chickpea fennel soup basil pesto

Adding a dollop of basil pesto to this middle Eastern tasting soup, transforms the dish into something truly unique.

Chickpea Fennel Soup With Basil Pesto

Leaning on the kitchen counter with a pen and a note pad, I pondered as I looked out the window hoping to create something flavorsome with the gorgeous fennel I’d just purchased. Bulbous, white, with green fonds, fennel has a strong anise (think black licorice) flavor and famously pairs well with citrus. I could make another salad but I wanted to try something a little different this time. This Chickpea fennel soup with basil pesto recipe came to me when I saw canned tomatoes sitting atop of my fridge, and a handful of basil that had no more than a day left before their expiry date. ‘Soups on!’ I thought as I put on my Hello Kitty apron and began experimenting.

sliced fennel in stew pot

Did you know that fennel is related to carrot, dill and parsley?

Last week, Ben and I had good friends from Toronto over for a visit. Living in a city as famous and vibrant as NYC means we have lots of visitors on a regular basis, which I love since friends are extremely important in my life. This also means many dinners and drinks out and about.

One of my good friends Kristen and myself, goofing around in Brooklyn Heights.

One of my good friends Kristen and myself, goofing around in Brooklyn Heights.

Now that they’ve gone, I’m left with a teeny belly slightly protruding when I sit on the couch. Too many craft beers, cheese plates, cured meats and pizzas! So this week I’m bringing out the soup and veggie brigade to zap it away!

vegetables boiling in broth

Once the fennel and other vegetables have cooked for a few minutes, add tomatoes and broth, and simmer for 30 minutes.

I still want to feel full though, so making something like a chickpea fennel soup with basil pesto is perfect because you get plenty of flavors and protein, yet it’s low in fat and calories. Chickpeas are great for quickly curbing your appetite while fennel is very high in potassium (helping in the conduction of electrolytes through your body), vitamin C (essential for producing collagen and repairing skin tissues) and fiber.

blender with basil and olive oil

You can have fun creating your own favorite pesto with fresh herbs, olive oil and a mini blender. Extremely easy!

The spoonful of basil pesto made with parmesan, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and basil is the star of this dish. Add a little into your bowl and all of a sudden the flavors are singing and dancing across your lips and taste buds. It is so good!! It tastes like a gourmet vegetable soup. You can serve a big bowl of chickpea fennel soup with bread and a kale Caesar salad, or as a starter to a chicken and pepper stew – or other bright and colorful dishes. This recipe makes 6-8 bowls.

blended basil, olive oil, garlic

Add grated parmesan after blending basil and stir. A small spoonful goes a long way!


Chickpea fennel soup with basil pesto

A meal in a soup! Filling and hearty, this tomato based chickpea fennel soup will leave you wanting more.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Vegetarian


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon sage (finely chopped (optional))
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 14 ounce can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 14.5 ounce can whole plum tomatoes
  • 2 leaves bay
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bulb fennel (sliced into half moons)
  • 2 carrots (chopped bite size)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped bite size)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth

For the basil pesto:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 leaves basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pot over high heat, add olive oil, onions, sage, thyme and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add fennel, chickpeas, carrots, celery, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add oregano, parsley, paprika and white wine, and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Finally, add canned tomatoes, bay leaves, vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of basil pesto.

For the basil pesto:

  1. In a blender, add garlic, olive oil and basil. Blend until smooth. Put the mixture in a bowl, add parmesan and mix well.
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes


Pickled Plum is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to