Spicy Cabbage Chickpea Soup
4.22 from 74 votes

A warming, nourishing bowl of plant-based goodness, this vegan spicy cabbage chickpea soup is simple to prepare and features a spicy kick.

A bowl of spicy cabbage chickpea soup rests on a folded, gray linen napkin.

It’s a gray, gloomy day here in New York City. It’s been raining, mostly, but it was even sleeting for a little while this morning.

It would be a good day to stay inside and make soup even if it weren’t for the current circumstances. Since we’re at home anyway, watching it drizzle outside, I think it’s an especially nice day for soup.

An overhead image of a bowl of vegan soup. It's garnished with chopped herbs and resting on a gray linen napkin.

I thought I’d share one of the Power Plates recipes that most spells “comfort” to me. This spicy, lemony cabbage chickpea soup is the closest thing I’ve created in adulthood that evokes the chicken soup I remember from childhood, which was definitely one of my mom’s specialties. It’s super similar to an older recipe from the blog, but I like the spice blend and the brown rice used here, and this is the version that’s become my go-to.

The soup is easy to make, and it’s packed full of veggies that keep well (onions, carrots, celery, cabbage). As written, the recipe makes tons—at least 8 servings. But you can cut it in half, or you can freeze some. In the last week I’ve had a few moments when I’ve wondered if I should make less, to protect freezer space, but actually, I keep defrosting and finishing things, so I think my cadence right now is good.

When my recipe testers were helping me out with this soup, one tester suggested a short pasta shape in place of rice. I have a lot of long-grain brown rice that needs cooking right now, so I’m making my way through it, meal by meal. But a small pasta would be lovely here, as would orzo! The soup gets a kick from red pepper flakes, stirred in at the end, which you can adjust to taste. And the turmeric gives it the prettiest, most vibrant golden color.

A folded gray napkin is being covered by a golden hued bowl of soup. There are specks of green parsley sprinkled around the napkin.
A bowl of spicy cabbage chickpea soup rests on a folded, gray linen napkin.
4.22 from 74 votes

Spicy Cabbage Chickpea Soup

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Yields: 8 people


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (substitute a few tablespoons vegetable broth)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 head of cabbage)
  • 1 cup medium or long-grain brown rice (substitute a short pasta or orzo)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (substitute smoked)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more as needed)
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the cabbage, chickpeas, rice, paprika, turmeric, and salt, then pour in the broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender.
  • Stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with black pepper and/or crushed red pepper flakes. If the soup is thicker than you'd like, add the extra cup of water. Serve with fresh parsley, if desired.


Soup will keep in the fridge for up to 6 days and can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
Reprinted with permission from Power Plates, copyright © 2018by Gena Hamshaw. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
A bowl of vegan cabbage chickpea soup is garnished with bright green parsley. It rests on a gray linen napkin on a white surface.

This is a filling meal in its own right, but a little slice of buttered toast certainly doesn’t hurt.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how times like this bring us back to what matters. Part of that awareness includes thinking about, and preparing, meals that are simple and comforting, like this one. This lemony, spicy bowl will help to keep me warm on a damp evening.

Hope it warms you up, comforts, and keeps you full sometime soon, too!


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Categories: Recipes, Main Dishes, Soups
Method: One Pot, Stovetop
Ingredients: Cabbage, Chickpeas
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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4.22 from 74 votes (64 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

  1. I do not have onion and carrots, but I used green leeks instead. I used GG noodles instead of rice. Everything else the same. Great hearty meal with home made naan.

    Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    I had some cabbage in drawer and chickpeas I had cooked and didn’t use all for humus. Let me Google it I said – and this wonderful recipe was first to grab my attention. I like when people don’t feel need to add a million flavors. Its simple and delicious – the rice was genius! Someday I’ll feel like coconut milk OR diced tomatoes would be two different directions to consider taking it. But not now – it is great as is! Thank you. (oh I did sub jalapenos for celery as it was all I had – it fit!)

  3. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe! I’ve already made it three times this season. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This was FANTASTIC! I used all broth, no water and I eliminated celery. SO filling. SO delicious. You cannot mess this up!!!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this because it looked easy and would use up some old vegetables in my fridge, but it totally exceeded my expectations. I left out the rice and ate it with bread and tahini. It was truly heavenly!

  6. I’m always looking for recipes with chickpeas I cook in my pressure cooker. Their creaminess was delightful in this soup plus it includes ingredients most folks have on hand. I used some leftover small rigatoni so as not to get out another pan and it was delicious. Thank you!

  7. 5 stars
    I made this exactly power recipe with 1 cup dried orzo… I could eat this everyday!!!!!!

  8. 5 stars
    Lovely soup! Really tasted a lot like the chicken noodle soups of my childhood. I left out the rice (and decreased broth to 7 cups) because I wanted a more bread-dippy experience.

  9. I used a Lisa Yokelson (former food contributor to the Washington Post) recipe for Chick Pea and Cabbage soup and adjusted it with ideas from your recipe. Lisa added a leek (sauteed with the other veggies)and threw in a diced zucchini and elbow pasta towards the end of cooking. I like your addition of tumeric, paprika and red pepper flakes. I first made Lisa’s soup many decades ago during a snow storm but haven’t made it since. Today is a lovely cool early fall day that seems an equally good time for a bowl of comforting soup. Bought a hearty multigrain loaf of bread to enjoy with it!

  10. I’ve made this twice and it is so delicious and easy to make! I used orzo, makes s huge pot of deliciousness

  11. Absolutely delicious and comforting. Halved the recipe but kept the same amount of spices. Have now pulled out my copy of power plates to see what to make next.

  12. We just made this with basmati rice, it reminded me of that rice/lemon soup you can get at Greek restaurants. Really lovely, and enough to feed an army!

  13. A wonderful recipe and so easy. The broth is absolutely delicious. I used ditslini pasta and fresh turmeric. Even my nay saying husband loved it.

  14. Can I substitute cauliflower for the cabbage? Trying to use what I have and avoid the market

    • I think that will work! You’ll need a fair bit of cabbage. If you don’t have enough for 6 cups, just use what you have and maybe reduce the liquid slightly.

  15. Hey Gena,
    The soup is really good! I tried it out and it is amazing. And it is also quite nutritious! My roommate is very restricted in terms of what she will try and even she could not resist tasting and falling in love after a taste. Thank You! xx