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

4.50 from 2 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. Cannellini, 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 this isn’t typically 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: 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
4.50 from 2 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
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves or parsley, lightly chopped

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. Add 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. Feed me this thru an iv

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