Lablabi (Tunisian Chickpea Soup)

Lablabi (Tunisian Chickpea Soup)

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  • For soup:
  • 2 cups (1 pound) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 8-10 cups water (if you want your soup to be really thick and stew-like, use 8 cups, but if you like your soup thinner, use 10)
  • pinch safron
  • 3–4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the flat side of a cleaver
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 cups minced sweet onion (1 large)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp salt, separated (or more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • For garnish:
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • harissa
  • poached eggs
  • drizzle high-quality evoo


Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas, then transfer them to a soup pot, large saucepan, or Dutch oven, along with the water, safron and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook until the chickpeas are completely tender, about an hour.

Meanwhile, place a medium skillet over medium heat for about a minute, then add the evoo and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion and cumin, and cook, stirring, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the onion becomes soft. Add the minced garlic and 1 tsp of the salt, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Cover and cook over the lowest possible heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir, deglazing the pan and scraping up the fond.

After the chickpeas are very tender, add the onion-garlic mixture, scraping in as much as you can of whatever adhered to the pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and grind in a generous amount of black pepper to taste.

Cover and let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes or so before serving.