June 21, 2011

Recipe - Spicy Chickpea Soup with Orzo and Lemon

Hi guys! It's been so damn long since I posted anything, but it's not entirely my fault! I've been wanting to post this recipe since last week, but I took a picture of the finished product with Johnny's cell phone and he went off on vacation before I had a chance to upload the pics to our computer. Anyway, I'll go ahead with the recipe and will add the pic in when he returns from Tucson.

I've been feeling a bit like the world has gone mad lately. What with pics of Anthony Weiner in various states of undress violating my vision, Casey Anthony's murder trial being dissected on every station, and reading that two dudes were arrested for conspiring to kill Joss Stone (ummm... really?), I've had the overwhelming urge to just unplug and get back to basics. Like Susan Powter needs to pop up and shout, "STOP THE MADNESS!" 

So while you may think I've joined the ranks of the stark-raving lunatics to be posting a soup recipe in the middle of such a cruel, cruel summer, but don't count me out yet. This is one of the easiest meals I have ever thrown together, and less time spent in the kitchen + only one stovetop burner used = a might fine summer recipe in my book!

Chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes, whole wheat orzo... simple and filling food, like the kind you should be eating everyday! This soup is very low in fat calories and is also a great source of protein and fiber. The lemony taste is unexpected and the tiny orzo noodles make it feel like comfort food. I served it with a toasted slice of Ezekiel Genesis bread buttered with a bit of Earth Balance and it was a very satisfying and healthy dinner. It also makes 8 servings so you can take the leftovers to work with a sandwich or wrap. I love soup for lunch because it satiates my hunger, but not so much that I develop narcolepsy in the afternoon.

And best of all - Johnny was a fan! I knew going in it wouldn't be his favorite meal ever, but was pleasantly surprised by how much he liked it. Considering how easy to make and healthy it is, this will be a repeat offender for sure.

BTW, I am using the word "chickpea" rather than "garbanzo bean" because apparently that's the thing to do on the East coast. Wonder why the difference?

Look! I finally caught a picture of the elusive Chickpea Soup!
Spicy Chickpea Soup with Lemon and Orzo
Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (get no-salt added if you can)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
4 tbsp powdered vegetable broth
7-8 cups filtered water
1 cup whole wheat orzo
3 cups fresh spinach
Juice of one lemon

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions are cooked through (but not browned), add the spices and cook for a minute more. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and broth. Add about half the water and stir. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the orzo and continue simmering for another 20 minutes. As the soup cooks, add additional water as you see fit (depending on your taste, you may want a thicker stew or a thinner soup). Once the orzo is fully cooked, remove from heat and stir in the spinach and lemon. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes so the spinach wilts. Serve hot.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories 232; Total fat 5.5g; Saturated fat 0.5g; Trans fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 399mg; Carbohydrate 38.4g; Dietary Fiber 9.9g; Sugars 1.7g; Protein 9.5g; Vitamin A 17%; Vitamin C 13%; Calcium 3%; Iron 12%

A little bonus to tell you about my newest obsession... I've been hearing about coconut butter for years, but held off on buying any because of the cost. I finally made the leap and bought a small jar of Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter at Whole Foods this week for about $8.00. Thanks to the brilliant Jessica at The Domestic Vegan, I already knew what I wanted to do with it - stuff some into a medjool date for a tasty little dessert. I popped one into the micro for just 5 seconds to loosen up the butter a bit. And then I died and went to heaven! People, do not deny yourself this goodness! It was like a chewy date filled with coconut icing! Surprisingly sweet and even one was very satisfying (though I, of course, went back for a second). While coconut butter is pretty high in fat, you don't need much to pack a punch. Plus, it's got some protein, fiber, and fatty acid benefits to it that have made it all the rage in the health-food world. And if the cost is a deterrent to you, take a note from Matthew over at Vegan Heartland and make your own. Sometimes my fellow vegans are freakin' geniuses. Peace out!


  1. There's a line in this post that reminds me of the Aimee Mann lyrics: "From the ranks/ of the freaks/ who suspect/ they could never love anyone." Love that song. :)

    And yum! I'm learning that I love coconut everything. (Although I bought some raw, chopped coconut at Whole Foods and had no idea what to do with it.) I was weirded out by it at first but got addicted to coconut water after trying it at my yoga studio. I don't drink it too often because it has more calories than actual water (duh), but it's great if you're really dehydrated or have the will power to have just a little.

    And you know how I love So Delicious coconut milk ice cream.

  2. Is the line that reminds you of Aimee Mann "This soup is very low in fat calories and is also a great source of protein and fiber"? HA! Kidding.

    I love coconut everything, too, especially in the summer. I wanna taste coconut and smell like coconut and live inside of a big old coconut! Bet that raw, chopped coconut would be awesome in a smoothie...