The Chickpea Soup

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This recipe was written and sent by Fabien Vallos.

This chickpea soup is as much a childhood memory as it is a way to bring together various flavors from the Mediterranean coast. The soup has, therefore, a taste of chilhood, as well as being a reconstruction. To that end, I added a bunch of mentuccia or nepitella, that I personally foraged during summertime, and which brings a deep and unique flavor to the soup.

Fabien Vallos

About the Chickpea Soup

The layers of the L'abeurador cave, where stocks of dried peas dating from the Mesolethic era (6800BC) were discovered.

The L’Abeurador cave in Southern France suggests that chickpeas have been cooked since the Mesolithic era (6800 BC). As archeobotanists suggested in the 1980’s, the cave could be a testimony of the way hunter-gatherers would have been gradually switching from foraging to a “soft agriculture” by sowing seeds around the cave. Stocks of dried peas, lentils, red peas and vetches were also found in the cave.

Interestingly enough, some of these peas, including chickpeas, were shown to originate from the Middle East, which started to be domesticated in 7000BC. How could they be found in France more than 200 years prior? It appears relatively inconceivable that they would have been carried away by the winds. The mystery stays intact…

Chickpeas are part of the Fabaceae plant family, also known for their nutrient fixating capabilities. Generally speaking, the cultivation of chickpeas has a relatively low impact on the environment with low carbon emissions per protein intake.

The recipe

Simmering the soup on a low heat


200g of chickpeas[1]

Half a carrot

Half a celery stalk

Half an onion

1 clove of garlic

1L of vegetable stock[2]

Some tomato flesh or purée

A bunch of foraged mentuccia or nepitella[3]

Dried oregano

Salt and pepper

A drizzle of olive oil


  • Soak the chickpeas in cold water to re-hydrate for at least 12 hours.
  • Thinly slice the carrot, celery and onion.
  • Add the vegetables to a saucepan and sweat in olive oil until glossy.
  • Add the chickpeas and cover with the vegetable broth.
  • Do not add salt at this point.
  • Throw in a the chopped herbs.
  • Simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve warm.

Related images


  1. It might be tricky for most European readers to get their hands on locally grown chickpeas, unless they come from southern European countries or neighboring countries of Russia. On the other hand, the search will be a piece of cake if you live in the US or any Asian country, not to mention India which represents half of the world’s production!
  2. For stock, check out Fanny Heneault’s recipe titled “The scraps stock” from the Soak until soft collection
  3. You can forage wild mint in most parts of the world from spring to summer. Mentuccia and nepitella are native to the coasts of the Mediterranean sea, however, any other type of mint will do the trick.