In the new year we are often filled with grand plans and a resolve to Do Better — eat better, live better, better spend our money … I am not aspiring to many lofty goals this year, though I do have a few intentions: to write more and consume less, up my weekly long run to 10 miles at least once a month and get in a half marathon (if just on my own impetus) before my next birthday, downsize our possessions a bit and be more mindful about any further purchases or acquisitions. I feel these are fairly modest goals, one of my main requirements when setting goals in general. Let them be achievable! Another goal is to post more in this space, as I have a backlog of recipes to share.
Despite my 2017 best intentions, the year slipped over without my posting this recipe. It’s a perfect cozy post-holiday soup, simple and nourishing, and I’ve been making it every other week for a few months now. It first came to my attention when I had both leftover homemade chickpeas in the fridge (I’ve been doing the bean soaking and boiling thing for awhile now, both in the interest of using less packaging in the form of cans and also because they are cheaper and lacking any additives such as salt or sugar which often turned up in supermarket canned beans) and celery. Do you find it’s difficult to use up celery? I do. However, they make do a wonderful addition to a soup base so I make sure to plan several soups to incorporate any celery I do buy. A practice I’ve really adhered to over the past five years or so is meal planning; it helps eliminate food waste, trims the grocery bill, and helps soothe any weeknight meal angst (though do make sure to build in some room for changing up the menu if Tuesday night arrives and you can’t bear the thought of vegetable stir fry). I take 10 minutes or so every week to plot out meals and it eliminates the nightly dinner struggle – so helpful when, as I’ve mentioned, the hangrys strike and the little ladies are frantic for chow time.
This soup is a perfect one dish meal — a bit of pasta, a bit of legume, some vegetables, nothing complicated but wholly satisfying. You could add a salad or some bread on the side but it’s not necessary. It’s not particularly brothy so while this is called a soup it’s technically more like a stew. I think it’s also rather forgiving and you could add in a handful or two of chopped spinach, perhaps a cup of peas … I cook it in my dutch oven and thin any leftovers with a splash or two of water.
Happy new year! Here’s to a great one.
Finish bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan cheese if you’re feeling fancy.
Makes 6 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, divided
6 cups of water
1 cup risoni (orzo)
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsely – optional
Fine sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook a few minutes more. Season with a generous sprinkling of salt.
Add 2 cups chickpeas and the water and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. In a blender or using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup. Return to the pot and add the pasta; cook until al dente. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of the chickpeas and the parsley if using. Salt and pepper to taste. Finish with parmesan if desired.