Next time you feel a cold coming on, try having a bowl of this vegan chickpea noodle soup, with lots of vitamin C rich parsley and lemon. Parsley over-winters well in the region I live in, so this is a great cold-weather option. The vegetables are flexible if you want to make it in other seasons, too.
Since there aren’t any tomatoes or other more flavourful additions going into the soup base, make sure to use a good vegetable broth here. I usually advocate for water making a fine base (store-bought stock cubes are mostly salt anyway, so you just need to season properly) but with a light broth like this one, you need good flavour building blocks.
Vegetable noodle soup is the ultimate comfort food. This is my replacement for the chicken noodle soup my mom taught me to make as a child, and it’s my go-to anytime I feel homesick or sad.
With a hint of sweetness from carrots and parsnips balanced out with a bite of lemon, it’s a great everyday recipe. There are a lot of variations you can take here – see the substitutions sections for notes, and use what’s available to you. For a similar recipe that’s a bit more basic, try my chickpea vegetable soup.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Vegetables: change up the vegetables to suit what you have on hand. I love frozen peas here, added in the last minute of cooking. Leeks, celery, any root vegetables and greens you like, all good. I recommend keeping the carrots.
- Chickpeas: white beans are a good substitute for chickpeas. You could also use green or brown lentils, but increase the amount of liquid slightly if they’re going directly into the broth.
- Pasta: I use spelt pasta, but any short variety is good here. Use a good gluten-free pasta for a GF option. You can also go for rice or another grain if preferred.
- Parsley: switch out the parsley for oregano or cilantro, even basil. See parsley substitutes. It’s possible to leave it out altogether if you prefer, but it does add a lot in terms of freshness (building blocks!).
Check the cooking time for the type of pasta you’re using. Once the soup comes to a boil, you want a full simmering time of fifteen minutes – add the pasta within that time frame so that it cooks through. Mine took seven minutes, for example, so I added it halfway through.
As mentioned above, a good broth will make all the difference here. The original recipe included mushrooms in the soup, but I didn’t love that after re-testing, so they’re out. I add mushrooms to my veg broth so the flavour is there without the often spongy texture they take on in soups.
With any soup, the most important thing is to season to your personal tastes. Think of the salt, and pepper, amounts as guidelines rather than set it stone. I typically add significantly more salt than listed – for almost all of my recipes – but the saltiness of the broth you use will also play a role. Taste before adding more.
How to Store
Storage: as with any noodle soup, the pasta will absorb much more of the broth when the soup is stored. It can be kept for up to three days in the refrigerator, but if you know you plan on storing it, I suggest cooking the pasta separately and adding it when serving (reduce the broth by about 500 ml, or two cups).
Freezing: same as above. The soup does freeze well but the noodles become soggy when thawed. Freeze for up to three months in an airtight container.
- Reduce the spice: I always add a bit of cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes to soup, but I often hear from readers that it’s too spicy (even that black pepper is too spicy). If you know that your heat tolerance is very low, omit the hot pepper and reduce the black pepper – or if you’re on the other end of that spectrum, increase it!
- Check the size: my vegetables are cut to 1cm thickness. If yours are larger, you may need a longer cooking time. If you’re unsure, cook the soup until the vegetables are fork-soft before adding the pasta – it won’t do any harm.
More Wintery Soups
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Chickpea Noodle Soup with Parsley and Lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots sliced (~300 grams)
- 1 medium parsnip sliced (~230 grams)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1.5 litres vegetable broth
- 250 grams cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 150 grams short pasta
- 50 grams spinach or other greens
- A large handful flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Zest of a lemon
- Juice of a lemon ~3 tablespoons
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil, followed by the onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium onion
- Add the carrots and parsnip. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.2 medium carrots, 1 medium parsnip
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook another 30 seconds.3 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pour the broth into the pot and add the chickpeas. Cover, then increase the heat and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Once the soup has reached a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes*.1.5 litres vegetable broth, 250 grams cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
- Check the cooking time needed for your pasta and add it partway through the simmering time. Most short pasta types will need 6-7 minutes.150 grams short pasta
- Once the pasta is cooked, the carrots and parsnip should be fork-soft. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the spinach, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste and season if needed.50 grams spinach or other greens, A large handful flat-leaf parsley, Zest of a lemon, Juice of a lemon
- Serve hot, topped with extra parsley and lemon zest if desired. Leftovers keep for a couple of days (see note below).
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally published in February 2017. It has been updated most recently as of March 2021.
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