Chickpeas are a true Super Food, providing a complete protein as well essential and non-essential amino acids. Small wonder they're used the world over. Adapted from a collection of quick after-work recipes, a chickpea-tomato puree provides a nice thickened base for this simple, hearty soup. No fuss. No muss. Use the lardons or omit if you want. Cheese is also optional.
- I tablespoon olive oil (plus more to drizzle)
- 2 oz. lardons (optional but adds nice base flavor!)
- I medium white onion, cut into ½ inch dice
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large juicy tomatoes, rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, rough chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or use cannellini or Great Northern beans (like the picture!)
- 2 1/2 cups store bought stock, or use your own
- 5 oz. pasta (macaroni, fusilli, orichetti or farfalle for example)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced or 1 teaspoon, dried
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 oz. Gruyere, Emmentaler or Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
- Heat a medium size saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil
- When warm, add the lardons (optional) to the oil and saute for a few minutes to release their juices and aroma
- Add the onions and garlic and reduce the heat until you just hear them barely sizzle. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are soft and you can smell that delicious aroma.
- In a small food processor, puree the tomatoes, tomato paste, rosemary, half the chickpeas and 1 cup of stock (or water if you prefer). Puree should still have a little texture, but no worries if you puree too much. This is easy after all!
- Stir the pureed ingredients into the onion mixture along with remaining stock. Once liquid ingredients are all combined, add the pasta, bring to a simmer, cover and cook about 8- 10 minutes until the pasta is al dente. (See your pasta package instructions for the right cooking time.) Add more stock or water for a more liquid soup or to keep the ingredients from sticking, as needed.
- Stir in fresh thyme and cayenne and have a quick taste. Season with salt and pepper to your preference
- Gently stir in the remaining chickpeas (or your choice of beans) and heat through for one minute
- Serve in bowls with a whirl of olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese (optional)
*** For a little food-gene cross talk, throw in a handful of arugula or finely sliced kale just before serving. Bring on the sulforaphane!