A cozy bowl of easy Chickpea Noodle Soup is just the healthy thing to warm you up! This recipe happens to be vegan, and it relies on red lentils to thicken the broth and chickpeas to mimic the bites of chicken in a regular chicken noodle soup.
The excitement that I have while sharing this vegan chickpea noodle soup recipe is almost hard to contain. Not only are we using two types of beans here (chickpeas and red lentils), but this soup hits all the flavor notes of a traditional chicken soup for me.
This soup contains Italian seasoning, so it really tastes like traditional chicken noodle soup. The chickpeas do an amazing job standing in for the chicken, as most chickpeas do. If you agree, you would love my chickpea pasta salad!
The thing I love most about this soup is the texture. It is slightly thickened because the red lentils dissolve into the broth. Red lentils are so delicate when cooked, that a simple whisk can dissolve them into a liquid.
I first learned to add red lentils to my soups from Michelle over at Healthier Steps. She has a red lentil soup made in the instant pot that makes the lentils melt into a texture that is perfectly mid-way between soup and stew. Speaking of, if you like thick soups, you might like my red lentil chili also!
- Onion. One cup of finely chopped white or yellow onion is about 1 small onion.
- Celery. Two stalks of celery is equal to about one cup of sliced celery. I always include the leaves when chopping the celery because they bring so much flavor.
- Carrots. I really like this soup with grated carrots. Grate two carrots on a box grater to equal about one cup.
- Garlic. Yes, four cloves of garlic is a lot, but it brings a depth of flavor to the broth.
- Italian Seasoning. The herbs found in Italian seasoning are similar to poultry seasoning, but I prefer Italian because it's much lighter and more lemon-y. Sometimes, depending on the brand, poultry seasoning can be loaded with sage and make your soup taste smoky in a bad way.
- Red Lentils. In the bag, red lentils are actually an orange color. See the photo above. As they cook, they turn yellow, and then they dissolve into the cooking liquid.
- Vegetable Broth. A flavorful vegetable broth that you love is the best thing to use here. I like powdered broths from Italy that are full of flavor. If you're not strictly vegan, chicken broth is great here, too.
- Noodles. My preference for chickpea noodle soup is long whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into bits by hand. If you're more of a curly noodle person, use your favorite noodle.
- Chickpeas. One 15-ounce can of chickpeas that has been drained and rinsed.
How to Make Chickpea Noodle Soup
This vegan chickpea noodle soup recipe is super simple to make and everything comes together in one pot. I use 5 quart or larger enamel-coated dutch oven pan to make this.
Heat the oil in a small Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots, and saute while stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes, until the onions start to soften. Lower the heat if the onions threaten to burn. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning, and saute for 1 minute.
Add the red lentils and 6 cups of the vegetable broth. Stir, and bring to a simmer.
Add the salt, pepper and broken spaghetti noodles. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook until the noodles are cooked all the way through, about 6 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, and then stir to heat through. The lentils should melt completely and thicken the soup. If the soups seems too thick, add the extra cup of vegetable broth.
Be sure to taste the soup before serving an add any extra salt and pepper, to taste. I also love it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Ok, I know that your mom's chicken soup is not my mom's chicken soup, and that we need to have some wiggle room in this recipe. So, I present to you my list of substitutions and approved swaps to make it more homey for you.
- Seasoning - I prefer Italian seasoning because the blend of herbs has a lemony flavor from the oregano. Poultry seasoning has a lot of overlapping flavors, and can be used here, as long as you love sage. Think Thanksgiving dinner when you think of sage.
- Noodles - I like long noodles for slurping because I like to eat like a toddler, so I reach for whole wheat spaghetti. I also recommend egg noodles (note: not vegan), rotini, rice noodles (gluten free), fideo noodles, pasta made from chickpeas, or even fresh or frozen pasta dumplings.
- Beans - I think chickpeas represent the meaty chunks in soup quite well, but you can also use white beans or hearty kidney beans. My instant pot chickpeas are great here.
How to Store Chickpea Noodle Soup
Anytime we store leftover soup with noodles, the noodles tend to soak up too much of the broth and the soup 'dries' out, in a sense. To prevent this, you can cook the noodles and store them separately.
Or, you can simple refrigerate the soup as-is, and then add more broth upon reheating.
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 small onion)
- 1 cup thinly-sliced celery (2 stalks)
- 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ cup red lentils, rinsed
- 6-7 cups vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Scant 1 cup broken Spaghetti noodles (broken into 3-4” chunks)
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 ¾ cup chickpeas)
1. Heat the oil in a small Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots, and saute while stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes, until the onions start to soften. Lower the heat if the onions threaten to burn.
2. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning, and saute for 1 minute.
3. Add the rinsed red lentils and 6 cups of the vegetable broth. Stir, and bring to a simmer.
4. Add the salt, pepper and broken spaghetti noodles. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook until the noodles are cooked all the way through, about 6 minutes.
5. Add the chickpeas, and then stir to heat through. The lentils should melt completely and thicken the soup. If the soups seems too thick, add the extra cup of vegetable broth. Serve immediately.
Red Lentils: Red lentils actually have an orange color. As they cook, they turn yellow, and then they fully dissolve into the cooking liquid when whisked.
Noodles: My preference for chickpea noodle soup is long whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into bits by hand. If you're more of a curly noodle person, use your favorite noodle.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4916mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 9gSugar: 16gProtein: 14g