This richly spiced chickpea and kale soup, redolent of cinnamon, saffron, and ginger, is as delicious as it is good-for-you. Two words: TRY IT.
If it seems to you like I’ve been making lots of soup lately, you’re right. Not that it’s been especially cool here, but once there’s even a hint of Fall nip in the air, I crave nothing more than a hot bowl of soup. I haven’t wanted to even glimpse a salad; give me all my veggies immersed in a comforting bowl of broth!
I firmly believe that simmering in soup is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables. Unlike boiling or even steaming, to a certain extent, all of the nutrients remain in the broth to be eaten along with the vegetables.
And did you know that cooking actually increases the nutrients available in some vegetables, including carrots? Lightly cooking carrots breaks down the cell walls, increasing the amount of absorbable beta carotene.
This particular soup is a nutritional powerhouse. The carrots provide beta carotene, the chickpeas offer protein, and the kale…well the kale is a powerhouse all on its own. It’s rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper, manganese, and calcium. Plus, it’s one of the cruciferous vegetables proven to reduce the risk of a number of cancers as well as heart disease. Eat more kale!
But don’t try this deliciously different chickpea soup because it’s good for you; try it because it’s delicious: sumptuously seasoned with cumin, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, yet not overwhelming or hot-pepper spicy.
And I hesitate to say this because I know my daughter’s tastes aren’t always in line with other 10-year-olds’, but she couldn’t get enough of it, even though her first look made her go, “Yuck.” But after the first bite, she was draining the entire bowl. We all were.
I count this one among my family’s favorite recipes. Do yourself a favor and give it a try!
Be sure to check out all my interesting soup recipes!
North African Chickpea and Kale Soup
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 carrots sliced or diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- generous pinch saffron lightly crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
- 8 cups vegetable broth or water plus bouillon
- 1 large bunch kale at least 8 cups, thick center ribs removed discarded, leaves chopped
- about 2 cups water
- salt to taste
- Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and carrot and cook over medium-high heat until the onion begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the spices, including bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the spices. Pour in the 8 cups of vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the chopped kale and stir. If necessary add water to cover the kale and cook until it is tender, about 10-25 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your kale. Check frequently to see if it is becoming dry and add water as needed. Add salt to taste and serve.
Nutritional info is approximate.
JennAugust 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm
This soup was amazing! We could not stop eating it. It is so flavorful. Even the kids had two bowls. We can’t buy kale year round where I live only in Nov and Dec (counting down the days to eat a raw kale salad). I can buy frozen kale when it is in stock. So I’ve been trying to find great recipes to add the frozen kale to. This was perfect.
Elizabeth HandlerNovember 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm
This looks delicious, and I just got some kale at the local farmers’ market. I think I’ll add barley instead of quinoa. I love the flavor of barley.
NannersNovember 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm
Haha! I specifically clicked on this due to the “North African” as I was curious what about the soup would be North African! Anyway, sounds delish and I will give it a go 🙂
Dr.B.M.SharmaNovember 4, 2013 at 2:49 am
I am 62 years old. I am to learn cooking also. So I am reading whatever is nutritious. I am from India. And Indians have typical food structure. I am moving towards Salads and Soups. So this brings richness in my life. Thanking you for promoting Foods and Health. May God Bless You With Joys and Progress.
aDecember 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Can u clarify the amount of time CANNED chickpeas need to be cooked? I followed your recipe exactly as written and my canned chickpeas fell apart and got mushy. It didn’t taste good at all. Have you yourself ever used canned chickpeas?
Susan VoisinDecember 20, 2013 at 7:11 pm
I always use canned chickpeas, and coincidentally I’m cooking this soup right now. Your canned chickpeas must be very different from mine because I’ve never had them get mushy in anything. In fact, they sometimes border on being too tough. I’m really sorry your soup came out bad, but please consider trying a different brand of chickpeas. Or, it could be that you just got a bad batch from a normally good brand. I’ve truly never heard of canned chickpeas getting mushy.
AristoleaJanuary 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm
I made this stew with some of my variations tonight, looking for a veggie-heavy iron filled recipe for my roommate… It came out wonderfully! Even though I added some more things to it, the base recipe and inspiration was all you! Could never have done it without 🙂
I posted my recipe on Sparkpeople, but I linked back to here in the description so that everyone will know where it came from …. If you don’t want that, though, I can try to take it (the recipe) down.
Tammy D.February 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Susan! Made this to eat after the Super Bowl game tonight (congrats to the ‘Hawks!). Whole family loved it…nicely spiced and no need for added salt…even used the optional quinoa. Truly yummy (and I’m glad there is some left for my lunch at work this week!). 😀
KateFebruary 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm
I’m so glad I gave this recipe a try. This is one of our favorites. The only change I make now is to up the veggies and decrease the chickpeas so it’s more of an accompaniment rather than a meal on its own.
RobinFebruary 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Wow! This is delicious! What flavors! I did add some cooked quinoa after I made the soup, because I forgot to add it when it was cooking. This is great! I just had 2 bowls and plan to have more later!!! Thank you!!! (My Kale turns a dark green; I guess there is just a moment when it’s bright green.)
kdaberleSeptember 5, 2014 at 11:08 am
We made this last night. OMG it was DELICIOUS! And so simple. I did not have any quinoa (how could that happen?) so added a little couscous, but besides that teeny change I followed the recipe. Really, really good.
pgyxNovember 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm
Saw your post on Facebook and made this tonight. Delicious! Had planned to wait until I get bay leaves and saffron but I needed a dinner plan tonight and had everything else. I used pressure-cooked chickpeas so added extra salt to compensate and also used 1/2 tsp of cayenne. Otherwise followed the recipe, including 8 cups of kale. Could have used even more kale as your recipe suggests but I decided to use freshly blanched kale when we eat the leftovers tomorrow. Used Bryanna Clark Grogan’s homemade chicken-style veggie broth (recipe on her blog) for the first time with success.
Hubby loved it tho’ did ask for a spritz of lemon as he’s new to soups with sweeter spices like cinnamon & allspice. But by the end he was asking me what modifications I made to the recipe so he will know what to do when he makes it! Will definitely make again and next time add bay leaves & saffron as per your recipe!
If I run out of cinnamon sticks do you think I could substitute a very small amount of ground cinnamon?
KathJanuary 7, 2015 at 7:15 pm
WOW….is all I’m going to say!
ReginaOctober 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm
I made this following the recipe exactly, and it’s amazing. The only deviation I made, wasn’t really a deviation: I used Lacinato Kale, because that’s my favorite variety and I always have it on hand. My 11 year old son loved this soup as well.
JudyOctober 27, 2016 at 3:13 am
It has taken me to long to write this but I have been making this soup at least once a month for over a year now. It is my husbands and my favorite soup. The only thing I’ve changed is I put fresh minced ginger in it (lots of it!)
Thankyou for this AWSOME recipe
debbieMarch 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm
This is such a favorite… I’ve been following you for years and enjoy many of your recipes, but since I make this one like every other week, I felt I finally needed to thank you personally!!! thank you!!! I’m so grateful :o)
Dorothy BevillApril 13, 2017 at 9:17 am
You see and feel the good coming in with every spoonful! Found saffron inexpensively in the Latin American section!
KennaJune 8, 2018 at 9:35 am
This is an amazing recipe! I’ve made it many times and now that the weather is warmer, I cut the carrots out and turned it into a salad with barley and quinoa. So good and filling! My picky eater loves it too!
Jennifer TurnerDecember 11, 2019 at 5:54 pm
I found this recipe about 6 years ago and I have been making it every winter since! The spices are awesome! The only change I made was I swapped the chic peas for potatoes. I love to follow this meal with some mandarins for dessert. My winter staple for sure!
Lauren AntistaMarch 17, 2021 at 12:19 pm
Really delicious recipe! I added celery since I needed to use it up and the flavor was still out of this world! I would not have guessed that chickpeas and kale could be so tender and go so well together.