Chickpea Soup from Sifnos

Recipe update: This recipe was originally posted in October 2008. Earlier that year when in Greece I had visited the island of Sifnos, on the southwest part of the Cyclades islands. Like in my other updated posts, I’ve given you better photos to tempt you to try the recipe. I’ve also tweaked this recipe by foregoing canned chickpeas and using dry chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and then slowly simmered until the chickpeas are soft and soup, thick.

Whether making a hummus or this soup, try the slow food method – it’s not hard! A bowl full of dry chickpeas, some baking soda and enough water to cover them and when you wake up the next morning, the chickpeas are re-hydrated and ready for cooking.

The final tweak to this recipe was the garnish – this easy, delicious and chi-chi-frou-frou Shrimp and Garlic Bread. I’ve served this as an h’ors oeuvres and as a garnish with this soup – in both cases it was well received. The recipe is easy: raw shrimp, scallions, garlic, Feta cheese, grated tomato paste and herbs are whipped in a food processor then smeared on your thin slices of bread and then baked until crusty and slightly golden on top.

On this occasion I used Greek basil in the mix. You can used oregano, thyme or whatever fresh herb you have on hand. You can view the recipe here.

Ahhh, the things I do for those who follow my blog. One of my food quirks is that by & large, I eat salads in the summer, soups in the winter.

Oh, there are always exceptions like the odd, cold summer day or a cold soup but a hot soup in Greece with the blazing 35C heat? Yes, I ate soup.

It wasn’t just any soup but the very well-known and traditional chickpea soup of Sifnos. My last day on Sifnos was a Sunday and it would be my last and only chance to eat the real deal.

Yes, I could have eaten the soup on any other day but the Sunday soup would be special. You see, the bakeries do run on Sundays here and for many people on the island, the tradition of sending your pot of soup to the bakery to be cooked still exists.

This tradition was a necessity for many homes in the villages across Greece where they were old and not equipped to host an oven. Necessity led to resourcefulness and tradition whereby the lady of the house would take the family’s meal to the local bakery for cooking.

In Sifnos, surely there are many varieties of soups, depending on that family’s tastes (or rather the man of house’s tastes).

Each “noikokyra” (housewife) prepares the soup in a large earthenware pot and lugs the contents down to the bakery on a Saturday evening.

The chickpea soup simmers all night at the bakery until it becomes lunch time, Sunday afternoon.

I am so glad that blogging has prodded me to try ingredients I once thought I did not like. Such was the case with chickpeas. I can’t say they are my favourite ingredient but I find myself increasing my use of them each year.

They are healthy, cheap and I find quite delicious. Speaking of delicious…this chickpea soup will surprise you with it’s aroma and fabulous flavour.

There are alot of onions in this soup and the tag-along veggies of celery and carrot round out the flavours. Add a slow simmer, some good stock, a pinch of fresh ground cumin and a squeeze of lemon and you have a soup that eats like a meal.

Chickpea Soup From Sifnos (Ρεβιθάδα Σιφνέικη)

(serves 6)

2 cups of dry chick peas
1/2 cup of olive oil

2 large onions, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 stalk of celery, finely diced

3 bay leaves

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 lemon, sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
wedge of lemon and dried Greek oregano for garnish

  1. The night before, place your dried chickpeas in a bowl with the baking soda and enough water to cover the chickpeas by about 2 inches. The next morning, strain and rinse your chickpeas and reserve.
  2. Into a large pot, add your olive oil over medium heat and throw in your onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, thyme and paprika and parsley and simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes for the vegetables to soften.
  3. Now add your chickpeas, parsley, stock and slices of lemon bring to a boil and simmer medium-low heat with the lid slightly ajar for 2-3 hours or until thick the chickpeas are fork-tender.. By this time you should have a thick, chunky chick pea soup with some liquid still evident.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, serve in bowls. Add some dried Greek oregano and serve with a wedge of lemon. Top with a Shrimp and Garlic Toast.

© 2010 – 2013,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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78 Comments for “Chickpea Soup from Sifnos”

Joey

says:

Chickpeas are my favorite bean so your soup looks delicious. Only thing I would change is to make soup with no oil. But when serving pour a teaspoon or tablespoon of olive oil into each bowl. Also some minced raw garlic. Then ladle the soup in

I cook chickpeas all the time. Only buy dried chickpeas where there is good turnover. Older chickpeas can be impossible to cook. Soak 20 hours and only add salt at the end otherwise they may not get soft. 40 minutes or more to cook them. I use a pressure cooker which takes 15-20 minutes off the time

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Rosa's Yummy Yums

says:

I love chickpeas, so you soup has evrything to please me! It looks really appetizing!

Great landscape pictures too!

Cheers,

Rosa

Happy cook

says:

Really good soup.
I have never made soup with chickpeas. Does the siuo having that colour from the paparika.
Here we have soup everyday. A amsll cup before lunch, aparently it is a tradition in my in laws place so after geting married i too started doing it.

indosungod

says:

The soup looks delicious. It is also looks a lot like the Indian Chick Pea Curry (Choley) With some flat bread this should be heaven even in summer :)

yoyo

says:

This soup looks wonderful, you do get some really nice photos of your meals, and it sounds delicious. I love the little insight into the island’s tradition. too.

Antonio Tahhan

says:

my Korean friend is reading this post with me now and she laughed because just the other day was telling me that Koreans fight heat with heat and cold with cold (whatever that means). So she thought your decision was quite appropriate : )
I’d probably blast the central AC and serve myself a bowl of that soup in a heartbeat :)

kat

says:

What a great sounding soup! Matt wants me to make chickpea soup next week & this might be it. Thanks for suffering through on a hot day for us ;)

Anonymous

says:

As the clay pots used in Sifnos for chickpea soup don’t have a lid, the top of the clay pot is covered with a thick layer of bread dough. If your pot is deep enough so that the dough doesn’t touch the soup, i suggest to use the bread dough instead of a lid.

kittie

says:

Soup in Summer? Thank you Peter – we do appreciate the things you put yourself through to bring us these posts!

I love soup… and chickpeas… Throw in the cold English weather, and this could be on the menu this weekend!

Peter M

says:

Noob, it could become a new favourite.

Joey, glad you enjoy chickpeas. Our approach to the soup is different and I'm quite happy with the convenience and quality of the canned chick peas.

Rosa, they are becoming a fave for me too.

Mary, glad you liked it.

Happy, the colour's from the onions, carrot and the paprika.

Ioanna, Sifnos is very relaxed, good place to rest but yes, beautiful.

Parker, I'm glad I tried it.

Indosungod, the bread was definitely utilized.

Yoyo, glad you enjoyed…come back again.

Antonio, I've heard that too but I side with you…crank the AC!

Judy, it's super-easy and filling.

Kat, go for it, you & MAt will luv it.

Anon, I'm featring a recipe so that people can easily recreate this soup at home. I made this soup on the stovetop and in Sifnos, the soup is taken to the bakery.

It is unrealistic to ask my readers to make a large clay pot of soup in the oven overnight and to top with the bread.

As for my clay vessel with the lid, it's for presentation.

Kittie, it's getting cool here too at night and soups are creeping into my diet.

Nina Timm

says:

Two chickpea recipes in a row….I, like you did not like chickpeas much, but they are good for you so I am trying to include them in my diet. This soup is so colorful..I bet it was superb!!!

Núria

says:

What a lovely tradition!!! And those pictures, Peter… how lucky you are to spend such summer holidays! It’s so beautiful and authentic :D

I’m having that soup for sure!!! I love Chickpeas and the sight of your soup makes me drool… it’s beeing so cold here at night.

Marjie

says:

I’ll eat soup any time.

My 7th grader was reading about Greek architecture in art history and asked me why Greece is so oddly shaped. I told him confidently that it’s because that’s how the rocks rise out of the sea. I guess I need to show him some of your marvelous photos as proof! Thanks for another great travelogue.

Peter G

says:

Wonderful pics Peter! the “revithosoupa” looks lovely and hearty. I think I would also enjoy it in a warmer climate…a nice break from seafood and meat dishes.

Sandie

says:

Because you were dutiful enough to eat this in the summer (eating for your blog is such demanding work), I can reap the benefits by enjoying this soup in the fall.

It’s downright chilly here this morning, so soup nights won’t be far behind. I, for one, will be giving this chickpea soup a whirl.

Jan

says:

Loved reading the story about soup being taken to the bakery.
Peter – WHERE did you get that pot you cooked it in?? I love it and want one the very same!
The soup looks delish.

Katerina

says:

I can’t believe you don’t LOVE chickpeas, they are one of my absolute favorite things. This soup looks great and simple, though I don’t know if I would simmer it all night long…

Christophile

says:

This reminds me so much of my YiaYia in Greece taking her pans and pots to the local bakery to be baked/cooked. It’s so cool how close knit communities are in greece!

Jen of A2eatwrite

says:

Oh, this soup looks spectacular. And how fascinating about the soup on Sunday/bakery tradition!

And I’m with you on the salads versus soup thing.

Proud Italian Cook

says:

I love this soup and especially the story behind it! Im lovin the canned chickpea’s too, in a matter of minutes you have a warm and comforting meal!

Gloria

says:

Dear Peter I love this soup!! I told you are one of the most sweet friend I have in the Blog world?????LOL gLoria

Wandering Chopsticks

says:

This is my standard chickpea soup recipe too. You mean I was cooking a Greek soup all this time and didn’t know it? ;)

Peter M

says:

Nina, I like them now…they will be eaten more often.

Nuria, thanks hun…soup is so comforting and nourishing and great with the TV!

Marjie, by all means show him the photos…it's a captivating country.

Pete, by all means..I just prefer salads in the summer.

Sandie, I'm making another soup tomorrow…tis the season.

Jan, you have to come to Toronto to get one!

Kiwi, I'll try the oven version when I make a big batch.

Kat, I like them, which was a far cry from hating them just a few years ago. Everyone should re-try foods they don't like. Tastes change.

Christophile, I witnessed this too in Greece…awesome memory.

Jen, I've been that way about soups & salad for ages.

MArie, canned ceci are a great convenience ingredient.

Gloria, gracias…you ooze kindness.

Wandering…there's a little Greek in all of us…parallel universes & stuff.

Annemarie

says:

I can’t believe you were ever in doubt of the wonder of the chickpea..! I don’t buy into the whole ‘eat/drink something hot in a hot country to cool yourself down’ – frankly, it just makes me more hot. Brave of you to eat it, but think of the poor woman who had to stand over the boiling pot and cook it!

Helene

says:

I do like soups any time of the year. I’m glad you’re still posting pictures of your trip.

giz

says:

I already know I love chickpeas – maybe this could work in my tagine – it looks entirely wonderful Pe’er.

Julie

says:

This soup sounds fabulous. I bet that squeeze of lemon at the end puts the flavor right over the edge. And I love the thought of everyone taking their soup to the village bakery to cook. I’ve read about this happening in Italian villages but didn’t know it happened in Greece too.

Bellini Valli

says:

I tried a soup in Athens for hangovers and I couldn’t resist the Avgolomeno even if it was 40C. This soup looks equally as delicious. Love the earthen ware pots on the doorstep too:D

Paula

says:

Be still my heart! I eat soup year round, and this one is a keeper for sure! And saints be praised I have all the ingredients on hand! YUM!

Hélène

says:

I don’t like soups in summer (or with something crispy or with pieces) but I love chickpeas and onion. Here it’s nearly winter, cold and wet. Your pictures makes me dream about holidays.

joanne at frutto della passione

says:

This looks amazing!!! I have no problem eating soup in the summer, especially when we go hiking. I can taste this with chunks of crusty bread and maybe some cheese to go with it … sorry, having a Homer Simpson moment.

VG

says:

Hi Peter

VG from Australia and first time to your blog.

Your food looks so delicious and tempting. I have a feeling I am going to be venturing into Greek food now ;)

Your blog is definately on my fav list.

Emiline

says:

My family is kind of weird about chickpeas. They claim they don’t like them. I, however, love them. They’re so nutty and delicious. I’ve got to add them to a soup.

Haha, one of your interests is women. I just noticed that on your profile.

PS your cupcakes are in the mail.
Just kidding. I’ve been lazy.

canarygirl

says:

I of course am a freak that eats soup year round. For breakfast even. lol This one is a must try! Love me some garbanzos…and I loved the story about taking the food to the bakery to simmer through the night. :)

RecipeGirl

says:

I loved reading about the soup background. Why don’t we have such wonderful traditions here in the US (or Canada, for that matter)?

Chickpeas are a favorite of mine. I eat them plain, roasted, swirled into hummus, thrown on top of salads… and as the star of a soup I think sounds wonderful.

Maria

says:

I too didn’t like revithia a short while ago but have really grown to love them. I make them a lot now and my kids love them too. This sounds like a great recipe to try as I haven’t made soup with them yet. Perfect hearty soup for fall and winter here in NY!

Grace

says:

i’d eat the hottest soup on the hottest day of the year if it looked and sounded like this concoction. hooray for chickpeas. :)

Lo

says:

:) I’m smiling at you because I feel the same way about soup. But, this batch looks like it was worth the sacrifice!

And heck, I’ll let you talk soup to me in the heat anytime!

Peter M

says:

Annemarie, cooking in the summer in Greece is labour but we have to eat, no?

Helene, still more photos to be shared.

Giz, great idea for chick peas!

Natashya, thanks, I wanna go back.

Julie, exactly…just a lil squeeze.

Val, that row on earthenware are actually night lights!

Kalyn, hope you enjoy!

Paula, sounds good…let me know how it turns out.

Helene, this is perfect for those cold, wet nights.

Joanne, no probs with the Homer moment,DOH!

VG, thanks alot and welcome!

Emiline, try sneaking chick peas in some food…they like them, they just don’t know it. Also, patiently waiting….

Nikki, no worries, I eat enough soup in the winter for the whole year!

Lori, it’s part of the magic of the old country.

Maria, we’re in the same boat…gotta love’em!

Grace, really? Even if it contained seafood?

Lo, thanks…I’ll stick to my soup vs/ salad regimen but please…have a bowl!

Holler

says:

That is such a beautiful soup Peter. It is nice to see the chickpeas floating in the clear soup and I cannot tell you how much I like those terracotta pots on that stairwell. Bring me one back next time ;)

Nicole

says:

What an interesting story! So funny. And your photos… You are killing me. I haven’t traveled in so long and I sooo want to see Greece sometime. It just looks gorgeous.

Bridgett

says:

This reminds me of a pasta e ceci soup my grandmother used to make. Looks delicious and bring back memories!

Anonymous

says:

Peter,
I made this soup for my dinner last evening. I just want to thank you for the recipe. It is delicious!

Bharti

says:

What a gorgeous soup. I would love to make it in my crockpot. Those urns int he picture are beautiful! My first time here- you have amazing blog!

melissa

says:

I feel the same way about chickpeas but they’re growing on me.

Forget the heat – when I feel like having soup, I just go for it. I love soups way too much.

says:

Thanks for the recipe, Peter! I will surely be trying this out soon as I love, love love garbanzos. And now that I’m living in Portland – this rainy weather warrants serious soup eating. I can’t agree with you more about using dried beans.

Jeffrey Breaux

says:

yes, it’s a lovely soup, but I prepare it the way that I’ve been told by Greeks in Greece it was done before the modern addition of carrot, celery and stock. I use only chickpeas soaked overnight and rinsed, sliced onion, a good amount xtra virg olive oil, (and maybe bay leaf, a clove of peeled whole garlic per your taste, but usually no)……..cover with three inches of water in a pot and bring to a boil then simmer it stove top (if you don’t have a bakers oven nearby!) for about three to five hours covered, adding water as needed and seasoning it to taste at the end, before serving. The addition of the mirepoix and bone stock is a more modern addition, more French than Greek. By using mainly onion, chicpeas and oil…..and the long and slow cooking method….this is where the magic happens. You could swear in the final product that there’s chicken stock in there, but there isn’t. It’s so rich and delicious you just can’t stop eating it! This is the beauty of Greek cookery. Simplicity of ingredients that come together in amazing flavor. I also serve it with lemon wedges to squeeze over at the table.
They do a similar dish in Crete….sometimes with fish. There are so many variations on this dish throughout the Greek islands, but Sifnos is known especially for their revithia!
cheers,
Jeffrey Breaux
Athens

says:

Thank Jeffrey for the comment and relating the old’school wau of making the Revithada. I’ve had the more basic version as well but I still prefer my take for taste. The readers have a choice to make either version or a version of their own.

says:

Ρεβυθάδα!!!!
Τι μου θύμισες Peter!!!
Η Σίφνος είναι από τα αγαπημένα μου νησιά, πανέμορφη!!!
Καλή βδομάδα εύχομαι!

says:

I love your new photos Peter, and I think dried chickpeas are always better than the canned ones. However, canned ones are an easy solution for salads and dips like hummus. Unfortunately I tried locating some the other day in the supermarket and apperntly we don’t get any canned ones here. Isn’t that odd??

Niko

says:

Absolutely amazing! Made it last night with canned chick peas, so I can only imagine how much better with the fresh ones—will have to try that soon. The lemon really makes this dish special. A must try!

Thanks Peter!