Vegetarian Chickpeas Soup with Sofrito

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My friend, LisaMarie Burford, taught me how to make this Spanish style chickpeas soup with sofrito.  Her neighbor made her some with meat in it but she made hers in a vegetarian version.  I love how it is naturally sweet without the need to add sugar! This chickpeas soup contains one of my favorite herb, culantro (ngo gai).

Prep time: two days; 8 hours

Cook time: 2.5 hour

Serving:  This recipe makes about 6 quarts.


For the sofrito: 

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1/2 a garlic bulb

1 yellow onion

1 bunch culantro (sawtooth herb/ngo gai – at least 1 cup)

For the chickpeas soup: 

1.75 to 2 lb of chickpeas soup (16 oz equals 1 lb)

1 gal water (about 2.5 L)

1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes

4 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)

3 red potatoes (almost 1 lb)

5 carrots (1 lb)

1/2 tsp oregano

1.5+ Tbsp salt

chopped cilantro


Day 1:

1.  Rinse and soak the chickpeas overnight (at least 8 hours).

2. Prep the vegetables in advance. Cut the red potatoes on day 2 though.

3.  Make the sofrito.  Blend the following ingredients in a processor and store it in the fridge.

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 cup of chopped culantro (sawtooth herb/ngo gai)

Day 2:

4.  Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, drain and rinse the chickpeas.

5.  Boil chickpeas for two hours (don’t stir because the chickpeas skin will fall off).  Cover the pot with a lid and simmer over medium heat. I cooked it on #4 for 90 minutes, then #5 heat setting for 30 minutes on my GE Spectra stove. Liquid should not be boiling hard, but rather a bubbly light constant boil.

6.  Take about 2/3 cup of sofrito and simmer it with the 1.5 to 2 tablespoon of salt for fifteen minutes on medium-low heat. Note:  Only simmer the sofrito when you are going to use it.  The unused sofrito in the jar can be kept in the fridge for the next time you use it.

7.  After two hours of simmering the chickpeas, it is now time to add in the carrots, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, diced tomatoes, simmered sofrito, and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.   Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat (# 5 or 6) with constant light boil.  I covered pot with the lid.

8.  Turn off stove and add in the cilantro. Serve. Enjoy!

Note:  Do NOT freeze this soup because the chickpeas will become mushy.

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