Revithosoupa / ρεβιθόσουπα is one of my very favorite meals. It’s ready in a quick hour and a half and is a staple of traditional Greek home cooks everywhere. And seriously, every time I make this dish the delicate, creamy broth amazes me with each spoonful!
Simply prepared with simple ingredients, revithosoupa – accent on the THO – is a hearty, healthy dish that will warm you through. And this delicious (gluten free!) authentic chickpea soup with carrots, celery, sage and thyme cooks up all in one pot for easy cleanup!
The sweet veggies are a nice balance to the more earthy herbs and the olive oil brings everything together beautifully. Chop your vegetables into pretty small pieces – ideally you’re aiming for at least 2 pieces of veggie in every spoonful. I do peel my carrots here but not the celery, and use white as opposed to red onions. I’ve also had this dish with leeks instead of onions but not my fav to be honest. Totally up to your preference, peel or not to peel – I’ve learned that some people have strong feelings about peeling!
And, traditionally, celery leaves are used in this dish and not parsley. I sub in parsley because it’s often hard to always get celery with the leaves still on the stalks and even then, it’s tricky to get a full cup of leaves from one bunch of celery. Some people will substitute cilantro here for the celery leaves but I think cilantro is way to overpowering to the rest of the dish and completely throw off the whole balance of the soup – can you tell I’m anti cilantro here?? The parsley has just enough barely bitter brightness that comes right through and perfectly complements the other flavors and that’s just what we’re looking for.
I like to use dried chickpeas that are already peeled for this dish. 3Alpha brand straight from Greece is my first choice and available at most Greek/Mediterranean markets and, most conveniently!, online. Ordinary dried chickpeas are fine too, just add an additional half hour to the chickpea cooking time and you’ll be good to go on with the recipe as written. The peeled dried chickpeas cut down on your cooking time by a half hour or so which may or may not be a big deal to you but I love to save a few minutes when I know it won’t affect the flavor 🙂
Two keys to the super-wonderful creamy, golden broth:
- 1) mixing in the foam that forms when chickpeas boil instead of skimming it off
- 2) adding a bit of arrowroot flour (or AP flour) to thicken broth ever so slightly
These steps transform this dish from a regular soup to a real meal. And please don’t be put off by the arrowroot. Arrowroot flour is easy to find in just about any grocery store in the spice aisle. I like the Bob’s Red Mill brand here and there are plenty of other good ones readily available. It’s a traditional thickener and naturally gluten free. And if you want to use all purpose flour instead, go right ahead. The results will be fine, I promise.
And re: the chickpea foam, by not skimming off the chickpea foam that automatically boils up as they cook, you keep more of the protein AND give a fantastic lightness to the broth. Win win! Just gently stir in the foam as it forms on top of the boiling chickpeas. You’ll be chopping your veggies then and probably near the stove anyway so no extra work involved. This simple step really makes a big difference in your finished dish.
Adding your olive oil towards the end of your cooking time may seem a bit odd but it works in a great way. It may also seem like a generous amount of olive oil but don’t skimp here, it’s JUST the right amount to add to the creaminess of the broth and not one bit greasy! All the steps below are easy but important so follow them as written for best results 🙂
- 1 cup dried (preferably peeled) chickpeas
- 8 cups (2 qts) water (with an additional 4 cups set aside)
- 4 dried sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped white onions
- 3 tsps salt
- 1 1/2 tsps black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup parsley (or celery leaves)
- 4 large thyme stems
- 2 tbsps arrowroot flour (or AP flour)
- optional: 3 tbsp lemon juice
Cook dried chickpeas in 8 cups of water with sage and bay leaves at a low boil for 1 hour. Gently stir in any foam that rises to the top while cooking.
While chickpeas are on the stove, chop carrots, celery, onions and parsley.
At 1 hour, chickpeas should have boiled off most of the water so add an additional 4 cups of water to the pot. Chickpeas should be firm but squash if you pinch them. At the same time, add in all of your chopped veggies with the salt and pepper, keeping the chopped parsley and thyme stems aside for now. Cook on low boil for 20 minutes.
Add oil, parsley and thyme stems. Stir and remove 1 cup of hot broth into small bowl. Add 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or all purpose flour) to the small bowl of hot broth and stir until completely dissolved. Add broth back to the pot and stir well to incorporate. Continue to cook soup for 10 more minutes. When ready, chickpeas and vegetables should be tender, not mushy, and broth should be a creamy golden yellow. Remember to remove sage/bay leaves and thyme stems before serving!!
Serve from the stove with a nice crusty bread. Note: a thin skin may form over the top of this soup if left for a bit – just give it a quick stir to incorporate back into the soup. And feel free to add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice to your bowl or add in the optional 3 tbsp of lemon juice to the pot when cooking is done. For a pretty presentation, garnish with lemon zest and fresh thyme leaves.
Serves 6 with a total cooking time of 1 1/2 hours from start to positively wonderful soup 🙂