One-Pot Wonders

Heidi Swanson's Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic

April 23, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

A spring vegetarian chickpea soup that's lush in all the right places (but won't lull you to sleep). Recipe from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2011) —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch fine-grain sea salt, to taste
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (2 modest pinches)
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 1 dash sweet paprika
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. In a medium-large pot over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, onion, and a couple of big pinches of salt. Cook until the onions soften up a bit, a few minutes.
  2. Stir in the chickpeas, and then add the vegetable broth and garlic. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the saffron and egg yolks, then whisk in the yogurt. Slowly add a big ladleful, at least 1 cup, of the hot broth to the yogurt mixture, stirring constantly. Very slowly whisk this mixture back into the pot of soup.
  4. Return the pot to medium heat and cook, stirring continuously for another 5 minutes or so, until the broth thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, never quite allowing broth to simmer.
  5. Ladle into individual bowls and serve sprinkled with a touch of paprika and plenty of chopped cilantro.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jo Supko
    Jo Supko
  • Tatjana Dzambazova
    Tatjana Dzambazova
  • Piper Foulon
    Piper Foulon
  • Jaime Stock
    Jaime Stock
  • Alice Blumenfeld
    Alice Blumenfeld
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

48 Reviews

Tom B. March 17, 2023
Simple, flavorful recipe. I made a few modifications (at the risk of tampering with a Genius Recipe):

1) 2 15 oz cans of chickpeas
2) 2T Chicken Better than Bouillon
3) 5c water
4) 1/3-1/2 c jasmine rice
5) Pureed a cup or so of the chickpeas with some broth, and added back
6) Added chopped cilantro stems (used leaves at the end)
7) Sprinkled with sumac along with paprika--not sure that added much
8) Topped with a bit of olive oil at the end--not sure that added much

I might add some spinach or something else green next time.
Dan April 30, 2022
I made this per the instructions. It never became creamy and the saffron was overpowering yet monotonous at the same time (and I like saffron).
Jo S. April 6, 2020
Made this soup by following the recipe and added a spritz of fresh lemon juice before serving. It was not good at all. I could go on, but I won't share my family's thoughts. If you can't say something nice...
Bailey March 21, 2019
I’ve been making this for years. It’s a fantastic soup. I’ve subbed in sour cream instead of yogurt just for an extra tart flavor most of the times I’ve made it. I also add potatoes and chicken for extra texture. (I’ve done it with soy vegetarian “chicken” and real chicken both are delicious) Just be sure to temper the yougurt/sour cream when you add it to the broth otherwise you’ll have separation and clumps in the soup.
Tatjana D. January 28, 2019
i did this for a group of 6 friends and it came out fantastic from the very first try! i happened to have too many black Chinese mushrooms (wood ear) that evening ( i keep dry chinese mushrooms in a jar and threw too many of them in a hot water for another recipe) so i threw them in. the result was DELICIOUS!!! thank you for your generosity to share this great recipe. i am making it again tonight, my boyfriend is crazy about it !
Anna March 12, 2018
I made this with canned chickpeas and it was a breeze to make. I loved the creamy liquid/broth part of the soup but thought it was a bit too monotonous in terms of solids with just the chickpeas and onions. I've blitzed some of the soup with a handheld blender and next time I may be adding some greens.
Piper F. November 20, 2017
My boyfriend and I had some trouble this one. We wished in retrospect that we had added some other starch with body to round out the soup (sweet potato?). Maybe we'll try this one again when we have a kitchen that isn't so haphazard!
Isabelle J. August 2, 2016
I made this last night from the cookbook. One problem I had is that the garlic is never sauteed, because it states to add with the broth. So the garlic stayed kind of pungent and biting which we didn't like. Generally, this stew was less Genius-er than others in the book.
Jaime S. May 1, 2016
Wondering if anyone has any insights on how long this will keep on the fridge/ freezer.
rlsalvati April 24, 2016
Very good. My saffron is awol, used the poor man's tumeric+paprika substitute. Can't wait to try it with the correct ingredients. Like Andrea, this left me craving avgolemono. May add a bit of lemon juice next time.
Alice B. March 5, 2016
This was pretty good, but lacked something. I added a spritz of lemon and that made all the flavors pop.
Burchie October 13, 2015
Love this soup - one of our favorites! have tried chicken stock once but found it came out a little too oily for my liking. Makes a great winter meal when paired with a salad!
Andrea June 2, 2015
While I enjoyed this soup and will no doubt make it again, I kept wishing for a little bright pop of something. A squeeze of citrus, perhaps? It left me craving a big bowl of avgolemono. I had nearly every kind of paprika in my cabinet *except* sweet paprika so I used a generous sprinkle of sumac. It was a lovely addition and gave the soup a nice bit of tartness.
placidplaid March 23, 2015
It was the big OK. I added shredded kale because I had it hanging around. I also added a couple of broken up slices of cooked bacon. I knew that as it was, it wouldn't appeal to my son. I think it's better for these ingredients.
maxypunx January 21, 2015
Does this reheat well? I've never made soup with egg yokes...
Kaede S. December 16, 2014
Hm. I tried this out last weekend and followed instructions to the letter. My husband liked it but I had trouble getting around the tartness of the yogurt. Might just be me.
homie S. March 23, 2014
I just made this, and it is lovely. I may have completely ignored the proportions, not out of willfulness but because I had only one egg on hand. I reduced the yogurt accordingly to a half of a single serving container. Still, delicate and satisfying at the same time.
Horto February 23, 2014
i made "winter warming" soup from this site and using the cooking liquid was tasty….
Horto February 23, 2014
wondering if you are using dried beans, would it be useful to use the broth from beans instead of veggie broth? what do you think?
Wendy P. February 5, 2014
I made as is using Wallaby non-fat greek yogurt. I might try Labne next time just to see if that makes it thicker but the thinness didn't really bother me. I used dried chickpeas which I soaked overnight and then cooked for about 30 minutes in water with a little baking soda. That helps the skins come off the beans. I did peel off all the skins. I liked the soup as is but then also added some lemon to see what that would be like. That was good too. I suppose sumac which is a bit lemony might be a nice addition instead. I think the basic soup provides a nice palate to allow you to personalize as you see fit. I feel like it might also benefit from a little spicy heat so will try adding a little chili oil to top or perhaps a little sprinkle of alleppo pepper. Also want to try with a little smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika. I could see omitting the cilantro and trying a different herb; a little pesto swirled in, or fresh mint, or some zaatar. The possibilities are endless!