You may be eager for winter to be over, but if you have to endure the cold, be sure to warm up with this recipe for Chickpea Minestrone soup with Sweet Onion Whole-Wheat Focaccia by Miriam Rubin!

Chickpea Minestrone


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 medium tender celery stalks with some leaves, sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots, sliced into rounds (1 ¼ cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 container (48 ounces, 6 cups) reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree (I used Redpack), whirled in food processor; rinse out can with 1 cup water
  • 3 large Yukon Gold or 2 large russet baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cups very small broccoli floret pieces
  • 1 cup 1-inch pieces cut green beans
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
  • ½ small cabbage, cut into chunks (3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash or zucchini, sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated Parmesan for serving


Heat oil in large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and a big pinch of salt. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes, until tender. Stir in oregano. Add broth, tomatoes and Parmesan rind, if using. Raise heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put potatoes and water to just cover in large saucepan. Add a big pinch of salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook, partially covered for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender. Stir in broccoli and beans; cook 5-7 more minutes until crisp-tender. Drain.

Add chickpeas and cabbage to tomato-broth mixture. Cover and cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes, until cabbage is tender. Add cooked potatoes, broccoli and beans to soup with summer squash or zucchini. Cover and simmer 5 minutes longer, until all vegetables are tender.

Season soup with salt and pepper and serve with grated Parmesan. This tastes even better the next day.

Makes 8 generous servings

Sweet Onion Whole-Wheat Focaccia


  • 1 packet or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for bowl and pan)
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


Topping: 2 cups halved and thinly sliced sweet onions, ¼ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil, 1½ teaspoons flaky sea salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

In stationary electric mixer bowl (or large bowl), stir yeast, ½ cup of the warm water and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add remaining ½ cup warm water and oil. With mixer on medium, with paddle (or with spoon) beat in whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour and the 2 teaspoons kosher salt to make a smooth batter. With mixer on low, a little at a time, add remaining 1 cup white flour until dough is too stiff to mix.

With dough hook, or by hand on floured surface, knead 4 to 6 minutes, adding remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, until very smooth, silky and not sticky. Knead a moment by hand to finish, if machine-kneaded.

Coat large bowl with olive oil, place dough in bowl and turn to oil top. Cover with cotton dishtowel. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Coat 10x15inch rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Punch down dough.
Press dough into pan, as well as you can. Cover with cooking-spray-coated plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and almost doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
Press your fingertips firmly into the risen dough about ½-inch deep, pressing dough into corners.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place dough near oven or another warm spot, cover loosely and let rise again until puffy, 30 to 40 minutes. For topping: Sprinkle with onions, drizzle with olive oil and crush the coarse salt over.

Bake until golden and crisp, 20 to 23 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn’t brown too much. Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings

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