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Classic Pasta e Ceci Soup (Ready in 15 Minutes!)

4.91 from 10 votes

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This is a simple one-pot soup recipe for pasta e ceci, an Italian chickpea soup. It’s a hearty vegetarian chickpea soup made with dried pasta simmered in a rich tomato-based soup broth. Enjoy this easy to make, hearty soup that cooks in about 15 minutes!

A bowl of chickpea and pasta or pasta e ceci soup with a spoon on the side of the bowl.
Pasta e ceci soup is a hearty tomato soup with chickpeas, pasta and Parmesan cheese.

Italian pasta soup and chickpea soup is the ultimate family-style soup you can prepare as the centerpiece of a simple meal, any day of the week. It’s one of most delicious soup or stew recipes made from scratch from pantry ingredients.

About pasta e ceci

Pasta e ceci is a hearty Italian peasant soup made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and pasta in a tomato broth — chickpeas are pronounced cheh-chi in Italian. It’s thick and hearty, like a stew, cooked with tomatoes, aromatic herbs, (rosemary, oregano or marjoram) and finished with grated cheese.

When I was growing up in an Italian-American home, my mom would often cook a pot of soup for dinner on Fridays (a tradition for many Italians, especially during Lent.) It was usually a big pot of pasta e fagioli with cannellini beans or pasta e ceci made with chickpeas, along with a shower of cheese sprinkled on top.

Absolutely a classic Italian vegetable soup recipe, it’s always a favorite Italian comfort food, and for good reason!

Ingredients for making pasta e ceci soup arranged on a tray, including chickpeascanned tomatoes, carrots, onion, spices and dried pasta.

About the ingredients

  • Canned tomatoes: I recommend using one 28-ounce can of either crushed tomatoes or whole, peeled canned tomatoes. Unlike roasted tomato soups made with fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes are essential in this pantry soup.
  • Canned beans: Use one can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) or any bean you like. Cooked cannellini beans, navy beans or white beans are all great in this soup.
  • Dried pasta: Look for short types of pasta or macaroni, like ditalini, tiny shells or bowties. They cook right in the soup until al dente.
  • Carrot
  • Aromatics: Onion and garlic
  • Herbs: Dried oregano, basil or Italian seasoning add that distinctive Italian-style flavor. If they’ve been sitting in your cupboard for a while (more than six months) give your dried herbs a good sniff to be sure they still smell good! If you have fresh rosemary, use 1 tablespoon of that instead of dried herbs.
  • Crushed red chili: Red pepper flakes add a touch of heat. Add more or less to taste, but know that typically, this isn’t a spicy soup.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated parm is my first choice. If you use pecorino cheese instead, note that it’s a touch more salty. Bonus: If you happen to have a parmesan rind hanging out in your fridge, throw it into the soup while it simmers for an amazing layer of flavor. To make a vegan pasta e ceci soup, just leave out the Parmesan, or use 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  • Fresh herbs: Chopped parsley, basil or fresh rosemary if you have it
Two bowls of pasta e ceci soup and small dishes of grated cheese and parsley on the side.

How to make Italian chickpea soup, step by step

How to store the soup

  • Refrigerator: Transfer the soup to a covered container and store in the refrigerator up to 5 days. The pasta will expand and absorb liquid, so when you reheat add enough water, or broth to make the consistency you enjoy.
  • Freezer: Allow the soup to fully cool to avoid condensation and ice crystals from forming. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 1 month. You can also cook the soup without the pasta and freeze. Stir in cooked pasta when you reheat to serve.

Tips and variations

  • Add a handful or two of your favorite leafy greens, such as kale, spinach or chard.
  • Substitute a different type of bean for the chickpeas — white navy beans, cannellini or great northern beans are all good choices.
  • To add meaty flavor, add about 1/2 cup chopped pancetta to the pan along with the onions and carrots, then proceed with the recipe.
  • To measure the water or broth, pour in the liquid to reach the top of the empty tomato can — it’s the exact amount of water PLUS you use up every drop of the tomatoes!

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A bowl of chickpea and pasta soup with a spoon.

Classic Pasta e Ceci Soup (Italian Chickpea Soup)

Karen Tedesco
A simple one-pot soup recipe for pasta e ceci, an Italian chickpea soup. It’s a hearty vegetarian chickpea soup made with dried pasta simmered in a rich tomato-based soup broth. Enjoy this easy to make, hearty soup that cooks in about 15 minutes!
Print Pin
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Soup and Stew
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into ¼-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) finely chopped or grated garlic
  • ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, basil or Italian seasoning
  • 1 28-ounce (739 g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups (710 ml) water, or vegetable broth
  • 1 15-ounce can (494 ) chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup (225 g) dried soup pasta such as ditalini, acini de pepe or orzo
  • ½ cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, or fresh basil

Instructions 

  • Put the oil, onion and carrots in a large heavy pot. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, chili and herbs to the pot and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, pasta, water and 2 teaspoons salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a slow simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook until the pasta is done, which should take 10-12 minutes. Stir once or twice to make sure the pasta isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Taste for seasoning, and add more salt, chili or freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir the cheese and parsley into the soup and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • To make a vegan pasta e ceci soup, just leave out the Parmesan, or use 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • Dried oregano, basil or Italian seasoning add that distinctive Italian-style flavor. If they’ve been sitting in your cupboard for a while (more than six months) give your dried herbs a good sniff to be sure they still smell good! If you have fresh rosemary, use 1 tablespoon of that instead of the dried herbs.
  • To measure the water or broth, pour in the liquid to reach the top of the empty tomato can — it’s the exact amount of water PLUS you use up every drop of the tomatoes!
  • Add a handful or two of your favorite leafy greens, such as kale, spinach or chard.
  • Substitute a different type of bean for the chickpeas — white navy beans, cannellini or great northern beans are all good choices.
  • To add meaty flavor, add about 1/2 cup chopped pancetta to the pan along with the onions and carrots, then proceed with the recipe.
  • Store in the refrigerator: Transfer the soup to a covered container and store in the refrigerator up to 5 days. The pasta will expand and absorb liquid, so when you reheat add enough water, or broth to make the consistency you enjoy.
  • Store in the freezer: Allow the soup to fully cool to avoid condensation and ice crystals from forming. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 1 month. You can also cook the soup without the pasta and freeze. Stir in cooked pasta when you reheat to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1892IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Feed me this thru an iv

  2. That does look good! I wish my hubby liked soup.