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A Taste of Spain: Easy Spanish Chickpea Soup with Chorizo, Paprika, and Saffron

Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron - caribbeangreenliving.com

Spanish Chickpea Soup with Chorizo, Paprika, and Saffron is a dish brimming with bold flavors that reawakens my appreciation for cooking with vegetables. It’s easy to forget how combining simple ingredients can evoke a lifetime of cherished memories, particularly those tied to our childhood. I vividly recall eagerly anticipating dinnertime each day, relishing my favorite dishes lovingly prepared by my parents. The tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen were a constant source of delight.

Spanish cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors, rich aromas, and hearty dishes, and this traditional chickpea soup, known as “cocido madrileño” or “garbanzos con chorizo,” epitomizes the culinary essence of Spain. This comforting stew is a symphony of flavors, combining the smoky paprika, aromatic saffron, and savory chorizo with the creamy texture of chickpeas.

Origins of the Dish

The origins of cocido madrileño can be traced back to the 17th century when it was a staple dish in the working-class neighborhoods of Madrid. Over time, the soup gained popularity and became a national dish, reflecting the culinary diversity of Spain.

Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron - caribbeangreenliving.com
Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron

Ingredients and Preparation

The key ingredients for this soup are chickpeas, chorizo sausage, paprika, saffron, and a blend of vegetables. The preparation process is straightforward, involving sautéing the vegetables, adding the chorizo and chickpeas, and simmering the soup until the flavors meld together.

Nutritional Benefits

Spanish chickpea soup is packed with nutrients, making it a wholesome and satisfying meal. Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and fiber, while chorizo provides a rich source of iron and vitamin B12. The addition of paprika and saffron not only enhances the flavor but also contributes to the antioxidant content of the dish.

Serving and Garnishes

Spanish chickpea soup is traditionally served hot and garnished with a variety of toppings, such as chopped scallions, slivers of Serrano ham, or a drizzle of olive oil. These garnishes add a finishing touch to the soup, enhancing its visual appeal and complementing the savory flavors.

Recipe for Spanish Chickpea Soup with Chorizo, Paprika, and Saffron

The ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil: This type of olive oil is the least processed and has the most flavor. It is a good source of antioxidants and healthy fats.
  • Onion: Onions are a versatile vegetable that can be used in many different dishes. They have a strong flavor that can be used to add depth to soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Celery ribs: Celery has a crisp texture and a mild flavor. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Carrot: Carrots are a sweet and nutritious vegetable. They are a good source of vitamins A and K.
  • Garlic cloves: Garlic is a pungent herb that has a strong flavor. It is used in many different cuisines around the world.
  • Chorizo: Chorizo is a type of sausage popular in Spain and Portugal. It is made from pork and has a smoky flavor.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas are a type of legume that is popular in many different cuisines around the world. They are a good source of protein and fiber.
  • Chicken stock: Chicken stock is a liquid that is made from simmering chicken bones and vegetables. It is used as a base for many soups and stews.
  • Spanish smoked hot paprika: Paprika is a type of spice that is made from dried peppers. Spanish smoked hot paprika has a smoky flavor that is perfect for this dish.
  • Fresh spinach: Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Saffron threads: Saffron is a spice that is made from the threads of the saffron crocus flower. It is a very expensive spice, but it has a very strong flavor.
  • Manchego or Parmesan cheese: Manchego and Parmesan are both types of hard cheese that are popular in Spain and Italy. They are both good sources of protein and calcium.
  • Salt: Salt is a mineral used to enhance the flavor of food.

My thoughts about this Spanish soup

Soup, as defined by the dictionary, is a liquid dish typically made by simmering meat, fish, or vegetables in stock or water. In many cuisines, such as Caribbean and Latin fare, soup is also referred to as bouillon, which aligns with the aforementioned definition. In both Caribbean and Latin traditions, soup or bouillon is often prepared on Saturdays, typically a day dedicated to household chores similar to spring cleaning. Due to its ease in preparing a nutritious meal for large gatherings, soup or bouillon has become a staple among many moms and cooks.

The history of soup is believed to be as ancient as the practice of cooking itself. Broth, the foundation of many dishes, forms the basis of soup or bouillon. Interestingly, the recipe for Spanish Chickpea Soup with Chorizo, Paprika, and Saffron is prepared in a crockpot, a kitchen appliance that has become an indispensable tool in my culinary endeavors.

My decision to make this soup was spontaneous, but locating the appropriate chorizo proved to be a challenge. Chorizo, a highly seasoned, coarsely ground pork sausage, is commonly used in Mexican and Spanish cuisine. While Mexican chorizo employs fresh pork, its Spanish counterpart utilizes smoked pork. Prior to cooking, the casing should be removed. Chorizo lends a delectable flavor to a variety of dishes, including casseroles, soups, stews, and enchiladas.

Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron - caribbeangreenliving.com
Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron

As a self-proclaimed soup enthusiast, I must admit that this particular recipe was not a walk in the park. Despite utilizing a crockpot, the quality of ingredients emerged as a crucial factor. While I had worked with chorizo before, this particular instance presented a unique challenge. Had I adhered to my usual chorizo brand and shopped at my local supermarket, this predicament could have been avoided.

My initial attempt at this soup involved experimenting with a new smoked chorizo brand, whose taste remained a mystery. This decision proved to be a grave error, prompting me to remove this brand from my culinary repertoire permanently. Upon repeating the recipe with regular sausages free of antibiotics and synthetic hormones, I discovered a far superior outcome. Perhaps my aversion to smoked sausages played a role in this preference.

This soup boasts an abundance of vegetables, including carrots, celery, and spinach. Chickpeas, a nutritional powerhouse akin to other legumes like beans, peas, and lentils, provide a rich source of protein and fiber. It is no surprise that Spanish Chickpea Soup with Chorizo, Paprika, and Saffron delivers a satisfying and hearty experience. This flavorful soup, when prepared with the finest ingredients, exudes a smoky aroma.

While the original recipe calls for Manchego or Parmesan cheese, I opted to omit these ingredients due to personal concerns regarding excessive sodium intake. I encourage you to embark on your own culinary adventure by preparing this delectable soup and always adhering to your personal dietary guidelines.


Spanish chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron is a culinary treasure, showcasing the rich flavors and culinary heritage of Spain. This hearty soup is not only delicious and satisfying but also packed with nutrients, making it an ideal meal for any occasion. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is easy to follow and sure to impress your taste buds.

Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron - caribbeangreenliving.com

Spanish chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika and saffron

Spanish Chickpea soup with chorizo, paprika, and saffron very filling, full of vegetables such as carrots, celery, and spinach and the super food chickpeas.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Soup
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4
Calories 489 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 thin celery ribs chopped with leaves reserved
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 8 oz. chorizo skinned, halves, then cut into ½ inch slices
  • 14 oz. can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 7 cups chicken stock low sodium preferably
  • ¼ teaspoon Spanish smoked hot paprika pimento picante or ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach though stalks remove and leaves coarsely chopped into large pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads bruised with a mortar and pestle
  • Manchego or Parmesan cheese shaved to serve (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Gently sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, chorizo, chickpeas, stock, and paprika. Bring to a boil then transfer to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours.
  • Add the spinach and reserved celery leaves and cook for 15 minutes longer. Add the saffron. Clean out the mortar with a little stock and add that too. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot in large, wide bowls. Add shavings of cheese if using, and serve with plenty of bread.


Use low sodium chicken broth.


Serving: 1gramsCalories: 489kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 26gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 914mgPotassium: 848mgFiber: 6gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 5512IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 4mg

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Keyword bean soup, chorizo, easy recipes, homemade soup
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Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

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