Persian-Style Vegetable Soup with Herb Pesto and Crispy Shallots | Cook for Your Life
Persian-style vegetable soup

Persian-Style Vegetable Soup with Herb Pesto and Crispy Shallots

Rated 4.3 out of 5
4.3 out of 5 stars (based on 7 reviews)

Clock Icon for Prep Time 30 min prep
Clock Icon for Prep Time 100 min total
Person Icon for Serving Size 6 servings
Carrot Icon for Number of Ingredients Size 25 ingredients

This Persian-style vegetable soup is a really delicious change from the usual veggie soups out there. It’s nourishing too, with plenty of protein and fiber to help you feel satisfied. Persian cooking is pretty sophisticated...


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, white parts only, diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 medium Kohlrabi bulb, leaves removed, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced ( about 1 pound)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 1 teaspoon tomato concentrate
  • 1 x 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water or stock
  • 2 x 14 ounce cans of chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 2 small zucchini, cored and finely diced
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup dill leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese ( Vegan? See Ann’s Tips)
  • salt to taste






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Nutrition Facts


467 cals


23 g

Saturated Fat

5 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

4 g

Monounsaturated Fat

13 g


55 g


16 g


16 g


16 g


1137 mg


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium high flame. Add the cumin seeds, let them sizzle 1 minute. Add the onion, leeks, garlic, kohlrabi and carrots. Sprinkle with salt. Stir to mix. Lower the heat to medium and cook partially covered stirring from time to time until the onion is transparent and the other vegetables have softened slightly, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Raise the flame to medium-high and add the ground cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon and turmeric. Stir to mix until the vegetables are coated with the spices. Cook 1 minute then add the harissa and the tomato concentrate. Stir to mix. Cook until it just starts to catch on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame to medium low. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the carrots and kohlrabi are very tender.
  3. With a high speed blender puree the soup in batches until smooth. You can use an immersion blender in the pan but the soup will be a little chunkier. Stir in the cup of water. The soup should be thick, but you can add a little more water to taste. If using a vase blender, whiz the water in the blender to get any remaining puree first. Return the soup to the pan and bring back to a low simmer.
  4. Reserve 1/3 cup of the drained chickpeas and set aside. Add the remaining chickpeas and the diced zucchini to the soup. Cook until the zucchini are tender, about 20 minutes more. Taste for salt. The soup can be made to this point ahead of time.
  5. Meanwhile make the crispy shallots: heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over a medium high flame in a heavy skillet. Add the sliced shallots. Sprinkle with a little salt. Cook stirring until they start to caramelize, about 2 minutes, then add the reserved chickpeas to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook stirring from time to time until the shallots are dark, dry and crispy, but not burnt, and the chickpeas dry and a little crisp, about 10  minutes. Turn off the heat and leave in the warm pan while you make the pesto.
  6. To prepare the herb pesto.  Chop together  the parsley, dill and cilantro. When roughly chopped, add the pistachios and roughly chop them into the herbs. Add a tablespoon of the remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt. Chop them into the herbs and pistachios until a rough paste forms. Scrape from the board into a small bowl and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the teaspoon of lemon juice if using. Set aside.
  7. To serve: ladle the soup into bowls. Scatter with crumbled feta, followed by a small dollops of the herb pesto, and then top with the crispy shallots and chickpeas.

Chef Tips

If you are vegan, simply sub out the feta cheese for a vegan substitute – there are some decent ones out there – or simply pass. The onions and pesto are delicious on their own.

If you use homemade chickpeas, feel free to use their broth in step 3 instead of water.

Please take care when blending hot foods. Only fill up the blender’s vase 1/3-1/2 full and hold the lid down with a kitchen towel as you buzz.

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, and videos are reviewed by our oncology-trained dietitians to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society

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