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Easy Garbanzo Bean Soup

Made without a lick of cream, this garbanzo bean soup is a delightful “bisque” of a soup. It uses just 5 ingredients, one of them unexpected–a bit of chopped fresh mint. The mint adds a unique subtle flavor to this super-easy chickpea soup! 

Click here to save Garbanzo Bean Soup recipe on Pinterest!

At our house, an empty larder is unusual–I like a well-stocked pantry, ready for recipe options. But after 5 months in Baja Mexico, there was practically nothing to cook for dinner. We’d stopped on our way home for salad ingredients at least, but, other than that, I was racking my brain for what to make with what we had.

“Ah-ha! I could make that garbanzo bean soup on the blog. Oh yeah, except it calls for fresh mint. Maybe I could substitute dried oregano. Yep. Good idea Letty.”

Talk about a pantry recipe! Dried oregano works just fine and if you didn’t know about the mint possibility, you wouldn’t know it was missing. This recipe is such a winner, I decided it was time for a refresh and move to the front of the blog.

To make this soup:

  • In olive oil, sauté finely chopped onions with garlic and fresh mint (or dried oregano.)
  • In a blender, puree equal parts chickpeas and vegetable broth until smooth. Add that to the onions.
  • Then, to give the soup texture, blend a smaller amount of chickpeas with an equal amount of broth, pulsing just until the beans are coarsely chopped. Stir into the soup. Season with salt and chile powder.

This recipe comes from a cooking school tucked into a beautiful mountain valley in the state of Oaxaca Mexico. At Susana Trilling’s Seasons of My Heart cooking classes, you not only cook delicious Mexican food but you learn about the diverse culture of Oaxaca.

At the school, afternoons are for cooking a 5-course dinner in the school’s charming well-equipped kitchen. Susana introduces the recipes, then everyone divides into smaller groups.

Each group of 2 or 3 tackles a different course–there’s enough time to cruise the kitchen, sip a beer, and check out how the other recipes are coming along. When all is ready, the “class” sits down at a long communal to savor the fruits of their labor.

On trips to Oaxaca, I’ve been lucky to spend the day at Seasons of My Heart five times! One year my group made sopa de garbanzo, this garbanzo bean soup garnished with garlic-rubbed croutons.

dried red chiles in bags at mercado in Oaxaca Mexico

Seasons of My Heart cooking classes are all-day busy. Mornings, you might go to a local home and learn to make special tortillas or grind chocolate from scratch.

Or you might visit downtown Oaxaca’s sprawling four block mercado–the smells, the colors, the bustle of shoppers, the noise of it all–Mexican mercados, especially Oaxaca’s, make for vibrant shopping! It’s helpful to hire a guide to take you around so you don’t get totally lost in the seemingly endless maze of narrow aisles.

*** During Covid-19 shutdown in Oaxaca, Seasons of My Heart cooking school began offering live online classes. You might not get a tour of my favorite Mexican mercado, but you’ll learn to cook recipes from Oaxaca’s rich cuisine.

bowl of garbanzo bean soup with floating garlic croutons

Just so you know, some of the links below are affiliates. When you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps me continue to provide free content here on Letty’s Kitchen. Thank you!!

Garbanzo Bean Soup recipe notes:

  • You want to use pure chile powder in this recipe, like this or this. (Affiliate links.) That’s chile with an “e”. Chili powder spelled with an “i” is a spice blend, there’s a difference.
  • Given the choice and time, cook your garbanzos from scratch instead of opening cans. See my easy recipe for how to cook garbanzo beans quickly in a pressure cooker or your Instant Pot.
  • The  bonus of cooking dried beans is the delicious cooking broth. 
  • I don’t know how the mint does it, but it somehow makes the garbanzos less garbanzo-y. If you don’t have a tablespoon of fresh mint, substitute a teaspoon of dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano. (Affiliate link.)
  • There’s no difference between garbanzo beans and chickpeas. Chickpea is the popular name for the same legume/pulse/bean. 
  • For a simple dinner, serve your garbanzo bean soup with a leafy green salad. Here are some guidelines for prepping salad ingredients.
  • If you have cornmeal on hand, make skillet cornbread to go with your soup.
Letty toasting chiles on a comal at Seasons of My Heart cooking School in Oaxaca Mexico

(That photo is me toasting chiles on a hot comal the year my cooking school group prepared the appetizer for our menu.)

Let me know when you make this soup. Leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag #lettycooksveggies and @lettyskitchen on Instagram!

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  • Peruse my Pinterest boards for more vegetarian recipe ideas.
  • Find more vegetarian and healthy living ideas on my Facebook page.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase products via my links, it doesn’t cost you anything and I earn a tiny commission, which helps defray the costs of Letty’s Kitchen blog. Thank you for supporting Letty’s Kitchen.

PS If you make this recipe and love it, please consider leaving a blog post comment. Your comments help other readers learn more about the recipe. If you’d also give the recipe a ✮✮✮✮✮ rating, I’d be delighted!

Nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and any substitutions. These numbers do not include the garlic croutons.

This is an updated refresh of the garbanzo bean soup I posted way back in January 2015!


  • 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

4 from 7 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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