Use Crispy Chickpeas In Place Of Croutons For A Gluten-Free Soup Topping

Soup is a comforting meal providing warming and hearty sustenance on a cold day. While croutons offer the perfect crunchy topping to contrast with the brothy foundation or pureed ingredients, crispy chickpeas are a delicious gluten-free alternative.

We're used to throwing raw chickpeas into salads or blending them into creamy hummus, but they become an even more flavorful ingredient as a roasted topping. Plus, they offer a balance of carbohydrates and protein that'll enhance a soup's nutritional value as well as its depth of flavor and texture.

Like croutons, preparing crispy chickpeas involves tossing them with oil and seasonings over a baking sheet and roasting them. Oven-roasting chickpeas brings out their nutty, buttery aspects while also integrating flavors from the oils and seasonings. Their creamy, starchy raw texture transforms into a delightfully light, airy crunch. Plus, they dry out enough to achieve an absorbent porosity so they can soak up the flavors of your soup, too. Roasted chickpeas take half an hour or more to roast, giving you the perfect window to assemble your soup or reheat leftovers. If you have any extra chickpeas, they can also substitute croutons on a salad or make a healthy afternoon snack.

Seasonings and soup pairings for crispy chickpeas

Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn uses crispy chickpeas seasoned with salt, onion, and garlic granules to adorn a roasted garlic and cauliflower soup, but these moreish bites are open to any seasonings and soups you have planned. The key to achieving the crispiest, most flavorful chickpeas is to dry them well before seasoning them. Then you simply spread them evenly over a baking sheet before roasting them at a high temperature. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the pantry instead of the fridge to maintain their crunchiness. 

Even if you just use salt and pepper, roasted chickpeas will provide a robust savoriness to pair with soup. These simply roasted chickpeas would work well in a mild broth-based soup like a basic vegetable or chicken soup. But if you ramp up the flavor and season chickpeas with curry powder, turmeric, and garlic, they will work well as a topping for an Indian or Thai-style coconut curry soup or stew.

Crispy chickpeas with onion powder, parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked pepper would make for a great alternative to croutons on a classic French onion or tomato and basil soup. Another option is to spice your chickpeas with paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and cumin to add a crunch and spicy kick to creamy veggie soups like butternut squash, corn chowder, or cream of mushroom soup.