Aromatic Middle Eastern Soup

January/February 1996

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (8 votes)

Infusing canned broth with spices creates a heady aromatic broth that is the perfect base for this simple soup.

"This was an extremely delicious. I thought it would be a light and brothy soup but it packed a bold punch and the chickpeas, rice and onions made for a hearty meal. I paired it with a pomegranate spinach salad for a nice balance. "
Aromatic Middle Eastern Soup

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 46-ounce or 3 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, or bulgur
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 8-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup slivered fresh mint leaves, for garnish


  1. Crush garlic cloves with the flat of a chef’s knife (do not peel). Crush coriander, cumin and peppercorns with a heavy saucepan. Tuck the garlic, crushed spices, red-pepper flakes and turmeric into a tea infuser (or cheesecloth bag) and place it in a large saucepan. Add cinnamon stick to the pan and pour in broth. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened and very lightly colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice or bulgur and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Pour in the reduced broth (including the tea infuser and the cinnamon stick) and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the rice or bulgur is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Cut 4 slices from the lemon and reserve for garnish. Juice the remaining lemon to flavor the soup. Stir chickpeas into the soup and heat through. Remove the tea infuser and cinnamon stick. Season the soup to your taste with lemon juice and ground pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with lemon slices and mint.


Per serving: 221 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 6 g fiber; 219 mg sodium; 185 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (45% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
1 hour or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Everyday favorites
Type of Dish
Middle Eastern
January/February 1996
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