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Rustic Italian Black Chickpea Soup

Rustic Italian Black Chickpea Soup

Black Chickpea Soup, or zuppa di ceci neri, is a hearty, rustic Italian soup with a deep, rich flavor, which is a hallmark of the Puglia region.

Rustic Italian Black Chickpea Soup

Black chickpea soup, or zuppa di ceci neri in Italian, is a nourishing soup with a deep flavor. Ceci neri (black chickpeas) are tastier than their cream-colored relatives.

The black and white world in which Julius Knipl, protagonist of “Cheap Novelties, The Pleasures of Urban Decay,” moves made me want to cook something along the same color lines, yet unusual. I have a package of ceci neri (black chickpeas) from Italy (Puglia, to be precise) and decided to make a soup with them.

Rustic Italian Black Chickpea Soup


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  • Author: Simona Carini
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 cup / 6 oz / 170 g dried black chickpea (ceci neri)
  • 3 cups / 700 ml water
  • 1/2 tablespoon / 7.5 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup / 240 ml chicken or vegetable broth (possibly homemade)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One 2-inch / 5-cm piece of kombu (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon / 7.5 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small leek (white and light green portion)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary needles
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper


Preparing the chickpeas

  1. Rinse the chickpeas and let them soak overnight in the 3 cups / 700 ml of water.

Making the soup

  1. Transfer the chickpeas and water to a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat and keep the water bubbling vivaciously for 8-10 minutes, then turn down the heat.
  2. In the meantime, warm up the olive oil in a small skillet, then add the shallot and stir well. Cook on gentle heat for several minutes, until softened, stirring often. Add the garlic, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat. Warm up the broth until it is quite hot.
  3. With a skimmer, remove any foam that forms on the surface of the chickpeas, then add the cooked shallot and garlic, the hot broth, the bay leaf and the kombu (if using). Bring back to a boil, turn down the hear and cook, covered, until the chickpeas are tender. The skin remains rather firm. When almost ready, add salt and stir.
  4. Half an hour or so after the chickpeas have started cooking with the aromatics, slice the leek into thin half moons, and measure 1/4 cup / 60 ml. Wash leek carefully and drain. Warm up the other amount of olive oil in a small skillet, then add the leek and rosemary and stir well. Cook on gentle heat until the leek is soft, stirring often. Take off the heat, add the pepper and stir well. Set aside.
  5. When the chickpeas are ready, add the leeks and stir. Let cool slightly, then ladle one cup of chickpeas and broth into the immersion blender cup or similar container. Blend to a creamy consistency. Pour the cream back into the saucepan, then briefly process the soup with the immersion blender. This creates a variety of textures: some chickpeas will remain whole, others will be broken more or less coarsely and some will be reduced to a cream.
  6. Taste and adjust salt. Serve immediately or let the soup rest to let flavors blend. Serve the soup hot with small cubes of toasted bread.
  • Category: Primi


View Comments (8)
  • THanks for submitting this recipe. I HAd this soup in Puglia 2 years ago and could not find any mention of it anywhere. One of the best soups I e ever had and very unique

    Did you develop the recipe yourself ?

  • Dear Joe, thank you so much for your comment. Glad to read you have nice memories of your visit to Puglia. Yes, I developed the recipe myself. It includes some things I do when cooking legumes (like using bay leaf and kombu), personal preferences in terms of ingredients (like using leeks) and details from local recipes I read (like the use of rosemary).

  • Despite being a vegan and cooking beans and lentils in most of my recipes, I’m not familiar with black chick peas! I’m fascinated and will look for them to try your delicious looking soup! And thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting..

  • Thank you, Judee, for your comment. I like to try new varieties of legumes and was glad to find these pretty black chickpeas. I hope you will find them too :)

  • Hi! Seeing your recipe brought back wonderful memories—my Mom would make a similar soup whenever someone visited from Italy and brought her these delicious chickpeas! Thanks!

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