Bean + Herb Soup with So Much Garlic

It’s been a rough couple weeks y’all. But a comforting bowl of warm soup goes a long way towards soothing most ailments, physical and emotional. I think my Italian peasant foremothers would approve of this simple dish.

I’m trying to work my way through the little half-finished jars of condiments and fermentation experiments in my fridge. When I pickle veggies with garlic cloves (which is most of the time), I like to save all the garlic covered in brine. It’s like a much better version of pre-peeled garlic. I used one whole jar of pickled garlic cloves for this soup (about 30 cloves). If that sounds scary to you, feel free to reduce. But know that the slow boil mellows out the garlic flavor significantly. Raw garlic cloves are totally fine if you don’t have any pickled ones handy.


  • olive oil
  • 8-12 cups of stock (or salted water with a generous pour of white wine)
  • 1-2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of water for 12-24 hours
  • 20-30 peeled garlic cloves (if you got pickled, that’s great!)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped (throw is a carrot or two if you want)
  • 2 big pinches of fennel seed
  • 1 big pinch red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley and basil (add a bit of rosemary, oregano, and/or sage if desired)
  • optional: freshly grated parmesan


  • In a pot over medium heat, add one or two healthy glugs of olive oil. Saute onions and celery for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden. 
  • Add fennel seed, red pepper flakes, and garlic cloves and saute for another minute or two. 
  • Drain chickpeas (which have been soaking in water on the counter overnight), rinse, and add to pot along with stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow contents to gently simmer for one or two hours. If liquid is evaporating too fast, add in more water and turn down the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Perhaps add honey, vinegar, or miso, if that’s what it needs. The soup is ready when chickpeas and garlic are soft and the flavor is deep and rich.
  • Right before serving, stir in herbs. Grate parmesan on top. Serve with crusty bread if possible.


It’s still brutally hot here in southwest Florida. But with the start of the veggie-growing season, I can finally fight the heat with a favorite refreshing recipe — gazpacho. Gazpacho is a classy crowd-pleaser. Once comfortable with the tomato-cucumber variety, branch out! I love me a strawberry gazpacho or an almond-garlic-bread number. The world is your bowl of ice cold soup.


  • An assortment of cucumbers and tomatoes, roughly chopped (poblano and bell peppers work too); enough to fill a blender about 2/3 up
  • Half an onion, peeled
  • A few cloves of garlic, peeled
  • An assortment of fresh herbs of choice (cilantro, dill, mint, basil, parsley, chives, etc)
  • Vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste


  • Add all the herbs and veggies to the blender. Pour in a small handful of salt and a healthy glug or two of vinegar. Blend until happy with the consistency. Taste to determine if the gazpacho is acceptably zingy. Add more vinegar, salt, and pepper as needed. 
  • Feeling fancy? Top with chopped herbs and veggies, yogurt, and a swizzle of olive oil.