Smoky Spanish chickpea soup, brimming with sultry roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes, is an Instant Pot vegan recipe sensation guaranteed to renew you with every warm and soulful spoonful.
The deep sultry flavors of roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes make this Spanish-style chickpea soup (garbanzo bean soup) savory and satisfying. And the best news? It's an easy cook in the Instant Pot. I'm also including stovetop instructions because no one should miss out on what's going to become one of your favorite soups.
Chickpeas – 2 cups of chickpeas or 3 cans if you are cooking on the stovetop. If you are using dried chickpeas, you’ll want to either soak them overnight or do an Instant Pot quick soak. Those instructions are coming, so read on.
Roasted red peppers – Because I can never find roasted red peppers that aren't swimming in oil, I prefer to roast them myself. It's too easy to pop 4 quartered, red bell peppers in the oven not to take this healthier, cheaper option.
If you use jarred red peppers, rinse them as thoroughly as possible if they are packed in oil. 2 12-ounce jars are approximately the equivalent of 4 red peppers.
Sundried tomatoes – Use dehydrated sundried tomatoes if you can. That handles the ‘packed in oil’ dilemma. These days, there are options for sundried or semi-dried tomatoes with no or minimal oil, so use these as an option if you can’t find the dehydrated kind.
Red onion – Red onions are sweeter and milder than yellow onions and complement the sweet peppers and tomatoes. You can, however, interchange them depending on what you have on hand.
Garlic – 5 cloves isn’t excessive unless you don’t have a garlic press. This is about 1 ½ tablespoon if you are using the pre-minced stuff.
Canned diced tomatoes – Grab a can of diced tomatoes packed in juice for the best flavor and texture. Fire-roasted tomatoes are even better if you have access to them. Crushed tomatoes are also a good option.
Smoked paprika – Spanish cooking uses a lot of smoked paprika. You can find it in heat ranges from hot to sweet. Either variety will yield a smoky flavor. Hot spicy-hot you like it is up to you. It's your soup, after all.
Crushed red chili – Crush red chili is yet another source of hot spicy flavor. If you use hot smoked paprika, you may want to adjust the amount (in my case up). Also, there'll be more chili flakes used in the almond topping.
Sherry vinegar – A sweeter vinegar, such as sherry, still gives you a sharp flavor but is slightly more toned down than apple cider vinegar. The latter is my recommendation as a substitute.
Almonds – The almond spice mix is entirely optional. But seriously, don't skip it! For best results, use raw, unsalted almonds.
Parsley – Flat-leaf (Italian) parsley is chopped finely with the almonds and red chili flakes to make the spice mix. If you aren’t using almonds, add chopped parsley. It adds a fresh, peppery flavor. And a bit of green is always welcome.
Roasting the peppers. Preheat the oven to 4250 F. (2200 C.). Quarter the peppers, cleaning out the core and seeds. Place the red peppers with the skins up on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake the peppers for 20-25 minutes or until the skins start to brown and become wrinkly.
Soaking the chickpeas. In my experience, whether you use an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or make this soup on the stovetop, the best results begin with soaked chickpeas. There are several ways to accomplish this.
1. Soak them overnight. Add the chickpeas to a pot or bowl and cover them with three times the amount of water.
2. Quick soak. Add the chickpeas and twice the amount of water in a large pot. Boil the chickpeas for 2 minutes then, remove them from the heat and let them soak in the water for 2-4 hours.
3. Insta-soak – Add 2 cups of chickpeas plus 6 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Close the sealing valve and cook for 5 minutes on High Pressure. Let the steam naturally release for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
Always rinse soaked chickpeas (and other beans) before cooking them. This reduces indigestion.
Heat the Instant Pot (or any pot) before adding the onions. If you are cooking without oil, a cold pan will cause onions (and other ingredients) to stick. So, when you select Sauté on the Instant Pot, allow it to heat up and beep at you. Then, add the onions.
Avoid 'food burning.'. Once you sauté the red onions, start the dance of adding and mixing the rest of the ingredients through the tomatoes. Once you add the tomatoes, be sure to use a wooden spoon or another non-scratch implement to clear the bottom of the Instant Pot. It's essential to avoid the IP thinking that the soup is burning once you begin the pressure-cooking process.
Give the bottom of the Instant Pot another sweep after adding the chickpeas and water. Then begin the pressure cooking process.
Using Dried Chickpeas. Follow the recipe instructions as written using a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Start with soaked chickpeas. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Cover the pot and cook the soup for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender. You may need to add more water, so check the soup pot from time to time.
Using canned chickpeas. This is the quickest method yet. Follow the recipe until after you add the tomatoes. Add the entire contents of 3 cans of chickpeas plus 1 cup of water or broth. Allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.
Our favorite topping for this soup is finely chopped almonds, parsley, and chili flakes, but it's also great with vegan parmesan. Bread and soup are faithful friends. And a flavorful side salad or a simple salad with a creamy dressing makes a satisfying meal.
Short answer – yes. Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same things. Generally, garbanzo bean is the Spanish name for what others call chickpea. The labels are interchangeable and reflective of regional languages. The legume is identical.
The difference between smoked and regular paprika is all about the flavor. All paprika use crushed and dried chilis. Smoked paprika is made from chilis that are smoke-dried. This is what accounts for the distinctive flavor.
Smoked paprika is best substituted by using chipotle chili powder because it is made from smoke-dried jalapenos. This preserves the earthy, smoky flavors. If you only have regular paprika available, consider adding a few drops of liquid smoke. A pinch of cumin will also provide more of an earthy flavor; however, it will lack the smokiness of the first two options.