What is chickpea soup?
Chickpea soup is everyone’s favorite food. I haven’t come across anyone who particularly doesn’t like it. With the latest trends in food and lifestyle, many people have adapted chickpea into their diet for added nutrition and health benefits. It’s the darling of vegans and vegetarians because it is high in proteins and other nutritious elements.
Today we will learn the health benefits and the recipe for an easy and quick chickpea soup. To understand nutrition, let us understand the nutrient elements first. We have listed below the nutrients for 28-gram or 1-ounce chickpea serving:
- Calories: 46
- Carbohydrates: 7 grams
- Fiber Content: 3 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 0.7 grams
- Folate: 10% of Recommended Daily Intake
- Iron: 5% of Recommended Daily Intake
- Sodium: 60 mg
- Phosphorus: 7% of Recommended Daily Intake
- Copper: 4% of Recommended Daily Intake
- Manganese: 15% of Recommended Daily Intake
Other benefits are its cholesterol-free, high in fiber, low in Sodium, low in sugars, and rich in B vitamins niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Obviously, it is nutrient-dense and a portion of valuable food. As you can see, just 1 ounce of chickpea intake meets on average 5-10% of daily nutrition needs.
Let’s first list out the ingredients required for the recipe.
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1 large white onion – diced or sliced
- 2 garlic cloves – finely diced
- 1 leek – use only the light green and white parts – sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons of hot Hungarian paprika
- 3 medium carrots weighing 8 ounces – medium chopped
- 3-4 cups vegetable broth (preferably low sodium)
- 2 cans of precooked chickpeas weighing 15 ounces – rinsed (preferably low Sodium)
- Some amount of kosher salt as per taste
Directions for cooking
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan or skillet or a Dutch oven. Keep the flame on medium. Add white onions that have been finely diced to the oil when it is hot and let them fry for a bit until they are slightly translucent. Stir occasionally to ensure they cook evenly and do not get burnt. Add more oil if it feels so. Then add the garlic, carrots, and leek in the pot and stir the contents to ensure they are mixed among themselves and the oil. This will enable even cooking of all the contents. Let the mixture cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Rinse the chickpeas in cold water, and remove the water. Ensure there is very little water left before adding to the pan, else the oil will spurt. Add almost all the contents and retain 1/5th of the chickpeas for use later on. Keep stirring occasionally and check if the contents are cooking well. Let the mixture cook for 5-6 minutes more by when you have vegetables completely cooked. Do not cover with anything while it cooks.
- Now add 3-4 cups vegetable broth with preferably low Sodium to the mixture in the pan. Add two cups of water to give it enough consistency and also enough water content to cook in. You can increase the flame to high while all of this is being done and only reduce the flame back to simmer when the contents start to boil. Let it sit on simmer for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are very tender and the mixture is ready. It can now be taken off the heat and can wait for it to cool down a bit.
- In a different pan, take canola oil and heat it. Once hot, add 1-2 tablespoons of the hot Hungarian paprika and let it fry in the oil on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until ready. Then remove this mixture from the flame and strain it to remove paprika and keep it idle to help cool it down.
- Chop up the remaining batch of chickpeas in a rough manner. These will be used later on as a kind of garnishing.
- Once the soupy mixture is cooled down a bit, add it in small batches to a blender and puree the soup into a fine and smooth soupy consistency. Once the puree is ready, you can add the paprika oil to it and add the roughly chopped chickpeas to it.
- Your creamy chickpea soup is now ready. Pour it in bowls and garnish it with freshly chopped parsley.
- There will be some level of multi-tasking involved. So you will have to keep multiple things going at the same time. So ensure you are adequately prepared.
- Paprika can burn easily if not careful. So you will have to use your judgment on the heat of the oil. It has to be just right so that the paprika will cook in it and not burn or roast.
- When adding the paprika oil to the soupy mixture, it has to be hot enough to give a small amount of spurt but nothing too big to splash the oil outside the pan. The spurting action gives a sparkling flavor to the dish if done correctly.
- After the mixture has been blended, do ensure to reheat it before adding the paprika oil. Reheating will increase the flavor.
That’s it. You will now be able to enjoy a piping hot and tasty chickpea soup. With enough practice, you should be able to prepare this in 15-20 minutes easily. It’s nutritious, filling, and very tasty at the same time. Chickpea soup proves that indulging in tasty food does not mean it will always be unhealthy.
Variations & Additional Tips
- You can have some nice variations with the plain Jane chickpea soup that we discussed. Let us see a few of them below. While you can do more, we leave them to your imagination and adaptations in the kitchen.
- You can replace the vegetable broth with chicken broth to give a different flavor to it.
- Since this is a soup, if you have a leftover ham bone, you might as well use it. Even adding ham shanks will be great.
- Herbs add to the flavor and give it a wonderfully beautiful taste, especially in winters when it is cold and you want spicy soup. You can add Bay leaves, clove, thyme, and parsley after the onions are done.
- You can add red or yellow potatoes. Potatoes absorb the broth and they build the taste. Put the potatoes along with the carrots and celery.
If you plan to cook in advance and store it or have leftover and want to relish it later again, you can relax. This soup is easy to store and can very well last 3 days in the fridge. Unless packed in an air-tight container, it will thicken in the fridge as it rests. You can also freeze this soup and it can easily last up to 3 months in the freezer. Like water and watery foods, the soup will expand in the freezer and ensure that the container is flexible and there is little more room for it to expand. You can let it thaw overnight and then reheat in the pan the next day to cook it.
Chickpeas are a precious and perfect source of nutrition. It has just the right amount of protein and other nutrients needed by humans. So it is essential to include it in our diet at least a few times a week in healthy doses.
We have discussed the use in a soup, but you can also toss them in a salad just like that or use any other recipes like hummus. Not just for vegans, but it is an essential source of nutrition for all because you should always have all types of protein sources in your diet to have a balanced intake of all nutrients.