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Chickpea and Harissa Soup (Lablabi)

8 Servings

1 hour

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This brothy-bready Tunisian chickpea soup gets punches of flavor from garlic, tomato paste and cumin.. And instead of using stale bread—as is common in Tunisia—we got better texture by toasting chunks of crusty bread in olive oil to make croutons. Toasted ground cumin is used in the soup as well as on it; to be efficient, toast it all at once. In a small, dry skillet over medium, toast 5 tablespoons ground cumin, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer to a small bowl. To make soft-cooked eggs for serving, bring 2 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add the desired number of eggs, cover and steam over medium for 7 minutes. Immediately transfer the eggs to ice water to stop the cooking,




Don't forget to soak the dried chickpeas. They need to soak for at least 12 hours before cooking.

1 hour

For the soup:

  • 2

    cups dried chickpeas


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Dana B.
April 16, 2024
Great soup - a family favorite!
Love, love, love this soup! Have made it at least 10 times, on the stove and the pressure cooker. Love it best when made with rose harissa.
Brandon B.
January 19, 2024
This soup is incredible. Easy and a fantastic depth of flavor. I probably put too many crouton in the bowl when serving, but it wasn't a problem!!
Lisa C.
November 3, 2023
The best soup in the world
I love this soup. I make it during the fall and winter. It is perfect as written.
Kelsy B.
June 8, 2023
Top 5 best soups of all time
This is an incredibly flavorful soup and is hearty enough to stand up on its own as a main course. Delicious.
Allison M.
April 3, 2023
This soup is easy and delicious and I will definitely make it again. I used less cumin and made the croutons in the oven (easier, to me). The caper garnish really brings the deliciousness to another level. I made this soup for guests and everyone loved it.
Michele R.

When the photo of this dish made the cover of a Milk Street magazine many months ago with sub-title "Best Soup in the World", it looked so delicious and with that title in mind we made it a couple of days later. We took homemade chicken stock out of the freezer for the base and we loved the seasonings and the genius idea of the croutons in the bowl first. What we discovered was as much as we enjoy chickpeas as ingredient in many things and love them in hummus made from scratch , we didn't enjoy chickpeas as the main ingredient of this dish. But we so liked all other elements enough that we saved the recipe for "try again". That was last month and we took the not traditional path of subbing Great Northern beans (Rancho Gordo brand) for the chickpeas. We enjoyed it. A lot. Great Northerns tend to really take on the flavors of what they're cooked in also tend to hold their shape when cooked so they turned out to be a good alternative. The flavors even improve overnight if you want to make it up to before garnish step and refrigerate to reheat. It is "ahhh..." worthy when garnished so "company's coming" worthy too.

David K.

This is the best soup in the world. It's awesome! I was surprised to find that the eggs (we hard boiled them) are excellent in it as well. We all love to put out own touch on it with lemon, cilantro, olives, and/or eggs. Definitely use the dried beans, makes a huge difference.

Jeffry B.

Terrific dish, especially for chickpea lovers. Made my own harissa and broth and used my Instapot to cook the chickpeas. Great flavor and texture.

Kelly G.

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Elizabeth C.

This soup looks delicious. Could another bean be substituted without compromising the recipe? I love garbanzo beans, but sadly they do not like me.

Lynn C.

Hi Elizabeth -

Since this is a traditional Tunisian chickpea soup, we never tested it with other types of legumes. However, it looks like another reader posted above that they tried and liked it with Great Northern beans.

The Milk Street Team

Mary S.

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The flavor of this soup is outstanding. I used Orrington Farms vegan "chicken" flavored broth base. I had problems with the chickpeas not getting soft. They were fresh from the store, and I soaked them in plenty of water on the counter for about 14 hours. It still took almost 3 hours of cooking for them to become soft. Not sure where I went wrong, but luckily I was making this ahead. For the eggs, I cracked them into the simmering soup for a few minutes as I was too lazy to mess with soft-boiling them - this worked great but not as photogenic as the soft cooked eggs.