It is finally starting to feel like winter in California. In celebration of the season that embraces warm jackets, snuggling and hearty meals, I will be posting some of my favorite soups in the weeks to come. One of my favorites is Lebanese Vegetable Soup: hearty vegetables and chickpeas floating in a medium-spiced tomato broth. The best part about this soup for me is the chickpeas. They really round out the dish and add much needed protein.
Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo Beans, are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. This makes them an important food for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. Chickpeas are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, which is an excellent detoxifier. Like most legumes, chickpeas are excellent at lowering cholesterol, decreasing the risk of heart disease and providing energy. Chickpeas are also a great source of iron, phosphorus and manganese.
Topping off the completed soup with some yogurt ensures a complete protein in this meal and helps aid digestion.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 10 marinated artichoke hearts, sliced thinly
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks (try to make them as uniform as possible)
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped or 1 can crushed plum tomatoes (15 ounce, no salt added)
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- optional: lemon wedges, yogurt, chopped parsley
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot and add chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Add coriander, bay leaf and cayenne and stir to coat vegetables. Add potatoes, tomatoes (and their liquid if you are using canned tomatoes), broth and 2 pinches of sea salt. Bring soup to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas and cook soup until potatoes are tender, about 5 more minutes. Add artichoke pieces, and simmer for 3 minutes so the flavors can meld. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and remove bay leaf before serving. Serve garnished with yogurt, chopped parsley and lemon.