Chickpea & Cauliflower Tomato Stew

A hearty & healthy vegetable minestrone stew topped with kale pesto. Perfect for cold winter nights or make ahead lunches. Vegan and gluten free.

Chickpea & Cauliflower Minestrone, vegan & gluten free

We’re en route to snowy Chicago today and I’m trying to think warm thoughts. Yes, I grew up there, but I’m such a baby about winter. Scraping car windows, not being able feel my fingers & toes – I did it for years & it’s just not my thing.

BUT I’m excited to spend a little time with my family, eat some good food, and probably cook a little. On the menu, obviously, will be warm food like this hot & hearty vegetable-packed soup.

Chickpea & Cauliflower Minestrone, vegan & gluten free

This is my take on minestrone although it’s a little less than traditional – it’s in between a soup and a stew, and it’s a little heavier on the vegetables and lighter on the noodles. It’s packed with good things like cauliflower, kale (and kale stems!). It’s especially good with the hemp seed & kale pesto I posted yesterday.

Chickpea & Cauliflower Minestrone, vegan & gluten free

Sending warm soupy vibes!

4.9 from 12 reviews

Chickpea & Cauliflower Tomato Stew

Serves: serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 kale leaves, stems chopped, leaves torn
  • 2 to 3 cups small cauliflower pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine (or a splash of balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • bundle of fresh thyme & rosemary (about 4 sprigs each)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I like the Whole Foods brand)
  • 4-6 oz. gluten free fusilli, elbow or shell pasta
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Serve with:
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the kale stems, cauliflower, and garlic. Season with more salt and pepper and cook 2 more minutes. Add the wine, stir, then add the tomatoes. Simmer for 8 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs, broth, pasta and chickpeas and another few pinches of salt. Simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the pesto.
  5. Season the soup to taste. Before serving, stir in the kale until wilted.
  6. Serve soup with pesto and chopped parsley, if using, on the side.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Birdy

    Looks delicious! But I’m just a bit confused. Is the pesto meant to stirred into the stew?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Serve the pesto on the side – just spoon in a scoop of pest after the soup is portioned into bowls. It adds a really delicious pop of flavor.

      • Birdy

        Oh got it! Thank you!

  2. Andrea

    Wow! Amazingly delicious soup and pesto. I started it off with 6 strips of salted smoked bacon (not the healthiest…but so, so good), then followed the rest of the recipe. I also used a couple pinches of smoked salt. Can’t wait to use my pesto with the spaghetti squash recipe this week! Thanks! I’m so happy I found your site.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Ooh, smoked salt sounds delicious, I’ll have to try using that in soups 🙂

  3. Carrie

    This soup was delish and easy. I used a ton of veggies from my harvest for the soup and kale pesto, including the addition of corn to the soup. Will be eating leftovers for the next few days :-).

  4. Zuzana

    Love it! I love chickpeas and kale and combination is amazing! As of today, this is my favorite version of minestrone 🙂 I will be definitely making this soup again. Thanx!

  5. Ne

    Made this tonght. Fantastic!

  6. Elane

    what if you only have canned chickpeas on hand, want would the amount be?

    • Elane

      just curious if using canned chickpeas, what is the amount one would use?

      • jeanine

        Hi Elane – a can is about 1 1/2 cups, so just shy of the whole can (I used canned chickpeas too)

  7. Heather

    This full-meal soup was just what my family needed on this freezing winter day! My whole crew gobbled it up and the 8yo even had seconds. And you’re right about that amazing pesto – it’s delicious and oh-so-good dolloped in this soup. YUMMY!! I’ll be making this many more times.

    • jeanine

      yeah!! SO glad your crew liked it 😉

  8. Debra C. from

    What a warm, filling soup – this would be so delicious right now. Gotta get busy and make some soup!

  9. annie from

    Oh I’m a baby about winter too. I don’t mind the cold, but I hate the inconvenience. Scraping off my car, slip-slidin’ up the sidewalk, having to buy snow boots that never end up being comfy. Ugh.
    On the other hand, winter is an excellent excuse to make myself a wonderful batch of this soup…i adore hearty, thick veggie stews. *bangs spoon on table. When’s dinner?

    • jeanine

      Ha, yep, I’m totally with you!

  10. Tori from

    This soup looks divine and perfect for cozying up by the fire with a good book!

  11. Megha from

    Wow! What a creative recipe. Shall try soon.

  12. Yes!! Finally a soup that takes veggies to the next level!

  13. How lovely! I was just on the hunt for a good veg-heavy soup to eat for lunches this week. I love the way the cauliflower tops get stained yellow. 🙂

    • jeanine

      Ha, thanks, I’ll survive 🙂

  14. This looks so delicious. We are expecting 2 feet of snow tomorrow in my neck of the woods and this looks like the perfect comforting thing to prepare on a cold winter’s night. I just printed out the recipe.

    • jeanine

      hope you like! stay warm!

  15. Joycelyn

    Looks lovely but with cauliflower being 5 bucks a head & up at our produce markets at the moment, a nice root veggie (thinking celery root )will have to suffice.

    • jeanine

      that’s so weird, I hadn’t realized that (you’re the second person to comment about it, then I googled it :)… I’ve had tons of it in my csa box, which is the same price every week… but yes this recipe is really flexible so you can sub really anything you want or just add more chickpeas.

    • jeanine

      well it’s slushy snow, not the prettiest 🙂

  16. I really like your non-traditional take on minestrone, especially with that hemp seed pesto. I have some leftover rosemary so I’ll be making this soup soon.

    • Rebecca

      As a former Chicagoan myself (but not currently residing in the warmer parts of the US), I can totally relate to your feelings about Chicago winters. Nonetheless, I hope you have a nice time there with your family. I also hope to make your `different’ minestrone soup, which sounds really good!

      Thanks for sharing and happy and safe travels,

  17. Ella Pinto from

    I’m starving and this did not help at all! It’s just another recipe of yours to add to my “(try) Cooking wishlist” (as I’m not the best. Not the worst, but not the best)

    Loved the post!

    • jeanine

      Ha, well this one is super easy, I promise 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.