tomato chickpea & coconut soup

tomato chickpea & coconut soup (vegan) / @loveandlemons

This is the perfect pantry soup. I’m even betting that most of you have these ingredients on hand already. We’re all about fresh eating around here, but there’s nothing wrong with opening up a few cans from time to time… especially in the middle of winter when you crave tomato soup and tomatoes are not in season.

The soup is basically: 1 can of tomatoes, 1 can of chickpeas, and (part of) 1 can of coconut milk. The chickpeas thicken the soup and the coconut creates a creamy, velvety texture without adding real cream. For a lighter soup, you can use light coconut milk or—get this!—the leftover watery milk from the can after you’ve made coconut cream.

Of course no tomato soup would be complete without grilled cheese. I’m sure you don’t need a recipe… a good simple grilled cheese is really about good ingredient choices. At the moment I’m particularly fond of this combo: Sourdough from Easy Tiger, Champagne Cheddar from Whole Foods, with a spread of my favorite dijon mustard and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. (sub Daiya cheese if I’m feeling vegan-ish). Grill on a cast iron grill pan. Dunk in soup.

tomato chickpea & coconut soup
 
Serves: serves 4 as a side
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (or half of a large one), chopped
  • 2 big garlic cloves, no need to chop
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika (or combo of both)
  • salt, pepper
  • splash of balsamic or sherry vinegar (1 tablespoon or so)
  • 1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • a few pinches of sugar (optional)
  • fresh thyme - leaves from 2-3 sprigs, & extra for garnish
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (rinsed, drained), plus extra to add at the end
  • 1 cup coconut milk, full fat or light
  • 1.5 cups water
  • optional (for a richer soup): ¼ cup parmesan cheese or vegan nutritional yeast
  • red chile flakes & a drizzle of olive oil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, garlic a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the paprika(s) and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so). Add a good splash of balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the tomatoes, sugar and thyme leaves. Stir, then add the chickpeas, coconut milk and water. Cover and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes. Uncover and let cool slightly.
  2. Transfer to a blender and puree. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the cheese (only if you want to), and additional water to thin the soup, if necessary.
  3. Add additional whole chickpeas and top bowls with extra thyme leaves, red chile flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches for dunking, and extra balsamic on the side.
Notes
This soup tastes better the longer it sits (especially the next day)… so this would be a great one to make in advance.

If you don't like coconut, use heavy cream in place of the coconut milk.

If you don't have fresh thyme you can add dried thyme (or oregano) leaves, just add less (1/2 teaspoon or so).

95 comments

  1. Quyen from liveitinerantly.com on said:

    If you get a good quality brand of canned foods, there is nothing wrong with canning! Everything is always in season and some of the work is done for you. Take San Marzano canned tomatoes. I could never get fresh tomatoes to taste like that! Great recipe. Thanks!

  2. Katrina @ WVS from warmvanillasugar.com on said:

    This flavour is killer!! I bet this is a tiny bowl of heaven…and love…heavenly love.

  3. Nicola from becausefoodislife.com on said:

    This is my kind of soup. Love the addition of coconut milk and additional chickpeas at the end for texture. I’ve been in the mood for tomato soup as well (evident in my last blog post). So comforting but still healthy- perfect for January!

  4. Andrea on said:

    What size can of tomatoes? I am excited to make this!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      oops! 14-oz… just updated it in the recipe, thanks for pointing that out!

      • Andrea on said:

        Thank you :)

        • Andrea on said:

          Made this tonight. Very very tasty but next time, if the plan is to serve with grilled cheese, I might not use any chick peas at all–I found the additional texture (fiber) of the blended chickpeas took away from the creaminess imparted by the coconut milk. For a more stand-alone soup-as-a-meal, the chickpeas do make it more filling and I might add the reserved chickpeas and toss in a few dark rye croutons :)

          This one is a keeper, thank you!

  5. Kathryn from londonbakes.com on said:

    The simplicity of this makes me so happy. Such a beauty of a recipe Jeanine!

  6. I’ve had a soup similar to this at a restaurant in Portland. Although they added a little orange juice to the soup. Sounds weird but it totally worked! Love this recipe.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I always add a pinch of sugar to cut down the tartness of the tomatoes – orange juice sounds like a nice (more natural) substitution for that. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com on said:

    What a perfect combination! I am all about the soups this winter (and, er, every winter), so I’m excited to give this one a try. :)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Eileen, me too, I can’t get enough :)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      us too :)

  8. Mareen [eeny] from eenysuniverse.blogspot.com on said:

    yum. that sounds amazingly delicious. definitely going to try it tomorrow. i have some leftover coconut milk in the fridge from yesterdays green thai curry. the joy of cooking for one – leftover ingredients.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      technically, I cook for two but I ALWAYS seem to have part of a coconut can in the fridge :) Hope you like!

  9. Kiki from kikisparlour.blogspot.co.uk on said:

    Can’t wait to try this one out

  10. Allie Mackin from allienyc.com on said:

    Oh my, I so have to try this!!

    Allie of ALLIE NYC
    allienyc.com

  11. Melissa from thefauxmartha.com on said:

    Pantry cooking is saving my life these days. Bookmarking this one!

  12. My husband would be delighted by this recipe. He’s a grilled cheese and tomato soup type of man. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe!

  13. Sandra Lea on said:

    I don’t see wine in the list of ingredients but your directions say to add wine. How much?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      oops! the second time I made this, I ended up omitting and found that didn’t make much of a difference to the overall taste. Originally, I had it where I have the vinegar, and then I did a splash of vinegar at the end… but it’s entirely not necessary. Thanks for pointing that out – good eye :)

  14. georgette on said:

    your recipe called for wine or did I miss read it help

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Georgette – see my reply to the comment above – it’s not actually necessary, I used it in the first round of my recipe and when I remade it I realized it wasn’t necessary… I just forgot to change it in the instruction area. (fixed now).

  15. What a delicious-sounding combination of ingredients. I would never have thought of combining tomato with coconut but I can see how it would go really well. And I would definitely plump for the addition of the grilled cheese!
    Lovely blog in general by the way!

  16. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com on said:

    I do have all these on hand! What a perfect week night meal!

  17. meg from liquidsunshineak.com on said:

    Yum! This looks excellent

  18. Jack's sister on said:

    My favorite combo! What does adding whole chickpeas at the end do for you? Is it a texture thing for taste or to thicken it up a bit? I only ask because I think I would want to purée them all but not sure what I’d be missing…and did you save some for me? :-)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      just for fun – you don’t have to add them at the end if you don’t want to :) (Although I would blend the 1 cup before you add them all – taste and decide if you want to add more. It might end up too thick).

  19. Susana from tertuliadasusy.blogspot.pt on said:

    Maravilhoso, simplesmente maravilhoso!
    Bjs

  20. Great recipe, you always have great recipes. Absolutely love your blog

  21. Ritu on said:

    Omg…this is simmering away on the stove. The house smells divine and it tastes delicious!! Your recipe looked so good, but I can never follow a recipe exactly (gotta add extra hidden veggies and use up what I have in the fridge, right?!). I made a few changes: I added about 3/4 of a cup of chopped carrots and 1/4 cup chopped zuchinni, I added 1/2 cup more coconut milk, I used Italian seasoning in place of thyme, I added a splash of soy sauce, and since I had already used some of my last can of tomatoes, I added in about a T of tomato paste.
    Yum!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Ritu, so glad you like it (so far)!

      A+ for some tasty-sounding adaptations (I can’t follow recipes exactly either!)

  22. Lee on said:

    Delicious! Can you tell me where the beautiful spoon in the picture is from?

  23. Liese on said:

    I’ll be trying this out but with a careful eye to BPA in canned foods. AFAIK Muir Glen is the only company that doesn’t have BPA lining in their cans. I just made up a batch of dried garbanzo beans, what isn’t used will go in the freezer for the next batch! And for coconut milk, there is a powder available in my oriental market.

  24. Jordan from jordansfamilyoffoodies.com on said:

    This looks exceptional, it combines so many things I love. The flavors of tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, and my favorite spice smoked paprika are all keepers in my book. So excited to try this out!

  25. Pang from circahappy.com on said:

    You read my mind. This could be THE tomahto soup I can make before tomatoes are in season again. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you as always for sharing lovely pics & great recipe. Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  28. Marie from latassefumante.com on said:

    This soup looks delicious, I’ll make sure to try it next time I’m off :)

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  30. Abby from thehappyfooddance.wordpress.com on said:

    I love the idea of adding coconut milk to soup so it isn’t too rich or heavy. Soup looks cozily delicious! I think I’ll toast a few chickpeas to top it off.

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  38. Kate on said:

    This is simmering now and I’m so excited for the final product! I almost wonder if you could add curry paste for a different kind of meal? Might have to try it out when this batch is done!

  39. Lauren from sofreshnsogreen.com on said:

    Wow!! I made this soup tonight and it was everything I remember creamy soups tasting like in my pre-vegan life. I used vegetable broth instead of water and added fresh tomatoes along with the canned for additional flavor. My MLB (meat-lovin boyfriend) loved it too. I have a feeling this will become a staple. Thanks Jeanine!

  40. Alanna from bojongourmet.com on said:

    This soup looks utterly perfect! Thank you for sharing – I can’t wait to make it.

  41. Victoria on said:

    I want to let you know that I have done this soup at least four times in the last 2 weeks. Love love love LOVE it thank you so much xxx

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Victoria – I’m so happy to hear it’s made it to your regular rotation! Thanks for sharing :)

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  43. Anna from cutepaperstory.com on said:

    I just made this soup for my weekly work soup club which is 2 days away. I don’t think it’s going to last, it is FANTASTIC! I added some vegetable stock instead of water, and a bit more garlic, but otherwise followed the recipe closely. I am in love! I”ll be checking out your other recipes!
    Thank you!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Anna, Thanks I’m so happy to hear!! :).

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  45. Ashley C on said:

    Do you have any idea what the nutrition breakdown is per serving because I’ve been making several of your recipes and have to cut myself off from eating it ALL! I’ve made your curried sweet potato soup 2x in 3 days!!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Ashley – glad you liked the sweet potato soup (and other recipes!!).

      I don’t do nutritional info for a few reasons… personally, when I get too rigid about “my diet” I tend to go crazy and feel deprived. I’ve been able to maintain a much healthier weight when I just try to be mindful, eat (mostly) balanced, and have a positive relationship with food… The more good things I eat, the less bad things I crave, and (I find) that I don’t see a weight fluctuation even though I use a good amount of oils, healthy fats, salt, etc. (again, this is my personal experience – and I totally understand if some people work better with actual facts and figures).

      The other main reason is that recipes are so adaptable so the count could actually vary a lot – if some people need to use less oil, light coconut milk vs. regular , etc – it’s all totally doable… I try to offer suggestions when those options are applicable so people can customize recipes to fit their own individual diets…

      Thanks for the great comment! I totally hear ya… I have a pretty big appetite and I am not especially good at portion control when I’m hungry :)

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  48. irma on said:

    I loved this soup, it was delicious. Heartier than normal tomato soup, and not so typically flavored (basil/oregano) it was great for a non-summer soup, in the cold Boston area. Also, the coconut milk seems magical. I left out the vinegar. Yum yum yum. Thank you for sharing your creativity!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Thanks Irma, glad you liked it :). I know, sadly in the winter I have no basil… I’m sure I’ll make a lighter version for summer!

  49. ana on said:

    Hi, this is the first recipe i have tried from this blog and i loved the soup. i think it would be a great entree replacing the grilled sandwich for a couple of grilled shrimp! love the coconut milk and the hint of red pepper flakes!
    One question, my soup did not look as smooth as yours..do i have to strain it? Tx

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Ana,

      So glad you liked it! I didn’t strain it, it blended really smoothly in my Vitamix…

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  51. Kelsey on said:

    Made this today and it was delicious and so easy! Thank you!

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  54. jodi lynn on said:

    I made this last night and it was delicious (and even better today as my lunch!). I thought the addition of the leftover chickpeas really made the soup for me; it tasted a little ‘blah’ when by itself without the peas or the grilled cheese. Really easy soup to make — I’ll be hitting up this recipe again, for sure. Thanks!

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  57. Beth on said:

    I made this soup tonight, and it was incredibly delicious! I loved the flavors together, so creamy and healthy and good. A perfect dinner for me and my hubby. Thank you for your wonderful, yummy recipes! I appreciate how simple they are, and yet they retain layered details that add up to some seriously good food. I love your blog!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Thanks Beth! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying them, thank you for the wonderful feedback!

  58. Jenna on said:

    Oh my goodness I made this tonight and it is so good!!!! I left out the extra add-ins at the end because I like my soups extra creamy and it was just fabulous!!! Thanks for a great recipe – I will definitely be trying out your other recipes as well!!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      so glad you liked it!!

  59. Kristena from thimblythings.com on said:

    This was delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe. I used heavy cream instead of coconut milk because that’s what I had in my kitchen. Would love to try it with the coconut milk sometime though. :)

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  62. Amy on said:

    Just made this and I’m in love. Easy and delicious comfort food, I followed the recipe to a T except that I did not blend anything (I like chunky soups), did not add water and forgot the chili flakes. I used parmesanand coconut milk. I paired it with the balsamic-dijon grilled cheese that was suggested. It’s in my rotation now! I love my Campbell tomato soup but this feels and tastes richer and fancier ;)

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  65. Cat on said:

    Hi! Do you think it would be possible to throw all the ingredients together in a slow cooker and cook it for 3-4 hours? I’m a very busy graduate student and am all about easy meal prep ;)

    • Kate on said:

      If it helps, prep for this soup really only takes about 5 minutes if you have all your ingredients out and ready – sauteeing the onions takes the most time of all! I make this all the time and if I have the cans already opened, beans rinsed and onion chopped and then have the spices and vinegar ready to throw in, it is seriously the easiest thing ever. You can always just turn it off after it’s done simmering and blend later when it’s cool! I don’t know that a slow-cooker would work that well just because of the onions, and how the paprika has to cook just a little and the balsamic kind of burns off a little from the heat. But this is just from my experience – wanted to put in my two cents because I feel like it’s my duty in life to get everyone to make this soup!

      • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

        Thanks Kate! Love your quick tips – glad you liked the soup :)

  66. giulia Magri on said:

    Hi ! If I were to use fresh tomatoes, how many would I need exactly? Dying to make this soup ! looks super yummy & easy:)) !

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I’m not exactly sure without trying it – I’d start with about 1 pound (since the can is 14 oz but probably a bit more concentrated). Just be sure to taste and adjust the other seasonings to your liking – the salt level, etc might need some adjusting.

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