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Spinach and Chickpea Soup with Lemon and Smoked Paprika

Written By: Byron | February 6, 2024
A bowl of spinach and chickpea soup.

This spinach and chickpea soup with lemon, coriander, and smoked paprika is a delicious and healthy soup that combines traditional Spanish ingredients with a twist of lemon. We first tried a rendition of this when we went to a friend’s house for dinner. We both loved it and asked for the recipe. They found it on PureWow and it turns out it’s a recipe from Suzy Karadsheh (creator of The Mediterranean Dish).

We’ve kept most of the recipe true to the original but just made some slight changes like using smoked instead of sweet paprika, and subbing dried cilantro leaves instead of ground cilantro powder. We’ve also knocked up the spice profile with a little cayenne pepper, giving this recipe a nice warm kick without overpowering the other ingredients. 

This easy one-pot recipe has lots of tangy flavor from the lemon and fresh parsley, and also has a rich smokiness and heat from the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Served piping hot, this soup is best when garnished with lots of fresh chopped parsley (and optionally, grated Manchego cheese).

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Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

27 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Good on its own

Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals, to incredible Spanish dessert options too.

How to Make Spinach and Chickpea Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock 
  • 30oz. (900 grams) canned chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 packed cups of fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (for garnish)
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Grated Manchego cheese (optional as garnish)

Equipment

  • 1 large pot with lid (12-inch/30cm) 
  • Pan or pot for heating vegetable stock
  • Ladle 
  • Potato masher
A alrge bowl of chickpeas sists beside a bowl of spinach, onion, garlic, and some herbs and spices.

Method

  • Prepare and heat your vegetable stock. 
  • In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and brown onion (about 5 minutes). 
  • Add garlic and stir through. Cook until fragrant (around 1 minute).
  • Add the chickpeas, cumin, dried coriander, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper, and cook, stirring regularly for about 1 minute
  • Add around half of the vegetable stock, mix well, and season to taste. Simmer covered for around 10 minutes or until the chickpeas soften. 
  • Use a potato masher to loosely mash around ½ of the chickpeas. Add the remaining vegetable stock and simmer covered for another 5 minutes
  • Add the fresh spinach leaves and stir through until the leaves wilt (around 1-2 minutes). 
  • Remove from the heat, and add juice from 1 lemon. Mix well and serve with lots of fresh chopped parsley. 
  • To serve, add a few ladles worth into a bowl, then top with plenty of fresh chopped parsley, some shaved Manchego cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or wedge of lemon on the side.

Cooking notes: 

  • With ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, this dish is very mild and has only a small amount of heat. If you prefer more spicy, add more cayenne pepper, or add some fresh chopped birdseye chili. 
  • If you want a more tangy flavor, use fresh limes instead of lemon. 
  • Dried chickpeas can be used, but require additional preparation before they are suitable for cooking. Read the notes below on how to prepare dried chickpeas. 
  • We used fresh spinach leaves, but frozen spinach can be used.

    About this Spinach and Chickpea Soup Recipe

    This spinach and chickpea soup is something similar to Vietnamese Pho-style soup in that it’s made with a base of stewed vegetable ingredients, lots of tangy lemon, and fresh and dried herbs and spices. 

    The flavor profile of this soup is tangy and mildly spiced from the lemon, coriander, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika, with a distinctive earthy flavor from the cumin and chickpeas.

    Overall, this recipe is a super healthy, vegetarian soup that is similar to the classic Spanish Spinach with chickpeas recipe (Espinacas con garbanzos). If you like this, then the ingredients are nearly the same (minus the lemon and a couple of trades).

    Vegetarian or Vegan-Friendly Soup

    One of the best things about this soup is the combination of healthy vegetarian-friendly ingredients that are easy to find. The only ingredient that contains dairy is the Manchego cheese (garnish) and this option can be skipped to make an equally delicious vegan-friendly option. 

    It is fresher without the cheese so — as long as you eat cheese — you could go cheeseless for a summer recipe and add the cheese as a treat for winter!

    Dried or Canned Chickpeas

    We followed the original recipe and used canned or prepackaged chickpeas that were purchased from our local supermarket. They’re cheap and already prepared so they save a lot of time.

    If you’re using dried chickpeas, then allow some extra time to prepare the dried chickpeas.

    Follow the steps below to prepare dried chickpeas. 

    • First, soak the dried chickpeas in some clean fresh water overnight. The chickpeas will expand to around twice their size so add at least double the amount of water to the chickpeas in a large bowl. 
    • Next, drain them from the water and add them to a pan with some fresh water. 
    • Cook them for around 2 hours for them to soften up. Alternatively, use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to prepare your chickpeas.
    A bowl of spinach and chickpea soup.

    Chickpeas are Super Healthy!

    Besides tasting awesome, chickpeas are little mineral and protein superheroes! Chickpeas provide plenty of the nutrients we need. Here are some nutrition facts for chickpeas. 

    One cup of chickpeas provides: 

    • 269 calories.
    • 14 grams of protein.
    • 4 grams of fat.
    • 12 grams of dietary fiber.
    • 80 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
    • 4.74 mg of iron.
    • 78.7 mg of magnesium.

    As another bonus, chickpeas are also packed with carbohydrates that slowly release energy after eating them. This makes them very filling (giving you that full feeling without overeating) and they are healthy for your gut too. Win-win!

    Fresh Spinach

    Spinach is another superstar ingredient in this recipe that is not only super tasty but also very good for you! We use fresh spinach leaves for this recipe, but you can use frozen spinach as it is also incredibly healthy to include in your daily diet. Thanks to greenhouse cultivation, spinach is available year-round! 

    Here are a few of the health benefits of Spinach:

    • Spinach is rich in many nutrients the body needs: including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate, and potassium.
    • Spinach is high in insoluble fiber, aiding food to pass through your digestive system, and preventing constipation.

    Spinach is rich in several minerals including potassium. Studies have shown that eating foods that are high in potassium can help lower your blood pressure. 

    • Spinach is an excellent source of iron, allowing your body to produce hemoglobin. This helps move oxygen around your body and to your lungs, improving liveliness and reducing fatigue. 

    The nutrition facts for a 3.5 oz (100g) serving of raw spinach:

    • Calories: 23
    • Protein: 2.9 grams
    • Carbs: 3.6 grams
    • Sugar: 0.4 grams
    • Fiber: 2.2 grams
    • Fat: 0.4 grams

    Nutrition Facts

    Serving size: 300g

    Servings: 6

    Amount per serving

     

    Calories

    287

    % Daily Value*

    Total Fat 8.5g

    11%

    Saturated Fat 1.1g

    5%

    Cholesterol 0mg

    0%

    Sodium 55mg

    2%

    Total Carbohydrate 42.6g

    15%

    Dietary Fiber 12g

    43%

    Total Sugars 8.3g

     

    Protein 13.3g

     

    Vitamin D 0mcg

    0%

    Calcium 97mg

    7%

    Iron 5mg

    26%

    Potassium 543mg

    12%

    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    A bowl of spinach and chickpea soup.
    A bowl of spinach and chickpea soup.

    Spinach and Chickpea Soup with Lemon and Smoked Paprika

    Spinach and chickpea soup with lemon and smoked paprika is a delicious and healthy soup that combines traditional Spanish ingredients with a twist of lemon. Vegetarian and ready in under 30 minutes!
    5 from 1 vote
    Prep Time 2 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 27 minutes
    Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
    Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
    Servings 4 main
    Calories 287 kcal

    Equipment

    • 1 large pot with lid (12-inch/30cm)
    • Pan or pot for heating vegetable stock
    • Ladle
    • Potato masher

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups vegetable stock
    • 30 oz. 900 grams canned chickpeas
    • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion roughly chopped
    • 5 large garlic cloves minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 packed cups of fresh baby spinach
    • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
    • 1 lemon cut in half
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Grated Manchego cheese optional as garnish

    Instructions
     

    • Prepare and heat your vegetable stock.
      4 cups vegetable stock
    • In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and brown onion (about 5 minutes).
      3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 yellow onion
    • Add garlic and stir through. Cook until fragrant (around 1 minute).
      5 large garlic cloves
    • Add the chickpeas, cumin, dried coriander, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper, and cook, stirring regularly for about 1 minute.
      30 oz. 900 grams canned chickpeas, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried coriander, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Add around half of the vegetable stock, mix well, and season to taste. Simmer covered for around 10 minutes or until the chickpeas soften.
      Salt and pepper
    • Use a potato masher to loosely mash around ½ of the chickpeas. Add the remaining vegetable stock and simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
    • Add the fresh spinach leaves and stir through until the leaves wilt (around 1-2 minutes).
      2 packed cups of fresh baby spinach
    • Remove from the heat, and add juice from 1 lemon. Mix well and serve with lots of fresh chopped parsley.
      1 lemon, ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • To serve, add a few ladles worth into a bowl, then top with plenty of fresh chopped parsley, some shaved Manchego cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or wedge of lemon on the side.
      Grated Manchego cheese

    Video

    Notes

    Cooking notes: 

    • With ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, this dish is very mild and has only a small amount of heat. If you prefer more spicy, add more cayenne pepper, or add some fresh chopped birdseye chili. 
    • If you want a more tangy flavor, use fresh limes instead of lemon. 
    • Dried chickpeas can be used, but require additional preparation before they are suitable for cooking. Red the notes below on how to prepare dried chickpeas. 
    • We use fresh spinach leaves, but frozen spinach can be used.
    Recipe credit: 
    We first tried a rendition of this Spinach and chickpea soup recipe while visiting a friend’s house for dinner. We both loved it and asked for the recipe. They found it on PureWow and it turns out it’s a recipe from Suzy Karadsheh (creator of The Mediterranean Dish).

    Nutrition

    Serving: 300gCalories: 287kcalCarbohydrates: 42.6gProtein: 13.3gFat: 8.5gSaturated Fat: 1.1gSodium: 55mgPotassium: 543mgFiber: 12gSugar: 8.3gCalcium: 97mgIron: 5mg
    Keyword 30 minute recipe, Chickpea soup, chickpeas, Cilantro, Coriander, lemon, paprika, smoked paprika, spinach, Spinach and chickpea soup, Spinach and chickpeas, vegetarian

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