Looking for an easy and delicious chickpea stew recipe? Look no further than this hearty Chickpea Stew With Orzo And Greens! Packed with protein, a light, lemon flavor and a handful of shredded parmesan, this dish is perfect for any season. This chickpea orzo soup is a great vegetarian recipe and can be made in under 30 minutes.
You may not think of spring as “soup season”, but we’ve been falling in love with this easy chickpea stew recipe based on Melissa Clark's version from the New York Times (Original: Chickpea Stew With Orzo And Mustard Greens). It’s a surprise stunner, and with just a few adjustments, this soup has been on repeat at our house and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
I believe soup is actually an unsung hero during the spring. Lighter soups are perfect for using up in-season early spring vegetables. Plus, adding fresh herbs to the broth really adds tons of flavor without weighing you down. And trust me, one bite of this delicious lemony orzo chickpea soup will leave you wide-eyed, slurping with abandon until you finish every last drop. Don't forget a great crusty bread to soak up the broth!
Why I Love This Recipe
- Healthy. This easy soup recipe uses really fresh ingredients that are light and give the soup a nice bright flavor. Packed with a smattering of veggies and herbs, It’s a great soup when the weather starts to turn warmer since it won’t leave you hungry, but won't make you feel like you’ve been weighed down by a big bowl of a heartier soup, like chili.
- Quick and Easy. This chickpea orzo soup is so easy to make! It takes just a few minutes to prep (you only have to chop up a few things) and cooks in less than 30 minutes. It’s the perfect meatless weeknight meal.
- Vegetarian. We’ve been trying to eat less meat lately and this vegetarian chickpea stew is the perfect thing to fill us up. The chickpeas and orzo add some heft to the soup and are very filling - you won’t miss the meat a bit! (Although if you must, ground turkey or so bits of a roast chicken would be a lovely addition.)
Ingredients For This Lemony Orzo Bean Stew
Here’s what you’ll need to make this chickpea stew with orzo and greens.
- Carrots. Chopped carrots give this soup a bit of sweetness.
- Fennel. I love fennel for its licorice flavor but if you don’t have it (or aren’t partial to it like I am) celery will serve as a fine substitute.
- Onion and garlic. This aromatic duo gives this lemony soup tons of flavor.
- Chickpeas. Of course, you can’t have a chickpea stew without chickpeas. I love this delightful little bean since it provides some nice weight to the soup and has a generally mild, nutty flavor. (And, if you can’t find “chickpeas” in the grocery store, they often go by their Spanish name, “garbanzo beans”.) I used canned chickpeas here to make it easy but if you want a bit more flavor and texture, you could use dried and just soak them overnight.
- Broth. The original recipe said you could use chicken or veggie broth. I used all veggie broth, and am glad I did. I think using just water wouldn’t have given the soup as much flavor.
- Cherry Tomatoes. These provide a tiny touch of acid to the chickpea tomato stew and give it a nice bright red pop of color.
- Any other veggie you’d like to toss in. Literally. I had a spare zucchini hanging out in my fridge so I chopped it up and threw it in at the last minute and it was a great addition. But experiment a bit here with different options. A chopped sweet potato would also be nice here I think. This is a nice “clean out the fridge” type of soup.
- Fresh Rosemary. Those delicious lemony pine aromas of rosemary give this orzo bean soup some great spring flavors.
- Greens of your choice. The original NYTimes chickpea stew used mustard greens, which I really did try hard to find. But these suckers simply don’t exist in my local grocery stores at the moment so I landed on some rainbow Swiss chard. I think spinach, kale, or arugula would also be great options. I’m going to keep an eye out for mustard greens at my local farmers market this summer so I’ll give you all an update if I make this again with those.
- Parmesan. You’ll want to go heavy-handed with the shredded parmesan when you serve this orzo soup - the salty cheese pairs excellently with this Tuscan chickpea stew. I also threw in a small rind of parmesan while the soup was cooking and thought it added some nice flavor.
- Lemon. A generous spritz of fresh lemon juice when serving gives this soup a nice bright flavor.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
Don't have all the ingredients for this garbanzo bean stew on hand? No worries! As with many soup recipes, this one is easy, customizable, and adaptable. Here are some potential substitutions:
- Carrots. Carrots add a subtle sweetness and color to the soup. But, if you don't have carrots, you can use any other root vegetable, such as parsnips or sweet potatoes.
- Fennel. If you don't like the taste of fennel, you can omit it or use celery instead.
- Onion and garlic. These are essential ingredients for the base of the stew, but you can adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.
- Red pepper flakes: Feel free to omit the red pepper flakes if you’re not crazy about spice.
- Rosemary. Any other fresh or dried herbs can be used instead, such as thyme or oregano.
- Vegetable broth. You can use chicken broth if you prefer (just note that it will no longer be vegetarian!)
- Parmesan rind. This adds a depth of flavor, but if you don't have it, you can omit it.
- Chickpeas. Any other type of beans or legumes can be used instead, such as cannellini beans or lentils.
- Cherry tomatoes. You can use any other type of tomato (cherry tomatoes are just so easy to halve and throw in! In a pinch, you could even use diced or crushed canned tomatoes.
- Zucchini. I threw this in at the last minute, but as I said above, feel free to sup it out with any other veggie.
- Orzo. Any other type of pasta can be used instead, such as farfalle or penne.
- Greens. If you have a hard time finding mustard greens like I did and don’t have rainbow chard, spinach is a super easy and readily available substitute that cooks quickly. Kale, or even collard greens would also be good options for this chickpea stew. Just remember these greens are a bit tougher, so you may need to toss them into the soup a bit earlier to ensure they have enough cooking time.
- Parmesan cheese. Parmesan is my favorite topper for this soup, but if you don’t have it, pecorino romano would be a good second choice.
How to make this Chickpea Stew With Orzo And Greens
This chickpea orzo soup is super easy to make and is ready in under 30 minutes!
- Sautee. Sautee the carrots, fennel, and onion in a large pot for about 5-7 minutes, or until the carrots have softened and the onions start to turn translucent. Add in your garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary, and cook for a couple of minutes more.
- Boil. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Then add the parmesan rind, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and orzo. Reduce the heat and simmer until the orzo is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the greens. Add the greens to the chickpea stew and simmer until they are soft. (These cook quickly so keep an eye on them - they only need about 2 minutes). Add 2-3 cups of additional broth (depending on how soupy you like your soup!) and season everything with salt and pepper.
- Add your toppings! Top the soup with chopped scallions, a squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of shredded parmesan cheese, and serve.
Can I make this chickpea stew with orzo and greens ahead of time? Yes! This soup is an easy one to make ahead. In fact, a night in the fridge gives this soup more time for the flavors to meld together. I think it tastes even better the next day.
How do I reheat the chickpea soup? Simply place the soup in a pot over medium heat. You may need to add a bit more broth, or water, as the pasta and beans tend to soak it up after it’s sat for a bit.
How long does this orzo soup last? This soup will last 4-5 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze the soup? Unfortunately, the process of freezing, thawing, and reheating this soup doesn’t really work well, given the tenderness of the veggies, pasta, and chickpeas.
Allow your stew to come to room temperature and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
If you try this Chickpea Stew With Orzo and Greens, please let me know what you think in the comments! And don't forget to tag me on Instagram @frontrangefed!
More Easy Weeknight Recipes
Looking for other 30-minute recipes? Try these!
Chickpea Stew With Orzo And Greens
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- ½ parmesan rind
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- ½ cup orzo
- 1 qt loosely packed greens (mustard greens, kale, or swiss chard are all great options)
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped scallions for garnish
- squeeze of lemon juice
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, fennel and onion and saute for about 5-7 minutes, or until the carrots have softened and the onions start to turn translucent. Add in your garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary, and cook for a couple minutes more.
- Add 4-5 cups of the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Then add the parmesan rind, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and orzo. Reduce the heat and simmer until the orzo is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the greens to the pot and simmer until they are soft. (These cook quickly so keep an eye on them - they only need about 2 minutes). Add 1-2 cups of additional broth (depending on how soupy you like your soup!) and season everything with salt and pepper.
- Serve with crusty bread on the side.
- Be sure to add more broth if the soup becomes too thick for your liking.
- Play around with the flavors - add different veggies, different types of greens, etc.
- Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
- Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding more broth as needed.