The Kate soup experiment, day 4: falafel soup

Photo: Kate Bernot
Photo: Kate Bernot

All this week, The Takeout staff writer Kate Bernot is attempting to turn her favorite dishes into soup.


In the doldrums of winter when the whole outside world is the color of newsprint, I’ve been craving something bright. But it’s winter, and fresh produce—unless it’s shipped from halfway around the world—isn’t abundant. I wondered if this wouldn’t be a good reason to soup-ify a sunny, herbaceous dish I love: falafel.

Canned chickpeas don’t go out of season, and I can still get parsley and lemon from the grocery store. A quick Google of “falafel soup” recipes led me to this recipe from the blog She Likes Food, which I modified into the one you’ll find below.

Since texture is half the appeal of falafel, I decided to add a bit of crunch with some baked chickpeas (you could also pan-fry them in olive oil) as a garnish. Between the slightly chunky soup, the smooth hummus topping, and some crispy chickpeas, I figured I’d cover the full spectrum of chickpea textures.

Falafel soup

Makes two generous servings

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp (or more) Sriracha
  • Squeezed juice of a quarter lemon

  • parsley
  • hummus or tahini
  • crispy chickpeas
  • pita bread
  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until softening.
  2. Add garlic and chickpeas, stir together. Cook for two minutes.
  3. Add the next six spices and herbs, stir for one minute.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in sriracha to your desired spice level; ditto for lemon juice.
  6. Garnish with more chopped parsley, a dollop of hummus, crispy chickpeas and serve with toasted pita bread.

This probably goes without saying, but if you’re going to make this soup, you’d better really like chickpeas. They’re not especially flavorful on their own, but they’re the primary ingredient in this recipe, which is only kicked up by the cumin, paprika, etc.

The soup did replicate the falafel flavor profile: a little earthy spice, some bright citrus, fresh herbal notes. It was sunny but still hearty and winter-appropriate, especially when lapped up with whole-wheat pita bread. Texturally, the soup base had the same stick-to-your-ribs quality of a pea soup, but it doesn’t involve the addition of cream or butter. You could even make this vegan but subbing vegetable broth. I think the only improvement I’d make next time would be to substitute plain Greek yogurt for the hummus as a garnish, as little tanginess could be welcome. I also think you could use any sort of chili paste, not just Sriracha, for kick.


Overall, this soup was solid but not especially memorable. I wasn’t disappointed, but it also wouldn’t be one that I’d rush to make again. The variations in textures was really nice, and if you’re a chickpea fan, you should try it out.

This concludes the Kate soup experiment (for now), but of course I’ll still be whipping up soups in my free time. If you have a must-try recipe for me, leave it the comments please!




Oh I do: Split Pea. My favorite recipe is this one from Cook’s Illustrated, although I make a couple of substitutions: for the smoked bone-in picnic ham I use 2.5 lbs of smoked ham hocks; not because I don’t like the flavor profile of the picnic ham but because a smoked bone-in picnic ham is INCREDIBLY hard to find, while everyone has ham hocks. I discard the hocks after I make the stock because as near as I can tell the only people who actually eat smoked ham hocks are old black people like my grandparents, may God rest their pig feet, chitlin’s eating pork-loving souls. My mom would use them to flavor greens, but eat them? Nah. I also borrow from another cook’s recipe and add eight ounces of iced ham from a ham steak in lieu of the meat from the picnic ham. I also increased the carrots by half, and while it sounded weird I totally enjoyed the addition of the diced onion and a drop or two of balsamic. I’ve loved split pea soup since I was a kid, although I harbor a rather intense dislike of peas in most other contexts. Give it a shot; it’s easy and delicious. If you’re interested and don’t have a Cook’s Illustrated membership I’d be happy to screen shot and send you a copy of the recipe.