Down here in the South, we aren't exactly used to winter weather... In the uncharacteristically cold winter we're having this year, I'm trying not to notice just how many layers I need to wear when walking out the front door, and instead focus on the wonderful opportunity for fixing soups! I was especially excited, then, when Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen introduced me to her terrific blog event, No Croutons Required, with this month's perfect theme of vegetarian soups! I especially love how Lisa requested submissions of "a soup that even the most carnivorous diner would drool over," perfectly highlighting the incredible versatility of vegetarian dishes for everyone. And since I'm all about tasting and savoring everything with everyone... what better excuse to combine chickpeas, one of my favorite ingredients of all time (and a complete power-horse of protein and fiber and flavor), with a couple of my favorite spices, for a bowl of hearty goodness?
Oh yes, and this simple, intensely flavorful, healthful, filling, vegetarian and vegan soup did indeed garner the official seal of approval from the two intensely carnivorous guys at the table... I beleive their exact response was a slightly muffled, mouths-full, "mmm... wow... good... really good..."
Score one for soup.
Chickpea and Spinach Soup2 T olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained
1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp. turmeric
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
10 oz baby spinach leaves
1 cup arborio rice
~ In a small pan or rice cooker, cook the rice according to package directions.
~ Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and saute the onions for 5 minutes - until limp and transparent.
~ Add the garlic, and saute for one more minute.
~ Stir in the chickpeas, crushed red pepper, broth, cumin, tumeric, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover until the rice finishes cooking.~ When the rice is cooked, add the rice to the soup pot, cover again, and continuing simmering.
~ 1/2 hour before you're ready to serve the soup, stir in the spinach. Cover again and simmer for that last half hour... then... Soup's ready! (See it steaming?)