen green peas (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme; cook 2 more minutes, until aromatic.
- Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes, allowing the rice to lightly toast. Stir in chickpeas and broth; bring soup to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.
- Uncover soup and remove bare thyme sprigs. Stir in peas, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. (If you prefer a brothier consistency, feel free to add another cup of broth or water.) Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with additional fresh parsley and cracked black pepper, if desired.