Brodo di Ceci (chickpea soup)

Would you rather…never be able to eat your favorite food for the rest of your life OR only be able to eat your favorite food, but nothing else? I struggle with this question as a food lover, but my final answer is the latter. And, that food of choice…that would have to be Nonna’s Chickpea Soup (Brodo di Ceci).

If you aren’t on the chickpea train yet, then more chickpeas for me. Let me give you some background here as you might be surprised to hear that chickpea soup, of all things, is my favorite food.

To say my Nonna (Italian for “grandmother”) spoiled me is an understatement. She would always ask me, “what would you like me to cook tonight, amore” in her thick Italian accent. My answer would always be chickpea soup. Then, she’d remind me mid-dinner, “I cooked this just for you, cicci.” Now, she doesn’t even have to ask. If I’m going to Nonna’s for dinner, I know chickpea soup will be on the menu. And, yes, she still calls me “cicci.”

Some of Italy’s best loved dishes use beans or “fagioli” as the main event. Beans (legumes) are a great source of fiber, Brodo di Ceci 2contain more protein than most vegetables & are a good alternative to meat. Did I mention how good they taste, too? Are you on the chickpea train, yet?


It’s important to soak the chickpeas overnight to allow the beans to absorb the liquid and grow in size. Soaking also helps to remove the indigestible sugars in the beans. Your digestion system will thank me later.

You can replace dried beans with canned chickpeas to remove the overnight soaking step. This will also decrease your overall cooking time. However, I find using the traditional dried beans along with the overnight soaking method results in a tastier chickpea soup.

Tip: Add a teaspoon of baking soda when soaking chickpeas overnight to help the beans remain intact when cooking.

While I didn’t “invent” this dish on my own, I learned it (among many other recipes) from cooking alongside my “Nonna.” If you are craving a homemade dish that might remind you of your own “nonna,’ try this brodo di ceci. 


Nonna's Chickpea Soup (Brodo di Ceci)
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 4
  • 16 oz Dried Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 stalks Celery with leaves
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes firm
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Soak chickpeas combined with baking power overnight in 2 quarts (8 cups) water

  2. Drain & rinse chickpeas

  3. In a medium sized pot, place the chickpeas & cover with water (water should be ~1 inch over chickpeas)

  4. Bring chickpeas to a boil

  5. Lower heat to a simmer & cook chickpeas for 60 minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon

  6. Saute celery, garlic & tomatoes in 2 tbs. olive oil for 5 minutes adding salt & pepper to taste

  7. Add vegetable mixture & 1/4 cup olive oil to the pot of chickpeas. Continue cooking for another 25 minutes

  8. Add salt & pepper to taste

  9. Garnish with celery leaves & olive oil to serve

Recipe Notes

Only use a wooden spoon when cooking beans, as a metal spoon will halt the cooking of the beans.