Smoky Vegetable, Chickpea, and Quinoa Soup

It goes without saying that we’re all cooking more during this new and totally unnerving ‘Social Distancing’ chapter of our lives, whether for fun, out of boredom, or out of necessity (or some combination of the three.)  I shared a picture of this simple soup on Instagram earlier this week, and I think the number of requests I got for the recipe is a testament to the fact that we’re all in need of easy, accessible, and delicious dishes.

So, here it is! This Smoky Vegetable, Chickpea, and Quinoa Soup is an ideal ‘quarantine’ recipe, if I can call it that. It relies heavily on inexpensive pantry ingredients, is drop-dead easy and can last you the whole week, especially if you make a double batch.

This veggie-packed soup has lots of smoky flavor – thanks to cumin, paprika and fire roasted tomatoes. It’s not quite as thick as a chili, but definitely in the same extended family.  It’s hearty and satisfying on its own, but would be over the top with some shredded cheese or diced avocado on top.

I’m pulled back and forth between wanting comfort foods and trying to eat well while I’m spending so much time cooped up at home.  I’m definitely making my fair share of chocolate chip cookies and and cheesy pastas, but I also like to have some healthy options on hand. The soup is a great compromise. It’s warm and comforting but packed with fresh veggies, greens, and grains. A win-win. I have a pot in the fridge and have been heating up bowls for lunch all week long.

I’ve made this recipe as flexible as possible, with lots of options and substitutions so you can use whatever you’ve got in the pantry. Feel free to make it your own- just taste as you go and make sure to season generously.  Just a note that this recipe is vegan and gluten-free as written, but some of the substitution options are not.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there. Let me know if you have any recipe requests, or if you’ve got a hundred cans of something in your pantry and don’t know what to make with them!  I, for one, found a bunch of cans of beets in my parents’ pantry and would love some suggestions…

OH, and excuse the meh photos in this post – I’m currently riding out the store at my parents’ house in Pittsburgh and forgot to bring my camera. I just didn’t want to wait to get this recipe to you!

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4.73 from 22 votes

Smoky Vegetable, Chickpea, and Quinoa Soup

Servings: 6


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 large yellow onion, small-diced
  • cups small-diced carrots (3-4 carrots)
  • cups small-diced celery (about 3 ribs)
  • tablespoons minced garlic (about 3 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked or sweet ground paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup dry white wine or light-colored beer
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (plain are fine, too!)
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4- to 5-ounce) container baby spinach or baby kale
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, plus more for serving


  • In a large Dutch oven or other large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the wine and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas in a small bowl and using a fork, lightly mash about ¼ of them. Add the chickpeas, the tomatoes and their juices, the broth, quinoa, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender and the soup has thickened slightly.
  • Add the spinach and cilantro and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring often, until the spinach has completely wilted. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Garnish each serving with cilantro and serve hot.
    This soup keeps up to five days in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer.
    Copyright 2020, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved
  1. 5 stars
    I received this recipe from a friend and cooked up a big batch to make for my lunch for the week. It was delicious! Looking forward to making it again!!

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this and have recommended it to friends! I subbed some cooked brown rice for the quinoa and two cups of tomato juice for a third of the veggie broth in an effort to use some on hand items before they went to waste and it made for a nice variation. This one will be in the winter soup rotation for sure!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and love it. I didn’t really expect my children to love it as much as they do but it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. They love it and I love how healthy it is.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Lidey –

    This was such an easy soup to make and SO delicious!! The smoky paprika and cumin are a great compliment and give the soup a unique flavor. Definitely a keeper!

  5. 5 stars
    So lovely! The smoked paprika made it really special. I used coconut oil instead of olive and it was nice!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Lidey! I have tons of canned lentil and veggie soups I don’t know what to do with, and have been looking for delicious and healthy soup recipes. So I signed up for this online class! I am a part-time crew member at Trader Joes, and was excited to see these products in your photos! Have you tried Everything But the Elote seasoning? It’s a dried version of all that goodness we slather on Mexican corn el crema, and another good pantry alternative for smoky soups and chilis.

    Do you still have those cans of beets in the pantry? My daughter made this delicious beet risotto with seared scallops back in January when we were prepping food for our first dinner party. It gave the risotto a nice earthy flavor (and pretty color!). See you online next Tuesday!

  7. Other than reducing the chicken broth to 4 cups, I made this exactly as written. Delicious! A perfect recipe for quarantining as it fed us for several days with the added benefit of lots of nutritious ingredients. A winner!

  8. Delicious and healthy. Even better the second or third day.
    Had some leftover white rice and added that also .

  9. 5 stars
    This is really good, easy to make, is filling and can be a lunch or dinner meal! It’s a keeper, even after this stay at home order is lifted!

  10. This was really great. Making it for the second time but don’t have spinach- only escarole. Can I substitute? Thank you!

    1. Hi Amy! Yes you can definitely use escarole. You’ll need to cook it a bit longer than you would for spinach- I would also chop the escarole into fairly small pieces so it cooks quickly. Enjoy!

  11. Thank you for sharing this! Love seeing the recipes posted by you and Ina this week. Hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe! 🙂

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