curry coconut chickpea soup

When my parents brought home a half-grown boxer puppy, I asked them why they got such an ugly dog. With her squashed face, beady eyes, and unproportional torso, she was a far cry from the beautiful German shepherd I’d grown up with. Then we took her out to the backyard to run around and within minutes, I was exclaiming that she was the cutest thing ever! She raced back and forth, eagerly stopping by our sides for head pats. She had no tail to speak of, so instead wagged her entire butt back and forth. What a great dog (except for the drool and the farts). She certainly taught me an important lesson about how it’s what’s inside that really counts.

This soup might look oddly curdled to you, with random chunks of red floating on top. But I know that the mottled look is from sweet rich coconut milk, and the soup is full of healthy tomatoes and red peppers. I know that quinoa adds a bit of crunch to the soup, and chickpeas offer something to chew on.

We gave the boxer puppy an ultra-feminine name, Belle, to counteract some of her less feminine traits. And maybe that’s why this soup has such a descriptive name. Without all of those flavorful ingredients right in the title, how would you have any idea what’s in that suspicious orange-tinted broth? Your first impression might not reflect how good it really is.

(photo taken by my friend Ramie Pierce)

One year ago: Baked Ziti
Two years ago: Herbed Lima Bean Hummus
Three years ago: Maple Walnut Cupcakes

Printer Friendly Recipe
Coconut Curry Chickpea Soup (adapted from epicurious via Cook, Pray, Love)

Serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped tomatoes, seeded and peeled, fresh or canned
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1. In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, and garam masala; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the coconut milk; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with the herbs; serve over rice, couscous, or quinoa, if desired.

I’m submitting this entry to Branny’s Charity Souper Bowl, in which she will donate a dollar to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for each post submitted.


  1. I’ve never thought of adding quinoa to a soup, but now that you mention it — it sounds amazing! Belle is SO ADORABLE!

  2. Some of the homeliest treats are the tastiest! I love the combination of spices in this, and especially the addition of quinoa!
    Oh, and Belle? Adorable.

  3. Thanks for your participation in my Souper Bowl!

  4. I love boxers! Bet ya didn’t know that. I love the soup too. I mean, I’m sure I would if I tried it. You know those spices are right up my alley, and I’m totally intrigued by the texture of the quinoa in there. I hope you didn’t eat this at work – there would be no way to get through your bowl without answering like 17 million questions from the cw’s, right? 🙂

  5. I made this soup a couple months ago and loved it. I like your quinoa swap instead of the brown rice.

  6. If this would kill the soup. I won’t bother trying it – but do you think I could somehow make this without the coconut milk?? It sounds sooo good, but I can’t stand coconut…any suggestions for a replacement, or think I could just up the amount of broth?

  7. bridget says:

    Aly – Coconut milk is really creamy. You could probably mimic that with a combination of 1.25 cups broth and 0.5 cups heavy cream. But for what it’s worth, the coconut flavor here isn’t overpowering. I used to dislike coconut as well, and it was savory recipes that changed my mind.

  8. I like your analogy (and the sound of your soup), but I feel like I have to add this – Bella is SO cute!

  9. I knew your pictures would be so much prettier than mine! I love the addition of quinoa. That might be my go-to the next time I make this. Plus it cooks faster than brown rice.

  10. This looks delicious and so beautiful! You definitely should make the cookes, I’m sure you’d get some absolutely gorgeous photos of the process.

  11. This is actually simmering away on my stovetop as we speak! I added ginger because I love it, but otherwise your recipe was just too tantalizing as is!

  12. bridget says:

    Beverly – Ooh, ginger, good idea!

  13. I made this for dinner tonight. I am so tired of all my recipes. It was amazing. My son (almost 2) was shoveling it into his mouth. He ate 2 bowls. I am so glad I found your site here!