Tunisian Soup

The house is strangely quiet tonight.

Roo left an hour ago to meet up with a friend from college at a local bar.

It’s just me, the cats and the sound of rain.

While it would be tempting to have dinner with the tv blaring, staring vacantly at whatever program I happen to come across, I’d rather just sit.

And listen.


And enjoy the quiet company that I have.


This soup is a great escape from the lull of winter.  Even with spring only three weeks away, the cold has yet to release its grip on Boston.

Grey days, coupled with rain and bouts of wintry mix; this bright and slightly spicy soup will give you hope that the season will change.

I love the earthiness from the cumin, the bright notes of lemon and the heat that remains, thanks to crushed red pepper flake.  Tender, practically sweet kale, coupled with creamy navy beans and broken bits of angel hair pasta fulfill your cold weather cravings for heartiness.  And like most soups, it tastes even better the next day.

Adapted from The Urban Vegan: 250 Simple, Sumptuous Recipes from the Street Cart Favorites to Haute Cuisine

Serves About 6


1 tablespoon of mild tasting olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 – 4 stalks of celery, diced

3 medium carrots, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced (I really love garlic, but if you’d rather have just a hint, mince 1 – 2 cloves)

1 teaspoon of red pepper flake (I love heat, but if you’d like something a bit less, try a quarter to a half a teaspoon)

1 teaspoon of cumin

Quarter cup of tomato paste

8 cups of low sodium broth (I used homemade vegetable)

Zest from 1 lemon

Juice from half a lemon

1 bunch of kale, leaves removed from stems and torn into easily edible pieces

7 ounces (about half a box) of angel hair pasta, broken into fourths

1 fifteen ounce can of navy beans, drained, rinsed and drained again

Salt and pepper to taste


A dutch oven or a large pot with lid

A sharp knife

A spatula

Add the olive oil to your dutch oven and place over a burner on medium heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally.  When the onion becomes translucent and the celery is softened, add the carrots, garlic, red pepper flake and cumin.  Stir to incorporate the ingredients.

After a minute (or when the spices become fragrant), add the tomato paste and stir it in.

Add a quarter to half a cup of broth, slowly to the pot.  Scrape up any of the brown bits attached to the bottom of the the pan (this is flavor!).  After scraping, add the rest of your broth.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and kale.  Stir to combine all the ingredients.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat.  Simmer the soup for about twenty to thirty minutes, or until the kale is tender and no longer bitter.

Add the broken angel hair pasta and navy beans.  Stir in the ingredients till evenly distributed amongst the soup.  Lid the pot again and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Uncover the pot and allow to cool for five to ten minutes (to avoid burned mouths) before serving.

3 thoughts on “Tunisian Soup

  1. I’m pretty picky about food, but other than the kale everything sounds good. Sometimes you can try other peppers besides normal red pepper flakes for soups. I have some urfa crushed red pepper (from turkey) and aleppo crushed red pepper (from syria) that have kind of a smokey flavor to them. 🙂

    • You’re the second person that told me today that they didn’t like kale! It’s Roo’s favorite green, so I use it the most in our meals. But, I’ll try to make an effort to include some different greens in future recipes.

      And thanks for the info on other peppers! I’m absolutely addicted to red pepper flake but I’ve been meaning to try others. I think with your notes I’ll make a Penzey’s run this weekend. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. I am always trying to find an authentic Tunisian recipe that i can cook for my husband, who by the way is Tunisian. For some reason even following the recipe exactly it still comes out wrong. Loke this recipe the Tunisian soup with angel hair pasta. Its great it has an awesome flavor but the noodles soaked up all my nice liquid and now it seems more of a broken up pasta with veggies. I did use a different bean because i could not find plain canned navy beans.
    So when i make this again i will precook the pasta so it doesn’t soak up all the liquid. I can send you a picture of how it turned out if you want.
    Oh and i chopped up my cartots instead of slicing them up.

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