The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tunisian-style chickpea soup with harissa oil

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This recipe for Tunisian-style chickpea soup with harissa oil is the latest in a monthly series of recipes I have created in partnership with Suma Wholefoods. In each recipe, I use products from Suma’s extensive range of organic and ethically sourced products, and the recipes appear both here on my blog and on the Suma website.

This month’s dish is based on a traditional Tunisian dish called lablabi, a mildly flavoured but nourishing soup usually eaten at breakfast, and often on a bed of slightly stale bread and accompanied by eggs or tuna, but it works really well here as a stand-alone soup, especially with the final flourish of harissa oil.

Normally lablabi would be made using dried chickpeas, but to short circuit the cooking time I have used tinned chickpeas and vegetable stock instead.

The end result is a hearty, wholesome and delicious bowl of plant-based goodness.

Tunisian-style chickpea soup with harissa oil


1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 400 g cans organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
Juice of a lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

for the harissa oil

1 tbsp rose harissa paste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. For the soup, pour the olive oil into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for five minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for a further three minutes. Now stir in the sea salt, cumin and tomato puree before adding the stock, bay leaf and the drained chickpeas.

2. Stir the soup and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat so as to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for ten minutes, stirring every so often. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove the bay leaf.

3. Remove roughly one third of the soup, making sure you have a representative balance of chickpeas and stock, and blend until smooth, then return to the pan. This will give the soup a more substantial consistency.

4. Whisk the harissa paste with one tablespoon of olive oil. Set to one side. Return the soup to the heat and bring back to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and divide between four bowls. Swirl a little of the harissa oil across the top of each. Serve immediately, preferably with good quality bread.

Categories: dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian


11 replies

  1. Oh wow, I love chickpeas. This will hit the spot.

  2. Absolutely love your ‘creation’ ! As my ‘cookery years’ have progressed have actually found my taste buds turn more towards Tunisia than Morocco. No, this will not appear on a breakfast table here but will make a delicious full meal with or without the eggs and tuna – we’ll see >) !

  3. I’m a great fan of chick peas but to be honest I missed the diatribe. The highlight for me is the food politics your posts always promise.

  4. Lovely recipe for soup. What is Rose Harissa paste?

    • Hi Carey. Thank you. Harissa is a delicious, hot spice mix used extensively in Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine. Rose harissa has the addition of ground rose petals, which impart a subtle sweetness to the paste. Steve 🙂

  5. so yummy!! i love it! i ll definitely try it!!


  1. Tunisian-style Chickpea Soup With Harissa Oil — The Top Mag

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