Call it a chickpea or a garbanzo bean, this delectable little doubly named legume is about as versatile as it gets; so it’s no surprise that when cozied up with warm spices and savory broth, it makes for an amazing spiced chickpea soup as well.
The “Souper-duper” Chickpea
Whether the star player in a delicious and creamy hummus dip (one of my personal favorite snacks), or in a crispy and savory falafel, or seasoned and roasted up in the oven to a toasty and crisp goodness, or added directly into a hearty and filling salad, the chickpea is a perfect go-to for a healthy punch of protein and fiber, along with some really great texture.
Come to think of it, I use chickpeas quite a lot.
So what about adding chickpeas to soup?
Chickpeas naturally thicken and give body to a soup, especially when pureed with other ingredients like veggies; and they absolutely love to be partnered with intense flavors, so pairing them with fragrant and warming spices is the way to go.
Spiced chickpea soup is a comforting, warming, and quick-to-prepare meal, especially with the addition of some shredded rotisserie chicken, along with some baby spinach and diced tomatoes—all you need is a piece or two of pita, flatbread or even crusty French bread, and you’ll be enjoying some healthy coziness in a bowl in no time.
Spiced Chickpea Soup: Tips & Tidbits:
• Can-do for convenience: Good quality canned chickpeas (I prefer organic) are perfect for this soup—just drain and rinse them well before adding them in.
• Give it whirl: Using a hand-held immersion stick is great for this soup; but if you’d prefer to use a blender, just make sure to blend in divided portions so you don’t end up with hot soup all over your kitchen, or more importantly, you.
• Round up the rotisserie: I love to use rotisserie chicken for this recipe, as it’s a super convenient time-saver; just remove the skin, shred the meat, and add in.
• Just veg: Looking for a sans-meat, vegetarian option? No problem. Simply leave out the chicken, and substitute vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock, and you’re golden.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Spiced Chickpea Soup with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 6
• Avocado or olive oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
• 3 ribs celery, diced
• Black pepper
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, divided use
• 6 cups hot chicken stock
• 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained of juice
• 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
• 1 cup baby spinach leaves
• 1 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• 1 tablespoon chopped mint
• Lemon wedges, optional
-Set a soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the diced onion, carrot and celery, plus a couple of pinches of salt and pepper; saute for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
-Add in the garlic, along with the cumin, coriander and pinch of cayenne pepper, and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds to a minute; add in the tomato paste and stir to incorporate.
-Add in 1 of the cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), along with the chicken stock, and bring to the boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer the soup for 20 minutes, just until the veggies are soft.
-Using a hand-held immersion blender (or you can even use a blender, just work in batches), blend the soup until fairly smooth; then, add in the remaining can of (drained and rinsed) chickpeas, the diced tomatoes, shredded chicken, spinach leaves, parsley, cilantro and mint, and stir together just until the spinach wilts; check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed, and perhaps even a little squeeze of lemon.
-Serve with some pita or flatbread, or even crusty French bread, and drizzle with a little avocado or olive oil over top as a finisher.
From The Heart: “Discovering The Meaning of Life In The Dust”
(“From the Heart” is a little accompaniment to the recipes I bring you, a more intimate space for me to share some of my more personal thoughts on life. Here you’ll find my reflections on my own inner/spiritual journey, on being a wife and a mother, on being a creative, and general observations—pretty much whatever is on my mind.
I whole-heartedly believe that sharing “from the heart” with one another is what connects us, heals us, and inspires us! Glad you’re here…)
I have always found Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s quote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” incredibly intriguing and insightful, and something worth pondering in those quiet, private moments.
It has resonated deeply with me, as I myself have been able to catch an occasional glimpse of the sheer vastness of the world within me, this sort of “cosmic universe” that seems to be infinite and without boundaries, and much bigger than my physical being is even truly capable of containing.
This “universe” has an inquisitiveness that doesn’t seem to be able to be satisfied in the rather limited time that I (or any of us) have here on this plane, and it is looking for answers and experiences that, somehow, I am aware cannot completely be found here, but will more fully be revealed in another place and time.
It seems to be much more than I can give words to or that I can flesh out, much more than I could ever try to hold still, or even try to explain.
This center within me has a “never-ending” sort of quality, and represents the totality of what I am, all that I am connected to, and all that I know and am yet to understand.
…the revelation will come in that very quest to understand what it means to be an individual, so that I can ultimately understand what it means to be a part of the whole.
Though there are many things that I am already conscious of, when I consider those things that I do not yet have a firm grasp on but am vaguely aware that I do have a need to someday understand, if I am to be complete, then it all seems overwhelming—like there is certainly not enough time in this physical life span to learn about, grasp, and apply all that I am sensing I should be grasping and gaining an understanding of.
And as I sat one evening just sort of thinking about this, it was followed by another realization, a very liberating one that gave me tremendous peace, which came as a quiet and calm voice from within to balance things out for me:
All of those “should be’s” are self-imposed anyway, so don’t worry.
You don’t need to intimately understand and be able to perfectly apply all that you may glimpse as being important in the grand scheme of life.
The totality of the understanding that your soul will ultimately experience will take place throughout your infinite existence, much of which will not even be during the physical experience; but it is simply enough to know that there will be more to be understood and experienced beyond what there is here.
Focus now on the dust, on the physical, on being human, on where you currently stand, as that is the work you’ve been given to do now.
Try to understand this concept of “heaven on earth”.
So to put it simply, and not so esoterically: I am born in the dust. I am to do my “work” in the dust. And revelation—the meaning, the connecting of certain dots that is relevant to this portion of the journey—is to be experienced in the dust.
It means that I am born a physical being, with limitations, boundaries, and a finite amount of time; that the work I have to do is the work of continued searching, continued development of my desire, continued introduction to and understanding of what needs correction; and that the revelation will come in that very quest to understand what it means to be an individual, so that I can ultimately understand what it means to be a part of the whole.
And it made sense, and gave me an incredible feeling of freedom.
How can more be revealed by our Creator (bigger truths, greater understanding and wisdom) if the foundational truths—those concepts and lessons which we must grasp that are found in the dust, the dirt, the earth, the physical—are not first understood?
Upon what will the “more” be placed if the foundation is shaky, if we do not first have a true understanding of what it means to be human?
As challenging and as (frankly) ugly as our world can sometimes seem, it is our school and our place to begin our learning process…
Being human, and all that comes along with it, is step one.
And to ascend, “step one” must be fully grasped.
So what does it mean to be human anyway?
In my understanding it means discovering what it is to be an authentic individual, as that is the only way to understand what it means to someday be a part of the whole, the All.
It means getting my hands dirty in the earth, digging around in there, rubbing it on my face, wallowing around in it, getting it all over me, and getting acquainted with the nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty aspects of it.
It means using the dust, the earth, the physical, to plant seeds in, and to have the responsibility of tending to that garden, learning what it means to be a “good steward” of it, and eventually harvesting that life-sustaining food that has grown out of those seeds, that will now nourish not only myself, but others as well.
It is having an intimate understanding of the very nature of the dust, of the physical, in order to be able to receive, at the right time, an understanding of the ethereal and that which is without boundaries—the limitless.
It is tasting love, and then making the choice to continue to seek it out and experience it in a place where hate also dwells. (Talk about true freedom.)
So plainly put, my hands are full enough with the work that is to be done now, in the dust.
It is enough to have a slight knowing that there is so much more for the spirit to learn and to understand, but that with God, “time” has no relevance. We have all of eternity to understand the fullness of life, because we live only a fleeting portion of its vastness in the physical.
But we must intimately understand it, none the less, for more to be given.
As challenging and as (frankly) ugly as our world can sometimes seem, it is our school and our place to begin our learning process; and it beautifully and wonderfully contains all that we need for this portion of our journey, for this particular moment that we’ve been given, to create the foundation that our Creator will build more upon in His time.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.