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Chickpea, Tomato, and Spelt Soup


Spelt is an ancient whole grain native to southern Europe. It's packed with fiber and naturally higher in protein than wheat.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Yield: Makes 6 cups

Photography: Anna Williams

Source: Body+Soul, January/February 2008


  • 1 cup spelt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron (optional)
  • 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish


  1. Place spelt in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 1 hour; drain.

  2. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, paprika, cumin, saffron (if using), spelt, broth, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes or until spelt is tender.

  3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas and cook for 20 minutes or until flavors have blended. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Cook's Notes

For a more intense flavor, use a mild smoked paprika instead of a sweet one. Topping off the soup with parsley adds an earthy tone.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Kristen E
    9 DEC, 2013
    I was so excited about the prospect of this recipe, however... taking a closer look it shows that you use chicken broth as the base. This is quite disappointing as you have it listed under vegetarian recopies.
  • princesspea720
    9 FEB, 2010
    This recipe was awesome! Used barley, as suggested. Wonderful for a cold winter night.
  • puckbunny
    7 JUL, 2009
    Interesting that this recipe, which uses chicken stock, is listed as vegetarian. Need I state the obvious when I suggest using vegetable stock?
  • Hayley
    20 MAR, 2009
    Derailedlisa: I make it with barley all the time, and follow the same procedure as written for the spelt. It's one of my families favorite meals with a fresh loaf of bread.
  • Derailedlisa
    13 MAR, 2009
    Could Barley be used instead of Spelt?
  • sumatra
    25 JAN, 2009
    This soup is soooo good and easy to make. I added 1 small diced zucchini with the chickpeas
  • Glomo
    18 JAN, 2009
    Very easy to make and delicious. The spelt has a great texture. This is a great addition to my soup repetoire.
  • MS10963556
    17 JAN, 2009
    I made this one too. The whole family loved it. I couldn't find spelt at the store so I used brown rice instead. I served it with a salad and fresh whole wheat bread. Family requested I make it again.
  • XClaudine
    9 APR, 2008
    This recipe was healthy and delicious. The one change I made was a sprinkle of cilantro instead of parsley. Had fresh cilantro and thought it would go well with the cumin. Will definitely make again. *****