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Garbanzo Bean Soup + Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico

Fresh mint is one of only 5 ingredients in this tummy-warming garbanzo bean soup. Mint is an unexpected addition, not a flavor you can easily detect but one that adds in unique subtle flavor. This is a delightful “bisque” of a soup without a lick of cream. If you make it in the Instant Pot it’s done even faster!

Garbanzo Bean Soup + Cooking School in Oaxaca Mexico

Tucked into a beautiful mountain valley in the state of Oaxaca Mexico, Susana Trilling’s Seasons of My Heart cooking school is a hands-on cooking class where, in addition to recipes, students learn about the diverse cuisine and culture of Oaxaca outside of the kitchen too.

I’ve attended the school’s one-day classes 5 different times. Each full day has 2 components–it’s the morning half that keeps me going back. My favorite mornings include a guided walk through Oaxaca City’s sprawling central market–the tour is a not-to-be-missed adventure.

Garbanzo Bean Soup + cooking school in Oaxaca Mexico

I love Mexican mercados, like the one in Oaxaca.  I pray those big box stores sprouting all over Mexico never put these vibrant markets out of business. Cruising a real Mexican mercado can be intimidating; the smells, the colors, the bustle distracting. You definitely want a guide to take you around the 4 city blocks of Oaxaca’s mercado, at least your first visit because it’s easy to get totally lost in the seemingly endless maze of narrow aisles.

On the tour: Before we entered the market, Dominga, our guide, advised everyone to take off or hide expensive jewelry and to keep handbags in front and close to the body. It’s totally safe, just keep your wits about you.

We tasted warm tamales steamed in banana leaves at a small stall where they sell them warm and freshly made. After that, we traipsed around some more, until we came to a tiny corner chocolate stand/factory. There they were grinding cacao beans, coarse sugar, and cinnamon sticks into Mexican chocolate. (I learned there to ask for premier class cacao beans when buying Oaxaca-made chocolate.)

Stall after stall, we passed all manner of chiles, dried beans, pots and pans, and open-air shops selling clothes, from shoes to quinceañera gowns. You can buy freshly caught fish, or chickens or a pig’s head if you want.Truly, if they don’t have it, you don’t need it.

Garbanzo Bean Soup + Cooking School in Oaxaca Mexico

A couple of hours and miles later, we crammed ourselves around oilcloth-covered picnic tables in front of a lunch stall. We’d worked up such appetites that our group devoured every tasty tostada and enchilada put before us. Dominga kept having to order more. Especially the one with guajillo chile-seasoned potatoes, layered high with shredded cabbage and avocado cubes.

One year, instead of a market tour, we spent the morning half of school with a family in the countryside. We tried our hands at forming corn masa into huge Oaxacan tortillas, tlayudas. (It looks easy until you try it.)

Garbanzo Bean Soup + Cooking School in Oaxaca Mexico

Afternoon sessions are in Susana’s beautiful, spacious, well-equipped school kitchen. Susana gives an overview of each dish and then the class divides into smaller groups of 2 or 3 to prepare a 5-course dinner from scratch. That’s me toasting chiles on a hot comal.  Finally, at the end of the day, before the van takes us back to town, we sit down and enjoy the fruits of our cooking.

Last November at Seasons of My heart, my group made sopa de garbanzo, this recipe for garbanzo bean soup garnished with garlic-rubbed croutons.

Garbanzo Bean Soup + Cooking School in Oaxaca Mexico

Garbanzo Bean Soup recipe notes:

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

When you make this soup, please let me know! Leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram or Twitter with #lettycooksveggies!

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3.75 from 4 votes
Garbanzo Bean Soup + Cooking School in Oaxaca Mexico
Garbanzo Bean Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins

This really yummy cream-less soup is a smooth puree with a bit of texture—perfect, if you ask me. I don’t know how the mint does it, but it somehow makes the garbanzos less garbanzo-y. You can whip up this soup in a half-hour using canned garbanzos. Makes about 6 servings.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 6 servings.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion , about ½ medium onion (see note)
  • 1 garlic clove , minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves , finely chopped
  • cups plus 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans , aka chickpeas (see note)
  • 2 ½ plus 1 cup bean cooking stock or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon Real Salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground red chile (see note)
Garlic toasts:
  • 1 baguette , sliced ¼-inch thick, about 12 slices
  • Olive oil , as needed
  • 1 garlic clove , cut in half crosswise
  1. In a heavy 4- or 5-quart saucepan over medium flame, heat the oil and sauté the onion about 10 minutes. When the onion is translucent and slightly brown, add the garlic and mint. Cook and stir another 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender whir the first 2 ½ cups of beans with the first 2 ½ cups of stock until very smooth. Stir the puree into the onion mixture.
  3. Pulse the remaining beans with the remaining liquid until the beans are coarsely chopped. Stir into the soup. Season with the salt and chile.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with 2 garlic toasts floating on top.
Garlic toasts:
  1. Lightly brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil. Toast the slices until they are just golden around the edges. (I used my toaster oven.) Holding one half of the garlic clove with your fingers, swipe the cut edge across each toast.
Recipe Notes
  • Mexican cooks use white onions. Feel free to substitute yellow onions or even red onion.
  • Use pure chile powder. Chili powder is a spice blend—not the same at all. Susanna’s recipe calls for white pepper—so use that if pure chile powder is not available.
  • Given the choice and time, I cook garbanzos from scratch. See my recipe for how to cook garbanzo beans quickly in a pressure cooker.


  • It sounds wonderful; I can see why you’d go back so many times. Reply · 17 January, 2015

    • Letty

      There is a cooking school near here I’m going to check out–but I think Seasons of My Heart sets the standard. Reply · 18 January, 2015

  • What a fun way to spend the day. I love that the soup is creamy without added cream. Reply · 18 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Barbara. Yes, creamy with protien. I like the no-dairy aspect too. Reply · 18 January, 2015

  • sweetclafoutis

    I made the chickpeas in my new pressure cooker last night with some aromatics, and the soup today. So simple and delicious. I used some guajillo chile and smoky Turkish urfa biber. Reply · 19 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks for the report Donna. Love to hear you had success with both recipes! Reply · 19 January, 2015

  • You make me want to visit Mexico and go to cooking school! And that picture of you is gorgeous. Love the simple recipe, Letty! Reply · 20 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Kelley! I am checking out some other schools down here too! Reply · 20 January, 2015

  • I so want to go to this school. I love Oaxacan food. I just got back from a cooking adventure in Peru and it inspired me to take more international cooking classes when I travel. GREG Reply · 20 January, 2015

    • Letty

      I want to go on the vanilla tour with Susana Trilling. Reply · 20 January, 2015

  • Kate

    I’m living in Teotitlan del Valle at the moment abe here they roast dry chickpeas and then pulverize them, selling the powder in the market. You add water, onion, garlic, perhaps some hoja Santa, and cook it up for the soup. They do the same with roasted, pulverized black beans! Reply · 6 March, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Kate. I have read that they make the powder and use it for soup. To clarify–are the dried beans roasted and ground before cooking? Or are they roasted after they have been cooked, and pulverized after?
      Are you studying weaving in Teotitlan de Valle? Reply · 7 March, 2015

  • Madelyn

    Your site is a great find. Reply · 14 November, 2017

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