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Revithosoupa / Greek Chickpea Soup

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creamy, golden, delicious revithosoupa - traditionally vegan Greek chickpea soup

creamy, golden, delicious revithosoupa – traditionally vegan Greek chickpea soup

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!

chopped carrots, celery and onions make a sweet broth base

chopped carrots, celery and onions make a sweet broth base

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.

chopped parsley and thyme stems

chopped parsley and thyme stems

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 🙂

3Alpha peeled dried chickpeas

3Alpha peeled dried chickpeas

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 🙂

a hearty, healthy, positively wonderful bowl of traditional Greek chickpea soup

a hearty, healthy, positively wonderful bowl of traditional Greek chickpea soup

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16 Responses to Revithosoupa / Greek Chickpea Soup

  1. Joann Ianniello October 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks for sharing about peeled chick peas! Never knew this product existed. Would be great ingredient for those who make their own hummus. Really enjoy your site. Luckily, I have grown up in an area where Greek food and shops are abundant. Thanks for bringing joy to my day 🙂

  2. Marissa October 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Made this tonight, it was delicious! 🙂 I used 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme in place of the thyme stems and that worked out well.

  3. Amanda October 12, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    That looks wonderful!

  4. Annisya October 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Making this tonight!! Does it make any difference to soak the chickpeas beforehand?

    • Kiki October 12, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

      I don’t soak them ahead with this recipe and it’s fine 🙂

  5. Ronya October 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    I just made revithosoupa, it’s truly delicious. I doubled the recipe with the exception of salt I used 3 tsp, also did not have dried sage instead I used fresh and for the olive oil I stuck to the half cup.
    Thank you Kiki!

  6. Manda October 12, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    OH MY!! That looks so good, I’m making it tomorrow. I didn’t know about the peeled chickpeas either, so I’m curious to try it. Your soups are always great, in fact I make the lentil soup often:)

  7. Deeya Pavelle October 13, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    cannot wait to try this! Can you use canned chickpeas?

    • Kiki October 16, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

      I’ve never tried it with canned chickpeas to be honest and hate to give suggestions on something I can’t say firsthand 🙁
      I will, though, experiment with canned chickpeas in the next couple weeks and report back here with the results!

      • Don duMas April 5, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

        You sure “can” Kiki. I regularly make it with 2 15oz cans of garbanzo beans and a 15 oz can of chicken stock. I just throw the beans in the pot along with the packing liquid and I agree that it makes the soup smoother. Is it the same? No, but it’s a VERY close second and can be put together in nothing flat: (30 mins pantry to table)
        I fell in love with it living in Crete in the early 70’s. In the winter, when the lemons are not quite ready, the villagers season it with a spoonful of vinegar and LOTS of oil at the table. They also make it with garlic and a handful of rice for a thickener instead of flour.

  8. Julia Rapini October 17, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Is chana dal the same as peeled dried chickpeas ?. The store near me sells Chana Dal, but not the product you show in the photo. Thank-you

    • Kiki October 17, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

      Chana dal are peeled chickpeas and should work well here. i would suggest though that you consider cutting down the initial cooking time. might be safe to check chickpeas for doneness at 30 minutes and then at 10 minute intervals. this is because split legumes have a tendency to cook faster 🙂 would love to hear how it goes!

  9. Mimi October 26, 2016 at 1:41 am #

    This recipe made such a delicious dinner for our family. I only had canned chickpeas, so I made the broth with the vegetables, then added the chickpeas about 10 minutes before the end of cooking. It was delicious! I was also lucky enough to have a big bunch of biodynamic celery with lots of lovely green leaves in the fridge. The celery leaves gave the soup a beautiful flavour. Thank you for this post!

  10. Tracy October 30, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    This was SO GOOD! I made it while we were visiting grandma, and she liked it, too.

  11. julia scanlon November 18, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    I served this to my carnivorous son and he said it was good- he has only 3 words for food and good means very tasty mum you can cook this again!

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