• Tunisian chickpea soup (lablabi) (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

Here’s a really straight-forward chickpea soup; it’s actually what Tunisians enjoy for breakfast. Capers, chopped almonds, chopped olives, a dollop of yoghurt and some mint can all be added at the end, and the soup is commonly served ladled over cubes of yesterday’s baguette. Tuna is often added too, and there’s a (less common) version made with cow’s trotters.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (190 votes)


  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • large pinch saffron (optional)
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 2 litre (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 4 x 400 g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4-6 eggs (depending on serves)


To serve

  • large handful coriander leaves
  • slices of baguette, extra harissa and lemon wedges, to serve
  • 2 tbsp baby capers, drained 
  • 2 tbsp chopped blanched almonds

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes or until softened. Add the cumin and coriander and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the harissa then add the stock and chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan then cook for about 10 minutes for flavours to develop. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes or until tomatoes have just softened. 

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer and add the vinegar. Crack each egg into a saucer then add them, one at a time, to the simmering water. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Carefully remove each using a slotted spoon to a tray lined with kitchen paper to drain excess water.

Divide the hot soup among large bowls. Place an egg in each bowl. Scatter over coriander, capers and almonds. Serve with the baguette, extra harissa and lemon wedges to the side. 


Photography, styling and food preparation  by China Squirrel.


When she doesn’t have her head in the pantry cupboard, Leanne Kitchen finds time to photograph food and write cookbooks. You can view her work on her website or on Instagram.


This recipe is part of our 10 ways with canned chickpeas column.

View previous 10 ways with… columns and recipes.