Indian Spiced Chickpea Soup

One of my favorite things about winter is  coming out of the bitter cold and enjoying something warm and comforting. Sometimes the  only reason I'm able to force myself outside is the promise of a steaming mug of hot cocoa when I get back. In fact, I sometimes go for a long walk, just because I know my food will taste that much better if I'm a human popsicle.

...too weird?

I first tried this soup at Fair Trade Café in Madison (my faaaaavorite place). I had spent the morning with my friends on a college visit, which ended with a 100 minute walking tour around campus in the windy, frigid weather. Luckily I brought a hat and mittens (thanks mom) but my thin socks and high tops were...less than sensible.

The tour was great, but 100 minutes felt like 100 years and afterwards, my feet were numb, my legs were stiff, my nose was embarrassingly red (read: glowing), and I was starving. Walking into the warm, cozy coffee shop was the best feeling ever. With my icy-cold fingers wrapped around the mug of my frothy almond milk cappuccino, I was already in a state of giddy relief, but my vegan chickpea soup put it over the top. Warm, comforting, laced with aromatic spices and a creamy, buttery contrast from the chickpeas, I knew after the first spoonful that I MUST try to recreate it. It took some trial and error, but I think I've finally got it and also managed to keep it vegan!

Ugh, what I would give to be able to eat this. #allthegluten

Ugh, what I would give to be able to eat this. #allthegluten

Indian spices are my absolute favorite, especially in the winter. Not only are they warming, but they boast a whole host of health benefits that fight viruses and inflammation. Goodbye flu season! Make this soup for a comforting dinner, or whip up a big batch on Sunday to enjoy for lunch during the week. Whether your pre-meal includes a jaunt in the arctic, or you've simply been sitting at your desk,  soup is a light but satisfying lunch to cheer up a chilly day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp each: curry powder, turmeric, cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (Indian spice blend) 
  • 1/2 onion; chopped
  • 1 clove garlic; minced
  • 2 carrots; diced
  • 1/2 sweet potato; diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped (boxed/canned) tomatoes
  • optional: 1/4-1/2 cup canned coconut milk (for a creamier soup)

Heat the oil to medium-high in a heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven. Add the spices and toast until fragrant, then add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the carrots and sweet potato and cook for 2 minutes, then add the broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the soup simmer until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the chickpeas and tomatoes. Using an immersion blender, roughly puree about 1/2 of the mixture. (this thickens it up) Right before serving, stir in coconut milk if using. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.