Pressure-Cooker Greek Chickpea Soup (revithosoupa)
It was almost a month ago that we hastily harvested veggies from the main garden due to heavy snowstorms that were expected. And we ended up with cabbages, cauliflowers, and broccolis stacked in our patio. Some of the cauliflowers were cut into pieces and made their way to the freezer for future use. The broccolis were steamed and turned into a side for some grilled chicken and fish and the cabbages… well we still try to consume as much as we can in salads and stir fries. Still have some in the fridge. lol
The snowstorm was rather severe. It lasted for two days and it took another two of full sunshine and higher temperatures to melt most of the snow. But the air was completely cold. As we say in Greece “sunshine with teeth” (helios me dontia). Well at least at the coastline where we live.
We liked it though. It was different and quite magical as a sight since we are not used of snowfalls so close to the sea. We became silly and could not concentrate in our works. We spent two days watching outside the windows and taking pictures of this rather “rare phenomenon” :)
Cold days like these are perfect for hot, hearty, and comforting food. Especially soups! It was one of these days that we made my mom’s (Irene) chickpea soup (revithosoupa) in the pressure cooker. My mother loves her pressure cooker. I always remember her cooking in it, especially legumes and beef. And this soup is one of her signature dishes. It is a dear recipe to me (Panos loves it too) and we really wanted to share it with you for a long time now.
Cooking with a pressure cooker
Well to be honest we are not huge fans of the pressure cooker. Probably because the one we have is an old one, quite heavy and not that easy to clean. Plus, we love to interact with the food when cooking it and… you know… we want to be able to move it around anytime we want with our favorite wooden spatulas. Control freaks much? lol
But to be perfectly honest…cooking in a pressure cooker saves time. A lot of time!!! And the food is cooked properly and carefree. Especially in recipes that are time consuming like cooking beef, or legumes like beans and chickpeas. You can use a pressure cooker for more than beef or legumes for sure. But we mostly use it to cook these two types of ingredients.
Plus, cooking in a pressure cooker saves energy. Which is rather important both for the environment and your wallet. Right?
We know some of you may have an issue with the safety of it all. Well, there is nothing to worry about as long as you follow the instructions of your pressure cooker, close the lid properly and release all the pressure from the cooker once the time of cooking is up before opening the lid. That’s it! Nothing to worry about.
Chickpea soup (revithosoupa) or chickpea stew (revithada)?
Many use the word “revithosoupa” that literally means chickpea soup. Others use the term “revithada” which is more of a chickpea stew.
We believe there is a difference between these two and mostly on the way they are made. The ingredients used are the same but, in the soup, one puts all the ingredients together with water and cooks them in low heat for at least 1 hour and a half. The stew however (revithada) is a traditional way of cooking the chickpeas (revithia) in a sealed ceramic pot (gastra) in the oven, overnight in very low heat. It’s the way the chickpea stew is cooked it in the island of Sifnos for centuries. And it’s a local delicacy. The outcome of this overnight slow cooking is a mind-blowing creamy stew with the aromas of oregano, lemon and olive oil that is worth waiting!
As you well noticed this take time and one needs an oven that is either running on gas or wood. Otherwise, the electricity consumed on making the revithada is over the roof.
If you have a slow cooker (we don’t use them in Greece and are extremely rare) you can give it a try and cook this soup like that. But this chickpea soup recipe we post here is for those who want to taste a delicious and hearty soup for a weekday lunch or weeknight dinner when time is limited. A chickpea soup on fast track!
Along with the white bean soup (fasolada) and the lentil soup (fakes), the chickpea soup (revithosoupa) completes the trinity of the traditional soups with legumes that are considered Greek comfort food.
This is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients that we all have in our pantries. This is exactly what makes this soup so dear.
It is made with dry chickpeas (not precooked) that are soaked in water and baking soda overnight. Why baking soda? We use it on chickpeas to help them get more tender while cooking and create a creamier result.
The yellow onions and the addition of the vegetable stock cubes add flavor to this humble and comforting soup.
We used dry oregano as it is the norm for this recipe, but feel free to use fresh if you have some. Also, the amount of lemon juice depends on the lemons you will use. Some lemons are juicier than others. We suggest you go easy on the lemon juice that it’s added towards the end of the cooking time. It totally depends on your liking. Add some and taste before adding all the juice.
This recipe is naturally vegan and perfect for those on lent. But vegan or not, this soup is so delicious that you will not miss the meat. Trust us! Especially if you serve it with good quality Kalamata olives and fresh crusty bread.
Shall we proceed to the kitchen and make this hearty, healthy soup?
- 1 tbsp baking soda (for the overnight preparation of the chickpeas)
- 500g / 17oz / 1lb dry chickpeas
- 400g / 14oz (2 medium-sized) yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 75ml (5tbsp, 1-2 lemons), fresh lemon juice *
- 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 vegetable bouillons
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp dry oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5lt (6 cups) warm water for cooking the chickpeas
* The lemon juice added to this recipe was made with 2 medium-sized lemons. It totally depends on how juicy the lemons you have are. We suggest you add the juice from 1 lemon and then add some more after you taste the soup or add more when serving.
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1.5lt (7cups) of water (pic.1). Add the baking soda and leave them overnight to soak (pic.2).
Before you cook the chickpeas, drain, and rinse them well under running water (pic.3-4).
Add the chickpeas, the onions, the bay leaves, the vegetable bouillons, and the oregano in the pressure cooker (pic.5). Add the 6 cups of warm water (pic.6).
Mix well (pic.7) and close the lid of the pressure cooker (pic.8) Turn the valve to the lowest pressure mode (our has mode 1 and 2; we cook them on 1) and turn on the heat to medium-high.
Once the valve pops (depending on the pressure cooker / pic. 9) lower the heat to medium (pic.10) and cook for 20 minutes.
Then turn off the heat (pic.11) and let it on the stove for another 10 minutes. Remove the steam. Be careful to remove ALL the pressure from the cooker before opening the lid (pic.12).
Add the lemon juice (pic.13) and the olive oil (pic.14).
Season with salt (pic.15) and pepper (pic.16) to taste.
Bring the soup to a boil (pic.17) and cook in medium-high for another 5 minutes with the lid off. Remove the pressure cooker from heat and serve (pic.18).
You can add some more lemon juice while serving if you like, and some Kalamata olives on the side.
1. You can make the chickpea soup in a classic pot, but it’s going to take about 1hour and 30 minutes. Plus, you must check for water from time to time as it will evaporate quickly, and you’ll have to add some.
2. You can make this soup creamier if you like. Here’s how: Before adding the lemon juice and the olive oil, take 1 cup of the chickpea soup and blend it. Put the blended chickpeas back to the pot. Then follow the steps from 13-16.
3. Serve with more lemon juice according to your liking.
4. This soup is one of those that taste better on the next day. So, make it ahead and enjoy it for lunch the following day when all the taste and the aroma of the oregano, the lemon juice and the olive oil are thoroughly incorporated.
5. If…let’s say… if you have any leftovers, you can make a delicious hummus with this. Just add the chickpeas with some of the juice of the soup in a blender, a little garlic and cumin and voila! Hummus is ready.
If you liked this recipe, there are more to choose from our soup section.