Soup Kitchen: Oaxaca Spicy Sopa de Garbanzo (Chickpea Soup)

We eat this delicious, rich and creamy soup at the home of our friends in Teotitlan del Valle.   Dolores, Federico’s wife, prepares it periodically for cena (late supper) accompanied by quesadillas.  With a cerveza (preferably Indio) we are in heaven.  At Las Granadas Bed and Breakfast, Josefina makes it for comida (lunch) as a first course served before the rice, beans and tamales.   I was reminded of it being one of my favorites this week when my friend and neighbor Kat brought a version to our women’s book club.  I’ve adapted here.

When finished, it should have the consistency of heavy cream.  But, no cream added!

Sopa de Garbanzo (Chickpea Soup)


2-1/2 lbs. dried organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

6 quarts water

1/4 cup olive oil

6 large garlic cloves, minced

1 T. dried red pepper flakes

1 large dried pasilla chile pepper, stemmed

1 stalk fresh rosemary or 2 t. dried whole rosemary

Juice of  2 large lemons

1 T. salt or more depending on taste

Optional:  1 cup chicken broth


8 quart stock pot, stainless steel (not aluminum)

10″ frying or sautee pan

Cuisinart or blender

Mixing bowl

Slotted spoon, long-handled wood spoon, soup ladle


Put dried garbanzo beans into stock pot.  Cover with water.  Bring to simmer, cover and continue cooking for 2-3 hours.  Note of caution: These beans take a LONG TIME to cook.  Leave yourself enough time.  I started cooking them in the evening, then turned by bean pot off and let them stand overnight.

Two-and-a-half pounds (+/-) of organic garbanzo beans cost me $1.79 per pound and the total cost came to $4.68.  If you are in a hurry, you can substitute pre-cooked and canned beans.

In a sautee pan, heat the olive oil over low heat.  Add pepper flakes, garlic, and dried pasilla chile pepper including seeds, breaking the chile into pieces as you add it.  I have fresh rosemary growing outside my kitchen door, so I just go out and snip off a stalk.  I added the whole stalk (about 8″ long).  You can use dried whole rosemary.  Turn burner up to medium.  Sautee peppery mixture until the garlic is just slightly browned and the pepper softens.

(Note about PASILLA: Also known as the chile negro. Literally “little raisin,” the pasilla is a dried chilaca chile. There is some confusion over the name of this chile in California and northern Mexico, the fresh poblano and its dried forms, the ancho and mulato, are referred to (mistakenly) as pasillas.)

In batches:  Remove cooked garbanzo beans with the slotted spoon and add to food processor or blender with enough of the liquid from the cooking broth to cover.  Add sauteed pepper mix.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into stock pot.  Continue procedure until all the beans and broth are blended.  Stir all mixture very well.  Add lemon juice and salt to taste.  Optional:  Add chicken broth for a richer flavor (of course, this alters the “vegetarian” state of the soup).

Yield:  8 quarts of soup.  Enough to eat all weekend, freeze, hold a potluck or give away!


2 responses to “Soup Kitchen: Oaxaca Spicy Sopa de Garbanzo (Chickpea Soup)