Gluten-free, Soups, Stews and Sandwiches, Special Diets, Vegan/Vegetarian

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

Nicoletta December 5, 2017

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Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne), a delicious, hearty, creamy, vegan and gluten-free soup, traditional in many Regions of Central Italy and with all the good flavors of chickpeas, chestnuts, rosemary, and sage.

Song of the day: Better When I’m Dancin’, by Meghan Trainor.

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

As the weather gets colder, I find myself thinking how cool it would be to hibernate like some animals do. When the weather is hostile, they find a way to cope by sleeping through the winter, being inactive, and waking up only at the first signs of Spring.

 

 

When I am in Canada, and the weather is cold and unfriendly to me, I tend to stay indoors most of the time, and if it wasn’t for Loreto pushing me to get out, I would “hibernate” until the snow melts away and the flowers start to bloom. All the activities I usually do, like going to yoga and jazzercise, become a burden, mostly because I do not drive and have to rely on public transportation which means walking and waiting at bus stops in adverse weather conditions. To reduce that, I moved jazzercise classes at night when Loreto can drive me, but even then, when it’s almost time to go, I start mumbling how nice and warm it is in the house, look, outside is dark, I haven’t gone out all day why do I have to go out now that it’s  colder, and I get into the daily pattern of not wanting to put my nose out the door. Loreto has to push me most of the times, but the funny thing is, when he comes to pick me up, at the end of the class, he asks me “Aren’t you glad you went?”, and I always say “Yes”! Definitely, I feel better when I’m dancing, lol! The things he has to do, poor guy!

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

In those colder months when I kind of hibernate in the house, baking and cooking are my main activities. Well, I’d rather bake all the time, but occasionally I like to make some traditional Italian recipes, like pasta dishes and soups, always a very welcomed meal.

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne), is an old, traditional, recipe, popular in Central Italy with some very little variations from Region to Region.

It usually starts with dried chickpeas that you soak overnight and then boil for a couple of hours in water flavored with bay leaf and rosemary. The chestnuts are fresh, and you also need to boil those and then peel and crumble. TIP: if you do not have the patience of your grandma, and want to drastically reduce the times, use canned chickpeas and packaged cooked and peeled chestnuts. I’m not going to tell anybody, lol!

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

The Chickpea Chestnut Soup can have the consistency you most like, thinner, or dense and creamy, according to the number of chickpeas you are going to puree. I like mine dense, smooth, and velvety, so I usually purée half the chickpeas. The chestnuts, other than bringing a buttery, nutty and sweet flavor to the dish, contribute to the diverse texture of the soup. I am a chestnut lover, for me, Autumn tastes like chestnuts and even the holidays wouldn’t be the same without my beloved roasted chestnuts. But I have to tell you that also Loreto, who isn’t a fan like me, loved this soup.

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

This soup says warm hug right from the start giving nothing but comfort and love. The look is velvety and creamy with that streak of olive oil and the rosemary and sage giving us a nice pop of color and richness. As my spoon stirs the soup these lovely morsels of chestnut and chickpea are discovered and I can only imagine the burst of flavor they are going to deliver. The first taste reveals that luxuriously rich texture and flavor. The chickpeas, nice and nutty with a slight crunch. Did I mention that I was a huge fan of chestnuts, lol? These nicely cooked morsels give a sweet butteriness to the soup that pairs so well with the aromatics and strength of the herbs and that grassy hue of the olive oil just smoothens the textures and notes of this soup so well. To offset all that smoothness, the crunchy ever so flavorful croutons infused with seasoning, olive oil, and rosemary, are a delightful surprise. When I asked Loreto if he liked the Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne), he replied: ” I just went from driving an Econo class car to sitting in a Bentley”. I guess he liked it, lol.

Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: Better When I’m Dancin’, by Meghan Trainor.

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Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 15 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne), a delicious, hearty, creamy, vegan and gluten-free soup, traditional in many Regions of Central Italy and with all the good flavors of chickpeas, chestnuts, rosemary, and sage.


Ingredients

  • 150 g (3/4 cup) dried chickpeas
  • 150 g boiled, peeled, fresh chestnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole, slightly smashed
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • Croutons for topping (g.f if you’re going gluten-free)

Instructions

  1. Soak the dried chickpeas with a touch of coarse salt for at least 12 hours (I start the night before).
  2. The next day rinse them and add them to a pot with 2 cups of cold water.
  3. Add the bay leaf and a sprig of rosemary, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, or until tender. With a colander, drain them and set them aside, while keeping the cooking water.
  4. In another pot on the stove, add the fresh chestnuts and cold water, and boil for about half an hour. Allow to cool a bit, then peel, removing the tougher outer skin and the inner skin as well. (Do not wait till they are completely cold or they will be harder to peel).
  5. Crumble 3/4 of the chestnuts with your hands (leaving some whole or in chunks for final texture).
  6. Puree about half of the chickpeas and some of the water with a blender (it helps achieve the smooth, creamy texture).
  7. In another pot, add 2 tablespoons of e.v.o. oil, garlic, sage and chopped rosemary. Add chili flakes, if using.
  8. Add the chickpeas, whole and pureed, the crumbled (and whole) chestnuts, salt and pepper.
  9. Pour the chickpea cooking liquid, and some more water, if necessary.
  10. Simmer for half an hour.
  11. Toss the croutons in a saute pan with e.v.o. oil, salt, pepper, rosemary until golden.
  12. Serve the soup in a bowl with a little drizzle of olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, and the toasted croutons.

Notes

The total time includes the soaking of the dried chickpeas (12 hours), and the cooking of the chickpeas (2 hours) and chestnuts (half an hour). To considerably reduce the times, use canned chickpeas and packaged cooked and peeled chestnuts.

Chickpea Chestnut Soup (Zuppa di Ceci e Castagne)

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6 Comments

  • Reply Nicole December 6, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I can definitely relate to wanting to hibernate all winter. I grew up on the east coast and suffered many freezing winters. The wind is the worst! Now I feel spoiled living in BC. Haha. This soup looks incredible and so comforting. I’ve never had chestnuts in soup, but desperately want to try this recipe out now. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 7, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Thank you, Nicole! This is such a great soup, full of delicate flavors, slightly sweet, and so creamy and comforting. Hope you try it!

  • Reply thefoodblognet December 8, 2017 at 10:46 am

    This soup sounds absolutely delicious and would help to make winter more bearable. And I would definitely take the short cuts, since I don’t have the grandmother’s patience. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 8, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Thanks! It is delicious, with such a lovely sweetness from the chestnuts! The shortcut will save you a lot of time, but I like using dried beans. Even for the minestrone we just did we started from dried cannellini beans. I guess I’m old inside 😉 …

  • Reply Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper December 8, 2017 at 11:12 am

    This sounds so delicious! I’ve never cooked with chestnuts but I can just imagine the creaminess of it. Just like Loretto said, the Bentley of soup! haha

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 8, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Hi Gabrielle, the soup is so delicious! I love chestnuts so for me the flavor of this soup is like heaven, and they do add a lovely creaminess. Thank you!! 😉

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