Brothy Chickpea Soup with Lemon, Fennel & Sumac, infused with Middle Eastern spices, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs. Vegan and Gluten-free.  ( This can also be made in an Instant Pot, see recipe notes) 

Brothy Chickpea Soup with Lemon, Fennel & Sumac. A healthy vegan soup, full of flavor! #vegansoup #chickpeasoup #chickpeastew #veganrecipes #plantbased #garbanzobeans

This soul-warming, Brothy Chickpea Soup with Lemon, Fennel and Sumac is seasoned with Middle Eastern spices is just what the doctor ordered on a cold winter’s night. Serve it with toaty pita bread or over warm quinoa, and drizzle with olive oil, or with flavorful zhoug, a spicy Middle Eastern Cilantro Sauce.  Hearty and filling, this flavorful vegan soup satisfies!

On the home front: Brian and I have been trying to embrace winter and get outside and just be in it.  Or rather I should say, Brian is embracing it fully … and I am trying. Ha.

We spent the New Year in Nelson, BC and skied in the sunshine and hung out with friends. Good for the soul. Here, back at home, it’s rainy and dreary. To help fend off the winter blues, we’ve been making a point of lighting candles, drinking chai, and making things feel extra cozy. Also, if you’ve been here a while, you’ll already know my secret weapon in the kitchen. Lemons!

So bright and cheery, the aroma alone uplifts. They’ve been in my morning water, added to hot tea, and are the inspiration for this soup. I hope you enjoy!

chickpea soup with fennel

This Chickpea Soup can be made with dry or canned chickpeas. ***If using dry chickpeas, make sure to soak them in water for 10-24 hours first.

It starts with sauteeing an onion.

Saute the onion.

Dice fennel bulb.

Brothy Chickpea Soup with Lemon, Fennel & Sumac. A healthy vegan soup, full of flavor! #vegansoup #chickpeasoup #chickpeastew #veganrecipes #plantbased #garbanzobeans

Dice Celery and garlic.

Saute with the onion.

Saute the fennel and onion are sautéed for 5-10 minutes, then add the soaked chickpeas, broth water and spice.

Cook until the chickpeas are tender, about 20 minutes.

Squeeze with lemon, and serve with fresh dill or parsley (or both!) and a drizzle of olive oil.

Brothy Chickpea Soup with Lemon, Fennel & Sumac. A healthy vegan soup, full of flavor! #vegansoup #chickpeasoup #chickpeastew #veganrecipes #plantbased #garbanzobeans

Serve it on its own or over quinoa for a thicker stew.

Lemony Chickpea Soup with Fennel, served over warm quinoa with flavorful Zhoug. A healthy vegan Middle Eastern-inspired soup, full of flavor! #vegansoup #chickpeasoup #chickpeastew #veganrecipes #plantbased #cleaneating #eatclean #detoxsoup

The lemon and sumac give the chickpea soup life, waking it up with a delicious brightness. Perfect for winter.

Lemony Chickpea Soup with Fennel & Sumac served over warm quinoa with flavorful Zhoug. A healthy vegan soup, full of flavor! #vegansoup #chickpeasoup #chickpeastew #veganrecipes #plantbased #cleaneating #eatclean #detoxsoup

But to me, it is the zhoug sauce, with its hint of cardamom, that really elevates this Brothy Chickpea Soup to its highest potential – so give it a try if you have time!

More soups you may enjoy


Brothy Chickpea Soup with Lemon, Fennel & Sumac. A healthy vegan soup, full of flavor! #vegansoup #chickpeasoup #chickpeastew #veganrecipes #plantbased #garbanzobeans

Hope your New Year is off to a healthy and delicious start. Hope you enjoy this Brothy Chickpea Soup. 



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Lemony Chickpea Soup with Fennel and Sumac

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 21 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: soup, vegan, stew
  • Method: stove top or instant pot
  • Cuisine: middle eastern
  • Diet: Vegan


Lemony Brothy Chickpea Soup with Fennel & Sumac – a soul warming vegan soup that is healthy and flavorful.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked 8-24 hours (or sub 2 14-ounce cans, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced.
  • 1 extra-large fennel bulb,chopped ( about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • —–
  • 24 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of chili flakes, aleppo or Urfa Biber (Turkish Chili Flakes)
  • Garnish: fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley ( or both- even better), olive oil or zhoug sauce.

Serve with pita breadcrusty bread or serve over cooked grains (like quinoa). All optional.



If using dry beans, soak in a big bowl of water for 8 to 24 hours.

In a large dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes, stirring, add fennel, celery and garlic, lower heat to medium and cook 3-4 more minutes until fragrant. Add broth, water, chickpeas, salt, cumin, coriander, optional sumac , bay leaves, and dried thyme.  Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer gently on medium-low for 25-35 minutes, or until chickpeas are tender.

Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and taste. It if tastes bland, it needs salt.  Add the optional chili flakes.

Divide among bowls and garnish with olive oil (or zhoug) and a generous amount of fresh herbs.  Serve with pita bread or crusty bread, or ladle over a bowl of cooked grains (like quinoa).


You could make this in the instant pot, but make sure to soak the chickpeas first. My first attempt failed. I tried this with unsoaked dry chickpeas, 35 minutes on high pressure, but the fennel bulb turned out WAY overcooked. Soaked garbanzos took only 12 minutes in on high setting in the Instant Pot, and fennel kept its shape.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 244
  • Sugar: 8.5 g
  • Sodium: 507.6 mg
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.3 g
  • Fiber: 7.2 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. The Lemon Chickpea soup with fennel and sumac was amazing! Will definitely make again, but I will use the stalk and greens from the fennel too. Delicious combo of flavors.

    1. to add: I like chick peas a little mushy or I would cook it longer or have half of it blend to break them. Thanks, Silvia, all cheack pea and lentils are the best, keep them coming.

  2. Great soup, but 20 minutes for dried chickpeas even when soaked was unrealistic. I think the chickpeas need to be cooked separately or given at least a 45 minutes head start on the vegetables if you cook them in the broth.

    1. Hi Bri- sometimes bigger chickpeas or older chickpeas can take longer. Soaking the full 24 hours usually helps them cook the fastest.

  3. Hi, Sylvia! It actually snowed on top of our local mountain here in Boise today, so now I’m hunting for soup. This sounds amazing except for the fennel – I really dislike any anise flavored. Can you please recommend a substitute?

  4. This was really good. I can’t stop eating it. thank you!!I love your recipes and you are the only one I am subscribed to! Wish the recipes were coming Thursday or so when I plan my shopping but it’s because grocery stores are closed on Sundays where I live.

    1. Hey Anna- thanks for the feedback, will think about this! You can always check the site on Thursdays too. 😉

  5. This is a wonderful, comforting bowl of soup that’s perfect for winter lunches. I love Zhoug with this, along with some pita bread for dipping into the broth. I’m trying to eat vegan during the week, and recipes like this make it easy!

  6. Love all the ingredients in your Lemony Chickpea Soup, especially the pairing of fennel, one of my favorite veggies, with sumac, a match made in heaven. I have recently discovered sumac and love its flavors. The blend I get from the Middle Eastern store near my home has nuances of orange so it will pair beautifully with this recipe. I’ll will also be trying the Zhoug sauce for a first time. I’m a fan of cilantro and cardamon and am excited about experimenting with new pairing possibilities with this sauce. The Tomato and artichoke soup with tarragon and fennel recipe also sounds fab as well, right down my alley flavorwise.
    Thank you so much for your creative and flavor-forward recipes.

  7. I made this right after the holidays and forgot the chickpeas until it was halfway gone. This was the perfect soothing, nourishing, almost cleanse like soup that I needed. After being reminded of it in this post, I’m making it again this weekend. I won’t forget the chick peas this time!

  8. Delicious! A great way to use my chickpeas. And my first time using sumac. My whole family loved this one.

  9. I’ve made this a few times now and each time it’s such a delicious hit. Flavorful, hearty and perfect for rainy nights. The zhoug is a *must* and I love it with a dollop of coconut yogurt and some rustic vegan/gf sourdough bread. This recipe is a keeper!

  10. This is another one of your wonderful and delicious recipes. I love it now in the summer and I cannot wait to eat it in the winter. I am so grateful, Sylvia.

  11. This soup is SOOO delicious! Oddly, I’ve never eaten fennel before, but this soup has made me a fan. I made it as directed (without the sumac, because I couldn’t find any), but I used both dried dill and fresh dill as a garnish.

  12. This was delicious! I made half the recipe and ate it on top of some freekeh and it was both tasty and filling! I will definitely be making this again.

  13. Really tasty recipe. I added some fresh curly paresly at the end just because I had some that needed to be used.
    It would be helpful to have ingredients like coriander, specified as spice or herb, and spices generally as whole or ground

  14. We love this soup so much in our house. We have this recipe on regular rotation. The zhoug elevates the soup to extreme levels of yum. So easy, so, so good.

  15. I just discovered your blog. Your recipes are wonderful! This soup is totally delicious. I made it with fresh garlic scapes from the garden rather than garlic cloves, served it with zhoug and at room temperature along with fresh garden greens & homemade crusty bread for a lovely summer Colorado Mountain supper.

  16. Oh my gosh…so delicious and easy to make on a week night after work. Definitely will be part of our week night dinner rotation!!!

  17. You were in my hometown when I was there!! How fun! It was a wonderful white Christmas this year. I just saw this while adding a bunch of recipes to my collection today ❤️

  18. On a wintery Spokane night Lemony Chickpea soup really hits the spot! Even without the Zhoug it is flavorful and just the right amount of lemon, taking us back for seconds. Love your recipes, Sylvia, and your well thought out way of cooking for all kinds of eaters, no one goes away hungry.

  19. This looks amazing. I absolutely love all of your pictures. You really get to see the process of the whole recipe. These flavors sound like they work so well together. Thanks for sharing!

  20. We just made this for dinner tonight (with the zhoug, of course) and it was a hit. The arugula was a perfect addition for peppery flavor and color and even our kids enjoyed the meal. We opted for two seeded jalapeños in the zhoug and it was just right for us.

  21. This was so good! The Zough made it heavenly! I made it this evening and my family really loved it. Thank you Sylvia for this recipe and all the others.
    Love from Holland!

      1. Do you think adding beef broth would be appropriate for this recipe or would the flavors be off? Looks so delicious!

        1. I think chicken broth would be better- but beef wouldn’t be horrible- just having a hard time picturing it! I bet it would be fine!

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