Journey with us as we explore a refreshing yet boldly flavorful summer delight from the heart of the Mediterranean—Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup.
This culinary gem is an exquisite blend of creamy chickpeas, nutty Tahini, and a vibrant lemon kick, designed to surprise and satisfy your palate. It’s more than just a soup; it’s a testament to the ingenuity of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Rooted in tradition and modern in its simplicity, this chilled concoction is the perfect antidote to sweltering summer days.
The nutritious chickpeas, packed with protein and fiber, join hands with Tahini, a rich source of antioxidants, to create a well-balanced, health-conscious dish.
Each spoonful bursts with fresh herbs and spices with an array of flavors and textures.
What Is Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup?
Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup is a chilled, creamy soup originating from the Middle East, particularly known in regions where chickpeas and Tahini are stapled ingredients.
The main components of the hash are chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds.
The soup typically begins with cooked and pureed chickpeas and Tahini, creating a smooth, creamy base.
Various other ingredients can be added for flavor, including garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and spices, often cumin and coriander. The soup is then chilled before serving.
The result is a refreshing, nutritious soup full of protein and fiber from the chickpeas, healthy fats and antioxidants from the Tahini and olive oil, and a wonderful depth of flavor from the garlic, lemon, and spices.
It’s a perfect dish for hot summer days and can be served as a starter or a light main course.
History Of Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup
While the exact history of Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup is hard to trace, it’s clear that its roots lie in the culinary traditions of the Middle East, where chickpeas and sesame seeds, the main ingredient in Tahini, have been dietary staples for centuries.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have a history of over 7,500 years. They were first cultivated in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions and remain a key component of the cuisine in these areas.
Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, also has a rich history in the Middle East. Sesame seeds were one of the first plants ever processed for oil, and Tahini has been used in cooking for thousands of years.
Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup is a relatively modern creation that leverages these ancient ingredients.
It’s a variation of more traditional hot chickpea soups, with the added cooling factor of being served chilled, making it a perfect dish for warmer climates and summer months.
It represents a blend of traditional and contemporary culinary practices, and the simplicity of its main ingredients allows for regional variations and adaptations.
Interesting Facts About Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup
- Nutrient-Rich: Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup is incredibly nutritious. Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, making this soup satisfying and filling, while Tahini, made from sesame seeds, is packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
- Cultural Fusion: Although primarily Middle Eastern, variations of this soup are enjoyed worldwide, illustrating the culinary impact of globalization. From the tables of New York to the cafés of Paris, it has found a home in many cultures.
- Seasonality: Unlike most soups that are typically warm during colder months, this cold soup is a refreshing and cool option for summer heat, breaking the traditional soup norms.
- Versatility: The basic recipe is like a canvas to which you can add your personal touch. Some versions might add fresh herbs, spices, a swirl of yogurt, or a drizzle of hot sauce for additional complexity.
- Vegan-Friendly: As a plant-based dish, this soup fits well into vegetarian and vegan diets, and it’s also naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with dietary restrictions.
What Makes Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup Special?
- Nutrient-Packed: The combination of chickpeas and Tahini makes this soup incredibly nutritious.
Chickpeas provide an excellent plant-based protein and fiber source, while Tahini contributes healthy fats, antioxidants, and many important vitamins and minerals.
- Versatile: The basic recipe is simple but can be easily adjusted to suit personal tastes or dietary requirements. Add more lemon for tartness, garlic for a bit of a bite, or play around with different herbs and spices.
You can even top it with your favorites, like roasted chickpeas, fresh herbs, or a drizzle of olive oil.
- Diet-Friendly: This soup is inherently vegan and gluten-free, making it a wonderful choice for people with dietary restrictions. Despite being a creamy soup, it does not contain any dairy.
- Unique Serving Style: Unlike traditional soups, usually served hot, this one is served cold, making it a refreshing choice for warm or hot summer months.
- Cultural Experience: Enjoying this soup isn’t just about savoring a dish; it’s about tasting a piece of the rich, ancient culinary traditions of the Middle East.
Each spoonful represents centuries of culinary evolution and cultural fusion.
|Olive oil||2 Tbsp|
|Garlic cloves, crushed||4|
|Ground cumin||2 tsp|
|Ground coriander||2 tsp|
|Vegetable or chicken broth||1-1/4 qts|
|Large Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped||2-3 cups|
|Chickpeas, drained and rinsed||15-oz can|
|Cornstarch or arrowroot||1 Tbsp|
|Shredded fresh spinach||3-1/2 cups|
|Cayenne pepper||1/2 tsp|
|Kosher salt||to taste|
|Fresh black pepper||to taste|
- Chickpeas: You can use canned chickpeas for convenience, but if you have the time, soaking and cooking dried chickpeas can give your soup a fresher taste and smoother texture.
- Tahini: Look for Tahini that only contains one ingredient: sesame seeds. The quality of Tahini can greatly affect the flavor of the soup. Also, stir your Tahini well before using, as separation is natural.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is the best for this recipe. It gives a much more vibrant and flavorful profile than pre-minced or powdered garlic.
- Lemon Juice: Using freshly squeezed lemon juice is highly recommended. It has a brighter, cleaner flavor than bottled juice.
- Olive Oil: Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil if possible. It can impart a richer and more nuanced flavor to the soup.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Spices: You can experiment with different spices to change the flavor profile. For instance, try adding turmeric for an earthy flavor and beautiful color or a dash of smoked paprika for a hint of smoky depth.
- Vegetables: You can add other pureed vegetables to the soup. For a different flavor and added nutrition, consider roasted red pepper or butternut squash.
- Yogurt Or Coconut Milk: If you want to adjust the soup’s creaminess without drastically altering the taste, you could add a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt (if you’re not strictly vegan) or a splash of coconut milk.
- Herbs: Mix up the spices for a new flavor experience. For example, fresh mint can add a refreshing twist, or basil can give it a slightly sweet, anise-like flavor.
- Protein: You could add more protein to make the soup more filling. Consider topping it with roasted chickpeas for some crunch, or for non-vegans, a handful of grilled shrimp or shredded chicken could be a great addition.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add crushed garlic and chopped onion, and sauté until fragrant.
- Stir in ground cumin and coriander, and cook for another minute.
- Add chopped potatoes and drained chickpeas in vegetable or chicken broth. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
- In a small bowl, mix cornstarch or arrowroot with half-and-half until smooth. Stir into the pot.
- Add Tahini, shredded spinach, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Cook until spinach wilts. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve hot, and enjoy!
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings For The Recipe
Variations And Add-Ons
- Spice Variations: Consider using spices like turmeric, smoked paprika, or chili powder to add a different flavor profile to your soup.
- Yogurt/Coconut Milk: To add creaminess and depth, stir in a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt (if not adhering to a vegan diet) or a splash of coconut milk.
- Additional Vegetables: Puree roasted red pepper, butternut squash, or even spinach, and add them to the soup for extra nutrition and a different flavor.
- Protein Add-Ons: Top your soup with grilled shrimp, shredded chicken (for non-vegans), or even tofu to add extra protein and make it more of a meal.
- Crunchy Toppings: Roasted chickpeas, croutons, toasted nuts, or seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower seeds) add a great crunch and contrast to the soup’s creaminess.
- Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, or mint for a new flavor.
- Vegetable Toppings: Add texture with diced cucumber, radishes, or tomatoes. These also contribute a refreshing element to the dish.
- Drizzles: A drizzle of good-quality olive oil, hot sauce, or even a swirl of extra Tahini can enhance the soup’s flavor.
- Cheese: If not adhering strictly to a vegan diet, crumbled feta or goat cheese can add a tangy, creamy element.
Scaling The recipe
To increase the recipe to a larger serving size, multiply all the ingredient quantities by the same factor.
For example, if you want to double the recipe, multiply each amount by 2. If you triple it, multiply each quantity by 3, and so on.
To decrease the recipe to a smaller serving size, divide all the ingredient quantities by the same factor.
For instance, if you want to halve the recipe, divide each amount by 2. If you reduce it to one-third, divide each quantity by 3, and so on.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Fresh Herbs: Parsley, cilantro, or even a few fresh mint leaves can add a refreshing note and a vibrant pop of color.
- Olive Oil: A drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil gives your soup a beautiful sheen and adds a rich, fruity flavor that complements the other ingredients perfectly.
- Seeds Or Nuts: Sprinkling lightly toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts on top can provide a delightful crunch and nuttiness.
- Spices: A light dusting of paprika, sumac, or za’atar can bring a warm, earthy flavor and a professional look.
- Lemon Zest: A bit of finely grated lemon zest can add a fresh and zesty note that pairs well with the soup’s other flavors.
- Diced Vegetables: Small pieces of diced cucumber, radish, or even cherry tomatoes can add a fresh crunch and a beautiful color contrast.
- Chickpeas: A few whole chickpeas (either cooked or roasted for a crunch) can remind people of the soup’s main ingredient and provide a nice visual touch.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and rinse thoroughly. If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them.
- Put the chickpeas in the slow cooker and cover with water or vegetable broth. You can add other flavorings, like a bay leaf, onion, garlic, or carrot.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chickpeas are tender.
- Once the chickpeas are cooked, remove added flavorings like the bay leaf, onion, or carrot. Blend the chickpeas with the other ingredients like Tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil until smooth, adding water or broth to reach your desired consistency.
- Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
- If using dried chickpeas, rinse them thoroughly. There’s no need to soak them overnight as the Instant Pot will cook them quickly. If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them.
- Place the chickpeas in the Instant Pot and cover with water or vegetable broth. Add other flavorings if desired.
- Cover and cook on high pressure for around 50 minutes if using dried chickpeas or just a few minutes if using canned.
- Once the chickpeas are cooked, remove any added flavorings. Blend the chickpeas with the other ingredients until smooth, adding water or broth as needed.
- Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Can I Use Store-Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
You can use store-bought broth in your Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup. It’s a great way to add flavor without the extra work of making your own.
When shopping for broth, look for low-sodium options so you have more control over the salt level in your soup. Also, check for any unwanted additives or preservatives on the ingredient list.
That said, making your broth can result in a deeper, richer flavor tailored to your taste.
Homemade broths also give you control over every ingredient in your soup, which can be beneficial if you follow a specific diet or have dietary restrictions. You can make broth in large quantities and freeze it for future use.
Can I Use A Different Type Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetable For The Soup?
- Meat: For a non-vegan version, you could top the soup with slices of grilled chicken, pieces of roast beef, or even crumbled bacon for a smoky flavor. Just cook the meat separately and add it just before serving.
- Fish: Grilled or poached fish like salmon or shrimp can be used as a topping for the soup. It adds a nice contrast and makes the dish more filling. Again, cook the fish separately and add it just before serving.
- Pasta: If you want to add pasta, smaller shapes like orzo, ditalini, or small shell pasta would work best. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, then rinse it under cold water until it’s completely cool before adding it to the soup.
- Vegetables: Add vegetables to the soup for extra texture and flavor. Consider adding diced cucumber, bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes. Roasted vegetables like red peppers or zucchini can also be blended into the soup for a different flavor profile.
Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For The Recipe
- Use good quality olive oil for a rich flavor in the soup.
- Ensure the garlic is properly crushed to release its full flavor.
- Sauté the onions until they are translucent for added sweetness.
- Toast the ground cumin and coriander briefly to enhance their aroma.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, including cayenne pepper, to suit your spice preference.
- Garnish with fresh herbs or a tahini drizzle for an extra flavor touch.
- Plan Ahead: If you’re using dried chickpeas, remember to soak them overnight before cooking.
- Prepare Ingredients: Have all your ingredients measured and ready before starting. This makes the cooking process smoother and more enjoyable.
- Quality Tahini: The tahini quality can significantly impact your soup’s flavor. Look for brands with a smooth, creamy consistency and a fresh, nutty flavor.
- Fresh Produce: Use fresh lemons and garlic for the best flavor. Freshly squeezed lemon juice and newly minced or pressed garlic have a brighter, more vibrant flavor than bottled or pre-minced versions.
Cooking Time Tips
- Cooking Chickpeas: If using dried chickpeas, they will need to be cooked until tender. This can take 1 to 2 hours on the stovetop or 6 to 8 hours in a slow cooker on low.
- Blending Soup: After the chickpeas are cooked and adding the Tahini, lemon juice, and other flavorings, you must blend everything until smooth. This can take a few minutes, depending on your blender. Be sure to incorporate the soup thoroughly for a creamy, smooth texture.
- Chilling Time: This soup needs to be chilled before serving. Chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours for the best flavor and consistency. You can also make it a day ahead and let it chill overnight.
- Adjusting Thickness: After chilling, the soup may thicken slightly. If it’s too thick, stir in a little water or vegetable broth until it reaches your desired consistency.
The nutritional values of the recipe can provide a general understanding of its components. With approximately 380 calories per serving, it offers a balanced combination of macronutrients.
The soup contains 16g of total fat, 3g being saturated fat, and 6mg of cholesterol. It also provides 50g of carbohydrates, including 9g of dietary fiber and 5g of sugar. With 12g of protein, it contributes to a satisfying meal.
Remember that these values are approximate and may vary depending on specific ingredients and portion sizes.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
- Chickpeas: One cup of cooked chickpeas is about 269 calories. If you use 2 cups for the entire soup, that’s approximately 538 calories.
- Tahini: One tablespoon of Tahini is around 89 calories. If you use 1/4 cup (about 4 tablespoons) in the soup, that’s approximately 356 calories.
- Olive Oil: One tablespoon of olive oil contains about 119 calories. If you use two tablespoons in the soup, that’s approximately 238 calories.
- Lemon Juice: One tablespoon of lemon juice is about 4 calories. If you use the juice of one medium lemon (about 2 tablespoons), that’s approximately 8 calories.
Dietary Restrictions For The Recipe
- Vegan And Vegetarian: The soup is typically vegan, as it’s made with plant-based ingredients like chickpeas, Tahini (made from sesame seeds), and lemon juice.
- Gluten-Free: The soup is generally gluten-free, assuming all the ingredients used, including the Tahini and any broths, are certified gluten-free.
- Nut-Free: While the soup is nut-free, those with severe allergies should note that sesame seeds (from Tahini) can cause allergic reactions in some people and are considered a major allergen in some countries.
Health Benefits Of The Recipe
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, which can aid in digestion and help you feel fuller for longer.
They also contain essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, and magnesium.
- Tahini: Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is another great source of plant-based protein. It’s also rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats and a variety of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, associated with reduced inflammation and heart disease risk. It also contains antioxidants that can fight oxidative stress.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that boosts immune health, aids iron absorption, and promotes skin health.
- Garlic: Garlic is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also contains allicin, which can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Use No-Salt-Added Or Low-Sodium Broth: A significant amount of sodium can come from the broth used in the soup. Opt for no-salt-added or low-sodium versions.
- Rinse Canned Chickpeas: If you’re using canned chickpeas, rinse them thoroughly under running water. This can remove a significant amount of the added sodium.
- Limit Added Salt: Be mindful of how much salt you add during cooking. You can use herbs and spices to add flavor without relying too heavily on salt.
- Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh ingredients like garlic and lemon juice instead of their pre-packaged or powdered counterparts, which often contain added sodium.
- Homemade Tahini: Consider making your Tahini at home to control the salt added.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Check Your Tahini: Some store-bought tahini brands may contain added sugars. Check the label to ensure you purchase a brand with no added sugars.
- Beware Of Broths: Some broths can contain added sugars, so always read the ingredient list if you’re using store-bought broth.
- Skip Sweet Toppings: Toppings like caramelized onions or certain types of roasted nuts may contain added sugars. If you’re adding toppings to your soup, stick to unsweetened options.
- Avoid Sweetened Bread: If you plan to serve your soup with bread on the side, choose bread without added sugars.
- Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Pre-packaged lemon juice can sometimes contain added sugars. Stick to fresh lemons for this recipe.
How To Serve The Soup At Its Best?
- Chill Well: This soup is meant to be served cold. Chilling it well in the refrigerator before serving – at least 2 hours, though overnight chilling may yield even better results.
- Adjust Consistency: The soup may thicken up while chilling. If it’s too thick, stir in cold water or vegetable broth to achieve your desired consistency.
- Season To Taste: Before serving, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or Tahini to hit the right balance of flavors.
- Garnish: A little garnish can make a big difference not only in presentation but also in taste. Consider topping the soup with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, a dollop of Tahini, some fresh herbs like parsley, or even some roasted chickpeas for a bit of crunch.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
- Fresh Bread: A warm pita, baguette, or loaf of crusty sourdough bread is perfect for dipping into the soup and soaking up its flavors.
- Salads: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette or a Mediterranean-inspired salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta can provide a refreshing contrast to the creamy soup.
- Grilled Or Roasted Vegetables: Eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, or tomatoes can be seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then roasted or grilled for a side dish that complements the soup’s rich flavors.
- Grain Dishes: A side of couscous, quinoa, or bulgur wheat would pair well with the soup, especially if mixed with herbs and a light dressing.
- Protein: For a non-vegan option, you could serve the soup with grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp for a complete, balanced meal.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Be sure to keep it in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
If you’d like to prepare the soup ahead of time for future meals, it can also be frozen. To freeze the soup, let it cool completely, then store it in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
The hash can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months for the best quality.
To defrost the soup, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. If the soup has separated during freezing, a quick whisk or a short blitz in the blender should restore its creamy consistency.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
- Prepare The Soup: Follow your recipe to prepare the soup, then let it cool.
- Store Properly: Transfer the soup to an airtight container once it has cooled.
- Refrigerate: Store the soup in the refrigerator. It should keep well for 3-4 days.
- Serve: When you’re ready to serve the soup, give it a good stir, as it may have thickened slightly in the refrigerator.
You can add a bit of water or vegetable broth to thin it if needed.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Dip: If the soup has thickened in the refrigerator, it can be used as a dip for raw veggies or pita bread.
- Sauce: Use the soup for grilled vegetables, roasted meats, or grain bowls. It pairs particularly well with Mediterranean flavors.
- Pasta Salad Dressing: Thin the soup with olive oil and vinegar to make a creamy dressing for pasta salads.
- Sandwich Spread: Use it as a creamy sandwich spread, particularly in wraps or falafel sandwiches.
- Chickpea Salad: If you have a small leftover soup, toss it with some whole chickpeas, chopped veggies, and herbs to make a chickpea salad.
Special Tools And Equipment Needed
- Blender Or Food Processor: This is the most important tool for this recipe. A high-powered blender or food processor will ensure your soup is smooth and creamy.
- Sharp Knife: Finely chop the garlic and any garnishes you use.
- Cutting Board: For chopping the garlic and garnishes.
- Juicer Or Citrus Squeezer: This is optional but can make it easier to juice the lemon.
- Serving Bowls: Ideally, you’ll want shallow bowls to serve this soup. This style of dishware helps maintain the soup’s cool temperature.
- Ladle Or Soup Spoon: For serving the soup.
- Airtight Container: For storing any leftover soup in the fridge or freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Dried Chickpeas Instead Of Canned Ones?
Yes, you can use dried chickpeas instead of canned ones. However, you’ll need to soak them overnight and cook them until they are soft, adding extra time to the preparation.
One cup of dried chickpeas will yield approximately 3 cups when cooked, about the same as two 15-ounce cans.
I’m Not A Fan Of Tahini. Can I Replace It With Something Else?
You can substitute Tahini with nut or seed butter like almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter. However, each will impart a different flavor to the soup.
If you’re allergic to sesame but want to keep the flavor profile, try a sesame-free tahini alternative, usually made from sunflower seeds.
Is This Soup Suitable For A Vegan Diet?
Yes, this Cold Chickpea Tahini Soup is suitable for a vegan diet. It’s made with plant-based ingredients like chickpeas, Tahini, garlic, and vegetable broth.
The Soup Has Become Thick After Chilling. What Should I Do?
If the soup has thickened too much in the refrigerator, you can thin it out with more cold water or vegetable broth. Stir well to combine.
Can I Heat The Soup To Avoid Consuming It Cold?
While this soup is traditionally served cold, it can also be warmed up. Transfer the quantity you want to heat to a saucepan and warm over low heat until it reaches your desired temperature. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent the soup from sticking to the pan.
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