This hearty spiced tomato bulgur soup is nourishing and delicious. It’s inspired by bold Mediterranean flavors – full of fragrant spices, classic vegetables, fennel, fire-roasted tomatoes, herbs, and bulgur for lots of substance. Topped with a dollop of creamy yogurt, crispy roasted chickpeas, and fresh dill…this is such a satisfying soup to warm these cold winter days.
spiced tomato bulgur soup – the details
With the goal in mind to create a really hearty vegetarian soup, I took inspiration from Mediterranean flavors and ingredients to keep things fresh, flavorful, and filling. The result was this spiced tomato bulgur soup that’s full of character.
There are a good amount of ingredients for this recipe, but many of them are pantry staples. The entire soup process happens on the stove. It’s all about cooking the ingredients in layers and allowing the flavors to slowly develop and build on each other.
Starting with a base of onions and fennel cooked in olive oil, you’ll then add carrots and celery. Garlic and bold spices – bright coriander, spicy red pepper flakes, and fragrant fennel seeds – add a punch of flavor, while tomato paste brings rich sweetness into the mix.
The liquid for the soup is a blend of fire-roasted tomatoes (these are great for a smoky flavor) and stock (I like chicken stock but you could absolutely use vegetable stock). Everything simmers away with bay leaves and rosemary for extra aroma.
For a substantial add-in, you’ll stir in bulgur, which is a nutritious grain that’s slightly nutty and has a wonderful chewy texture. After about 20 minutes, the bulgur is soft and tender. It gives the soup lots of texture and a nice thickness.
how to make crispy chickpeas
For a crunchy topping, roasted chickpeas are the perfect addition. Canned chickpeas are great for roasting. Rinse and drain them, and then allow them to dry on paper towels until as dry as can be. If they have too much moisture, they won’t crisp as well in the oven.
You’ll toss them with olive oil, rosemary, and all of the same spices that are found in the soup (with the addition of smoked paprika for more depth). Make sure to spread them onto a sheet pan in one, even layer so that they’re not all piled on top of each other.
After roasting, they’re golden and crispy…ready to top the soup! Along with a dollop of creamy, tangy yogurt and fresh dill. Every spoonful is simply delightful.Print
Spiced Tomato Bulgur Soup with Crispy Chickpeas
a hearty, spiced tomato-based soup with vegetables and bulgur, topped with yogurt and crispy chickpeas
Spiced Tomato Bulgur Soup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored + thinly sliced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 (28 oz) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 qts chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- ¾ cup bulgur
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp fresh dill leaves
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed + drained + dried
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp roughly chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- For the soup, heat a large Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add the fennel. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Stir in the garlic, coriander, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. Allow the spices to toast for a minute or so.
- Stir in the tomato paste until incorporated. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, and rosemary sprigs. Stir to combine and season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile for the chickpeas, combine the dried chickpeas, olive oil, smoked paprika, rosemary, coriander, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt in a small mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Spread the chickpeas into a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
- Stir the bulgur into the soup. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until the bulgur is tender.
- Lastly, stir the lemon zest and lemon juice into the soup. Season with salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of greek yogurt, the fresh dill, a spoonful of chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, and more freshly cracked black pepper.
If you want to have leftovers, store the soup in an air-tight container in the fridge. It will continue to thicken as it cools and sits overnight. So, I’d recommend adding a generous splash of water or stock to help loosen it before heating in the microwave or on the stovetop.