Digital Potluck: Vegan Chickpea & Rice Soup

Growing up in Kentucky, one of my family’s main holiday meals was chicken and rice. We all preferred this to the traditional turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. We often used leftovers to make other meals for days and even weeks afterward. In my mother’s house, there was always a soup or a stew brewing. Even now, I can remember how much love a bowl of her chicken noodle soup would bring, especially when I needed it the most. It never fails that at some point in our holiday gatherings, as we enjoy our chicken and rice meal, someone will retell the story of a time we all sat down to eat as a family and I smarted off, “Chicken again?!” In response, Mom brought a whole frozen chicken corpse and placed it on the table in front of me. Mama’s chicken and rice meal will always be one of my favorite traditions.

When my wife and I committed to going vegan, chickpeas became one of our go-to proteins. Over time, we began to skip over the chicken and rice holiday meal altogether and opted for what we really enjoyed—the soup! Our holiday chicken and rice meals were replaced by chickpea and rice soup. Few things feel as much like home as coming in after a long winter’s day of being out in the cold and wrapping your hands around a bowl of hot chickpea and rice soup. This year for Thanksgiving, our family joined several of our neighbors here in Akron for a holiday meal swap. Our family (OK, mostly my awesome wife) made our chickpea and rice soup with cornbread in exchange for a homemade apple pie made from scratch by one of our neighbors. Even though we were not able to spend the holidays with our Kentucky family, there is something about a shared holiday meal that allows us to step outside of the constraints of time and space and be present with each other— even if it is for just a meal.

Vegan Chickpea & Rice Soup

A comforting and healing vegan chickpea & rice soup with veggies. 

This recipe makes 4 servings and takes 10 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (chopped)
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup carrots (chopped small)
  • 4 celery stalks (chopped small)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (or 1/2 tsp sage, generous dashes of rosemary, nutmeg, marjoram)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp or more black pepper to taste
  • 4.5 to 5 cups of veggie broth
  • 15 oz can of chickpeas or 1.25 cups cooked
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or none if the veggie broth is salted)
  • 1 to 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup long-grain white rice (washed well and drained)


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and carrots and cook for 2 mins, then add celery, herbs, spices and mix in and cook for 2 mins.
  2. Add the veggie broth, chickpeas, salt, soy sauce, and mix.
  3. Add the rice and bring to a rolling boil. Cook partially covered for 15 mins or until rice is cooked.
  4. Add salt and spices to taste. Feel free to add more herbs, garlic powder, lime juice, black or white pepper if needed.
  5. Garnish soup with parsley or cilantro and serve.

The Rev. Michael Howard is the Minister of Faith in Action for the Living Water Association of the United Church of Christ in Northeast Ohio.

About the Digital Potluck: While churches are unable to gather for potlucks during the pandemic, we can still share our sacred love for heavenly delectable gifts online. The Digital Potluck is a regular column for the sharing of healthy, plant-rich recipes in The Pollinator: The UCC’s Environmental Justice Newsletter. As the UCC’s Kairos Call to Action notes, eating plant-rich foods is good for both the body and the planet.

Categories: Column The Pollinator: UCC Environmental Justice Blog

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