This eggplant soup recipe is rich, silky-smooth and creamy, but without adding any cream. An easy, simple to prepare, make-ahead lunch or appetizer meal. With just a handful of ingredients, this eggplant or aubergine soup is bursting with comforting sweet and smoky flavours. Roasted chickpeas are the perfect topping to this velvety soup adding just the right amount of crunch and flavour.
What is eggplant soup?
With a green stem, eggplant is a delicate, beautiful vegetable boasting a smooth, glossy skin that can range in colour from white, to violet, to dark purple and sometimes even striped patterns containing various colours. It’s mostly known for its distinctive egg-shaped, elongated, bulbous appearance. The flesh has an off-white colour with a spongy texture which makes it very absorbent.
Eggplant is a popular vegetable used in cuisines around the world. In various food cultures, eggplant goes by different names such as ‘aubergine’ in the UK and ‘brinjal’ in parts of Asia and Southern Africa, thereby giving rise to dishes like ‘aubergine soup’ or ‘brinjal soup.’
Eggplant works like a sponge, absorbing the flavours of whatever it is cooked in. In general, eggplant offers a mild, slightly sweet, and subtly earthy flavour profile. The vegetable can be grilled, cooked, steamed, pickled or roasted, all of which uplifts its delicious and complex taste. Once cooked, the flesh undergoes a transformation becoming soft, tender and inherently creamy making it a great ingredient for dips like this roasted eggplant hummus, for enriching soups or for the famous French ratatouille.
Why you’ll love this Eggplant soup
- Easy to make: This soup recipe comes together fairly easily with minimum everyday pantry-friendly ingredients.
- Comforting: Eggplant soup has a smooth and velvety texture making it very comforting and pleasing to eat.
- Nutritious: Eggplants are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, fibre and vitamins making this soup a healthy meal.
- Versatile: Even though roasted eggplant in soup has lots of flavour by itself, it can be bolstered by adding various extra vegetables, spices and herbs.
- Creamy: This soup has such a lovely creamy texture without adding any cream. Blending the roasted eggplant creates its own dairy-free creaminess.
- Make ahead: This soup is a great make ahead meal. You can prepare a larger batch and keep it in the fridge or freezer for later so you can enjoy it as a quick, easy, light weeknight dinner or you can take it to work for lunch and re-heat it in the lunch room microwave.
Which ingredients to use
- Eggplants: Look for eggplants that feel firm with a smooth and glossy skin with no marks or brown spots.
- Olive oil: As the eggplant will absorb all the oil while roasting in the pan it is best to go with olive oil. This is the healthiest choice while also adding some extra Mediterranean flavour.
- Onions: Caramelising yellow onions is a large part of the flavour base of the aubergine soup. Use at least 2 large yellow onions for best results.
- Garlic: This soup can stand a good amount of garlic so don’t be shy. I use 3 cloves of fresh garlic, but feel free to add more according to personal preference.
- Broth: Vegetable broth infuses the soup with an aromatic base and is what best complements the rich flavours of roasted eggplant. Substitute with water and vegetable stock cubes if that’s what you have at hand.
- Cumin: Ground cumin is a spice that pairs perfectly with roasted eggplant, giving it an extra Mediterranean flair.
- Smoked paprika: For that extra bit of heat and smokiness.
- Salt and pepper: Adjust seasoning with salt and cracked black pepper for the best taste.
How to make eggplant soup
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making this brinjal soup or aubergine soup hardly requires any effort. Just a little bit of chopping and you’re ready to go.
Step 1: Prepare the vegetables
Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Peel and finely dice the onions. Wash the eggplants, remove the green stem and cut in cubes of about 1 inch or 2.5 cm. Make sure to cut the eggplant in similar sized cubes to allow for equal roasting and cooking.
Step 2: Pan-roast the eggplant
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant cubes in a single layer in the pan and sauté for 5-6 minutes until soft. If you cannot fit all the eggplant in a single layer in the pan, rather work in batches. You’ll notice that the oil will be absorbed immediately by the eggplants, but don’t worry about that. However, don’t add any more oil either as it will all be absorbed immediately again and will end up in the soup and may affect the overall flavour. Also, while olive oil is healthier than regular oil, too much of it isn’t really a good thing for the overall health benefits of the soup. Just keep stirring to ensure the eggplant cubes don’t stick to the pan.
Transfer the cooked eggplant to a separate bowl for later.
Step 3: Sauté the onions
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onions for 10 minutes or until translucent and soft. This step is important as it will build the flavour base for the soup. The onions will release their flavour and will slowly caramelise. Make sure the onions sweat and stay translucent instead of cooking golden brown as it will change the flavour base if you overcook them.
Step 4: Add the other ingredients
When the onion is translucent, add the minced garlic, the cooked eggplant, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Leave to cook for 1 minute in order to release the flavours of the seasoning.
Step 5: Simmer the soup
Pour in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as the soup boils, reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft enough to be blended.
Step 6: Blend the soup into a creamy consistency
When all the vegetables are cooked, remove the soup pot from the heat. Use either an immersion blender or stick blender to blend the soup while still in the pot into a smooth and creamy consistency, or you can use a kitchen processor or tabletop blender. Simply transfer the soup into the machine and blend until the desired consistency is achieved. In this case, you might have to work in batches if the blender isn’t big enough, transferring the pureed soup into a separate bowl after each blend.
If you used a table top blender, transfer the soup back in to the pot, taste and adjust seasoning. You could also taste test while the soup is still in the blender, giving it another whirl each time you think you need to add more of something.
Serve with fresh parsley or roasted chickpeas.
How to make roasted chickpeas
Crispy roasted chickpeas or chickpea croutons make an excellent topping for this aubergine soup. Here’s why:
- Texture: They add a great contrast of texture to this otherwise smooth soup.
- Taste: Roasted or fried chickpeas have a beautiful nutty flavour which complements the subtle taste of the soup.
- Gluten-free: You can make this soup completely gluten-free by adding these ‘chickpea croutons’ instead of bread croutons.
- Seasoning: Roast or fry the chickpeas with your preferred seasoning which will make the soup taste even better.
Crispy chickpeas can either be made in the oven or in a pan. The difference is that in the oven they will become more crunchy making them even better as a snack on their own. However, for this particular soup I usually opt to make pan fried chickpeas which taste just as good, while maintaining a more silky smooth texture in the soup without too much crunch.
If you’d like more information about how to make crispy oven-roasted chickpeas, check out this recipe of mine. It’s fool-proof.
But for pan fried chickpeas, here’s how to make them. Either opt to make a larger batch to use for various other times or make just enough for this soup. I also start with a can of pre-cooked chickpeas for ease, which is perfectly fine.
- Tip the chickpeas from the can in to a colander and rinse with cold water. Pat them properly dry with kitchen paper or a clean kitchen towel.
- Transfer the chickpeas in a bowl and add your seasoning of choice. I use salt, pepper, ground cumin and smoked paprika (read more here about Spanish pimentón) and mix to coat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon (not more!) of olive oil in a non-stick skillet or pan and roast the chickpeas over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and roasted, while stirring frequently.
You can make these fried chickpeas while the soup is simmering so they are ready when the soup is done.
How to store this soup
When making a larger batch of soup or when having leftovers you can perfectly store them for later. Even better, the taste of the soup develops over time and the next day it will be even more richer, tastier and creamier.
Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring the soup in an airtight container. Place in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When freezing, divide in smaller portions in freezer friendly containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Leave to thaw overnight in the fridge and re-heat in the microwave or on low heat in a pan on the stove.
Looking for more comfort soup recipes to try?
- Cauliflower and chestnut soup
- Red lentil soup with carrots
- Roasted chestnut soup with mushrooms
- Celeriac soup with pecans
- Savoy cabbage soup
Eggplant soup with roasted chickpeas
For the eggplant soup
- 1 pound (or 500 grams) eggplants cubed
- 2 large yellow onions finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4½ cups (or 1 litre) vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
Optional – Roasted chickpeas
- 5 ounces (or 150 grams) chickpeas cooked and drained
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the eggplant in cubes of about 1 inch or 2.5 cm. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and sauté for 5-6 minutes until soft. The oil will get absorbed very fast by the eggplant, so keep stirring often in order to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Transfer the fried eggplant in a separate bowl for later.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes until translucent and soft.
- Add the minced garlic and fried eggplant cubes to the pot. Season with cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and leave to simmer, covered with a lid, for 15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
- Blend until creamy and smooth with an immersion or table top blender. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Serve with optional garnish like roasted chickpeas, fresh parsley or fresh cilantro.
For the roasted chickpeas (optional garnish)
- Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water in a colander. Drain and pat properly dry with a clean kitchen towel. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin and mix to coat.
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and sauté for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and roasted while stirring regularly.
- Blend the soup: Leaving the cooked veggies in the pot, use an immersion or stick blender, or transfer the soup in a kitchen processor or table top blender and blend on high speed until creamy and smooth.
- Thickness: If the soup is too thick, adjust with more liquid or broth to your preferred consistency.