I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve made this soup at least monthly since I first discovered it five years or so back. Why? It’s a meal in a bowl that perfectly straddles the line between light and hearty. It’s just as good (actually, better) on the second day after the flavors have had a chance to meld, making it an excellent brown-bag lunch option. And it comes together in less than an hour from fridge and pantry staples I almost always have stocked: chickpeas, garlic, vegetable stock, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. The only wild card is fresh thyme, which I usually have on hand from some recipe or another as it lasts so long in the fridge.

Admittedly, its beige hue isn’t super eye-catching, but that’s pretty much the only flaw I can come up with.

Vegan Chickpea, Garlic, and Thyme Soup

From O, the Oprah Magazine Cookbook by Editors of O Magazine

Notes

If you have a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, be careful not to overblend the soup as it can become gummy; don’t turn the speed up to full power. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, substitute apple cider vinegar. If you’re not vegan, chicken stock adds richness.

Ingredients

  1. 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  2. 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
  5. 3 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  6. 4 cups good vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  7. Kosher salt, to taste
  8. Sherry vinegar, to taste

Directions

  1. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, thyme, and pepper flakes to a large straight-sided sauté pan or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics begin to sizzle but have yet to brown. Add the chickpeas, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  2. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a standing blender. Season to taste with salt and sherry vinegar, starting with 1 teaspoon each and adding more until the soup tastes balanced.
  3. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes.