Hlelem: Tunisian Vegetable & Bean Soup

Serving 2 people

40 min


  • angel hair pasta 1½ - 2 ounces angel hair pasta (broken into roughly 2-inch pieces)
  • canned garbanzo beans ½ can (6-7 ounces) garbanzo beans with liquid (for both beans I use organic with no added salt)
  • celery stalk 1 celery stalk, diced
  • chicken stock 4 cups chicken stock (vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
  • garlic 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • harissa 1 - 2 tablespoons harissa, depending on your heat tolerance (I used my homemade Chinese chili paste for this)
  • navy beans ½ can (6-7 ounces) white navy beans with liquid (or any white bean)
  • olive oil 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • onion 1 medium onion, diced
  • parmigiano reggiano Chopped parsley and Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish (omit the cheese for Vegan option)
  • salt and pepper Salt and pepper to taste
  • swiss chard Swiss Chard (about 3-4 large leaves, rinsed, large stem removed and roughly cut in strips)
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How to make it

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium to medium-high heat then add the onion, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery is crisp-tender and the onions are beginning to brown at the edges, 4-6 minutes. Lower the heat if the vegetables brown too quickly. You don't really want the garlic and onions to caramelize.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2-3 minutes. You can leave the stove at medium-high hear.
  3. Add the broth and beans including the bean liquid, bring to a boil then simmer for about six minutes.
  4. Add the pasta and Swiss Chard and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the harissa. Taste for additional seasoning. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and/or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.