One-Pot Wonders

Chickpea, Pumpkin, and Sage Stew

September 18, 2014
17 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

A one-dish pantry meal to usher you into fall. The bulk of this dinner comes down to canned chickpeas, canned pumpkin purée, a handful of quick-cooking pasta, and a quart of chicken broth tossed together in a pot; the rest, of course, involves simply simmering and seasoning with a few fresh ingredients. This stew is infinitely adaptable and can grow and vary according to your pantry. Swap chickpeas for another preferred bean, or pumpkin for canned squash. The dish will keep its autumnal comfort regardless of the modifications, and it will stay true to its promise for a quick meal as the weather turns cold. —Caroline Wright

Watch This Recipe
Chickpea, Pumpkin, and Sage Stew
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small bunch sage leaves (6 to 8)
  • one 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • one 15-ounce can pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 quart chicken broth, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini, tubetti, or other small pasta like orzo
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrot and onion are crisp and tender and sage is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in chickpeas, pumpkin purée, and broth; bring to a boil. Add pasta and quickly simmer until pasta is al dente and soup has thickened, about 8 minutes. Divide soup among serving bowls and drizzle with oil before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ashly Nikkole
    Ashly Nikkole
  • Jenny Callentine
    Jenny Callentine
  • Maurine Hainsworth
    Maurine Hainsworth
  • Heather Akers
    Heather Akers
  • madeleine
    madeleine
Before her diagnosis, Caroline wrote a book on cakes called Cake Magic!. She started developing a birthday cake using her gluten-free mix found in that book. Check out other recipes she’s developing for her new life—and the stories behind them—on her blog, The Wright Recipes. Her next book, Soup Club, is a collection of recipes she made for her underground soup club of vegan and grain-free soups she delivers every week to friends throughout Seattle's rainy winter. (Available February 2021.)

    36 Reviews

    Victoria January 23, 2021
    This is low in flavor as written even tho I added 2 additional veggies. Definitely needs salt and pepper.
    Will try some of the suggestions for add’l spices next time, especially bay leaf. Adding leftover roasted chicken would be a good choice too if you want a heartier soup. Also will try using roasted butternut squash.
    However, the biggest mistake I made was making this too far in advance before dinner. This is not a make ahead soup. Sitting in the liquid, the pasta swelled to 2-3 times its original size due to absorbing most of the liquid. As such, I would recommend either cooking right before ready to eat dinner, or if you must make ahead, leave adding the pasta until 8 mins before ready to serve. I will also reduce the amount of pasta to 1/4 to 1/3c.
     
    Mkk January 4, 2021
    It looked so good and hearty but it was boring and so incredibly bland. I kept checking back to the recipe to see if I missed something. I am not an experienced cook though I do know salt and pepper are the minimum of seasoning to add but they are not listed. I followed it as it is written. The stew was so bad I threw it away.
     
    Mkk January 4, 2021
    It looked so good and hearty but it was boring and so incredibly bland. I kept checking back to the recipe to see if I missed something. I am not an experienced cook though I do know salt and pepper are the minimum of seasoning to add but they are not listed. I followed it as it is written. The stew was so bad I threw it away. What a waste.
     
    Ashly N. December 21, 2020
    As with other reviewers, I doctored this recipe up a bit. In addition to the called for ingredients, I added: celery, butternut squash (a winter favorite of mine), chicken sausage (thanks to prior reviewers for this suggestion!), kale, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, ginger powder (will try freshly grated ginger next time - I didn't feel like peeling ginger this time), and shallots. And, of course, salt and pepper. I guess I doctored this up more than "a bit"!

    My chicken stock also made a world of difference. It includes the following ingredients: alkaline water, chicken bones, ginger, turmeric, swiss chard, carrots, celery, fennel, lavender, cilantro, parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, sage, apple cider vinegar and himalayan sea salt.

    End product was delicious. I'll be making again with a tweak to the ginger and with the sage butter topping suggestion.
     
    L December 6, 2020
    I was disappointed that this was printed in the recent Food52 holiday catalog! So incredibly bland. I initially thought it looked nice and warm for winter, but on reading the ingredients decided it probably wouldn't taste like anything. It doesn't even call for salt?!?!

    With that in mind, I made it with 1 whole onion, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, salt and pepper, a lot of extra broth than was called for (maybe 7 cups?), a little cinnamon and nutmeg, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. It came out ok, but honestly was still pretty bland.

    I'm always confused when Food 52 decides to publish something incredibly blah like this, as seems to be happening more and more often lately. Maybe they have more content than they can manage effectively.
     
    keckler3331 November 23, 2020
    This was featured in the printed Food 52 catalog just received. Made it tonight and it was so bland, I kept saying "This needs something" and then checked reviews. I am surprised it was printed as is with these reviews.
     
    Jessica B. November 23, 2020
    I saw it in the catalog too and also made it tonight - but I added about 1/2 tap ground nutmeg, a good amount of black pepper, and some lacinato kale I needed to use up and I think it came out great. Would definitely be bland without the nutmeg & pepper though!
     
    Carolyn M. November 17, 2020
    Tasted this after adding all the ingredients (I did swap 1/2 a leek for the onion) and all I could taste was raw pumpkin puree, so I added 2 t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t grated fresh ginger, another 2 cups of broth, 2 cups of diced kale, 2 cups diced cooked chicken, 1/2lb cooked sweet Italian sausage and a 1/2 t garlic powder. That came out very well! Not good as written, though.
     
    Carolyn M. November 17, 2020
    Tasted this after adding all the ingredients (I did swap 1/2 a leek for the onion) and all I could taste was raw pumpkin puree, so I added 2 t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t grated fresh ginger, another 2 cups of broth, 2 cups of diced kale, 2 cups diced cooked chicken, 1/2lb cooked sweet Italian sausage and a 1/2 t garlic powder. That came out very well! Not good as written, though.
     
    Jenny C. October 15, 2020
    I didn’t read the reviews before I started to make this, which is rare. Thankfully I read them when I just added the stock and made adjustments accordingly. I’m glad I did because as written this would definitely lack depth and flavor. I added 1/8 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 bay leaves, a few more carrots, shallot, and a pinch of ginger. I also added salt and pepper (fresh ground) and 1/8 tsp salt. I used pastina and let it cook for longer then the recipe calls for... it got lovely and thick but please note that if you want it brothy then I’d decrease the pasta (at least for pastina) to 1/2 cup to 1 cup. Lastly, I added grated Parmesan at the end.

    Even with all of my additions this was very very mild. I found it soothing and I think, if you’re willing to tinker with it to suit your tastes, it’s a nice recipe to have.
     
    Lynn S. September 27, 2020
    Based on reviews, I added pumpkin spice and my favorite spice, fennel. I also used orzo for the pasta and let it reduce a bit to obtain a thicker soup. Delicious and my new fav!
     
    oniontears November 26, 2019
    i have made this recipe several times and have decided on the following variations:

    -whole onion, not half
    -two to three cloves of garlic
    -sauté half a bunch of parsley alongside the sage
    -add sage stems, 2 bay leaves, some ground ginger, and a cinnamon stick to boil
    -also 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper, some red pepper flakes
    -add kale or another leafy green
    -boil without lid to let things thicken up a bit
    -salt to taste at the end
    -add a little fresh parsley to finish

    and, the best recommendation i found in the comments: brown butter with more sage leaves. i like to let the sage get perfectly crispy and lay them over the soup once it's done. i personally like 4 tbsp but you might start with 2 if you're less indulgent than i am.

    i do imagine if you start with a very good broth, most of the doctoring up in the comments won't be necessary--as a lazy vegetarian i'll probably never know for sure. don't skip the brown butter, though!
     
    Maurine H. September 29, 2019
    I made this and added a bit of pumpkin pie spice at the end. I'm in love!
     
    Heather A. November 12, 2018
    I read the comments before trying this one and decided to doctor it up some. I'm glad I did. I added additional olive oil at the start, as well as two cloves of garlic, grated ginger, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, a bay leaf, a Parmesan rind, a bit of crushed red pepper, and I used homemade chicken stock, which always seems to make a difference. It was still a very mild soup, but definitely hearty. I also fried up some chopped fresh sage in brown butter to sprinkle over top, and that was what really made it.
     
    madeleine November 17, 2015
    Any suggestions about how I would make this into a slow cooker meal? Looking mostly for suggestions on the setting/temp and cook time...

    THANKS!!!
     
    Maggie P. October 15, 2015
    Any recommendations for a gluten free grain that can be used instead of the pasta?
     
    Ayla October 27, 2015
    I used quinoa--you have to cook it for 15 minutes longer; but it turned out delicious!
     
    Peony January 30, 2015
    Very bland as written, but easy enough to fix.
     
    plainhomecook November 20, 2014
    I agree with other commenters, this be terribly as written. I added curry powder, tumeric, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and it was quite good.
     
    plainhomecook November 20, 2014
    this *would be terribly bland*. Wow. Really not sure what happened there!
     
    sslurp December 9, 2020
    You turned into a pirate for a minute :)
     
    Betsy C. November 19, 2014
    My family also thought the stew lacked flavor. Thanks for the suggestions; will try again with more seasoning.
     
    Caitlin E. November 2, 2014
    Unremittingly bland. So bland it was terrible. The only thing that helped me to eat it (and not waste the food) was hot sauce (Tabasco, Tapatio, etc.). A waste of time - even though, yes, it was fairly "quick 'n easy".
     
    Jaws October 30, 2018
    That's ok for me. Unfortunately I need bland even though I love spicy. My husband will be adding his hot sauce! 😉
     
    Lydia October 14, 2014
    I wish I had doctored this up the way many other reviewers had the foresight to do. As written it lacked flavor, but I can see where some tinkering would make it worth making again.