This Pasta e Ceci soup is a quick meal that comes together using mostly pantry ingredients! It’s perfect for packing in an insulated container to bring on a hike, lunch at work, or to make ahead of camping trips.
This recipe was made in partnership with Eddie Bauer, whose waterproof jackets have done a great job of keeping us dry on our spring hikes!
There’s an old saying that we keep at the front of our minds this time of year: Don’t let the weather push you around! True, it can get a bit rainy and windy in the spring, but we try not to let it keep us from enjoying our local hiking trails.
There are two secrets for more enjoyable springtime hiking: solid weather-proof clothes, and packing a warm meal to enjoy on trail! This recipe is our take on Pasta e Ceci, or “pasta and chickpeas,” an Italian-inspired soup that’s packed with flavor and plant-based protein.
Having a warm, homemade lunch while you’re hiking on a rainy day can really lift your spirits, so we hope you enjoy this recipe!
What is Pasta e Ceci?
Pasta e Ceci is an Italian dish made of pasta and chickpeas (ceci) that has its roots in “cucina povera”—or peasant food. As such, people originally made it with what they had on hand, so there are a lot of variations.
Some recipes call for fresh rosemary, some have fresh tomatoes and others just tomato paste, the presence of leafy greens varies, some are stew-y, some are saucy, and some more brothy.
Our recipe ends up on the brothy/stew side of the spectrum and we opted to use primarily pantry-friendly ingredients. It’s a simple recipe, so feel free to tweak it and make it your own!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
A full list of ingredients and measurements is located in the recipe card below.
Pasta: We suggest ditalini pasta for this recipe, but you can swap it out with any small-shape pasta (macaroni noodles, small shells, etc).
Chickpeas: One can of chickpeas is the perfect amount. You can swap with 1 ½ cup prepared chickpeas.
Crushed red pepper: Omit or scale down if you’re sensitive to heat. Add a touch more if you love it!
Parmesan: Don’t skip it! Parmesan really adds another dimension to this soup. Use an alternative like Violife Just Like Parmesan to make this recipe vegan.
How to make Pasta e Ceci
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute about 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
Add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook this for about a minute, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, broth, and chickpeas.
Bring the soup to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for the length of time suggested on the package.
Once the pasta is tender, stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Check the broth for seasoning and add some salt as needed.
Remove the soup from the heat. Enjoy right away, or divide between two insulated food jars and store in your pack until you’re ready for lunch!
Pack it up
To bring this on a hike or in a lunchbox, pack it in an insulated food container so it stays warm until lunchtime! We really like these ones. If you want to make this ahead of time as an easy camping lunch, simply transfer it to a sealed container and pack it in your cooler.
Pasta e Ceci
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup ditalini pasta
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese*
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute about 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for about a minute, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, broth, and chickpeas.
- Bring the soup to a boil then add the pasta. Cook for the length of time suggested on the package.
- Stir in the grated parmesan cheese, check seasoning, and add salt as needed.
- Remove the soup from the heat. Enjoy right away, or divide between two insulated food jars and store in your pack until you’re ready for lunch!