It might seem strange to cook the chickpeas for the extra 30 minutes, but that causes them to release additional starches into the water that thicken the soup. It’s a nice way to avoid adding corn starch or flour as a thickener while still retaining an almost voluptuous texture. For the best flavor, cook your own chickpeas (to reduce sodium) and use the sweetest carrots you can find. I generally find that the varieties used for organic carrots are sweeter and have a stronger flavor than conventional carrots.

If you’re cooking chickpeas, I encourage you to cook the whole pound (or three cups dried) and freeze extra for future use. Dried beans are among the healthiest affordable foods you can buy. Cooking them in bulk will save time and energy, and it’s often nice to be able to just pull a container out of the freezer in the morning and cook with them later. Basically, homemade convenience food!

Alone, this feeds one hungry person who was quite physically active the day before. With side dishes like salad or bread, it would easily feed two. If need to make a quick meal, you can skip the extra 30 minutes of chickpea cooking time. You’ll just have a thinner soup.

Chickpea Carrot Soup with Crispy Shallots

1 to 2 servings

4 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped (eat the peel!)
1 1/3 c cooked chickpeas
3/4 c yellow squash, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/2 shallot, diced
1/4 t dried thyme
4-5 leaves dried sage
1 T lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook chickpeas until done and then drain, reserving water. Reserve extra chickpeas for another dish. Pour enough cooking water back in the pot to barely cover 1 1/3 c chickpeas and cook for an additional 30 minutes.* (This can done beforehand and refrigerated for up to about 5 days or so.) Add the carrots and yellow squash, barely cover with chickpea cooking water, cover pot, and simmer until the vegetables are just soft, about 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile, cook the shallot pieces separately over low heat in 1 T olive oil, stirring regularly and removing from the heat once they are browned**. Puree the chickpea mixture until smooth. While it is being processed, lightly toast the herbs in the remaining oil in the soup pot for about 1 minute. Pour the chickpea carrot blend into the herb pot. Reheat and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste, and thin with additional water if desired. Garnish with the shallots and/or additional sage leaves. (I like mine thick, but you can thin it more if you like.)

*Using canned chickpeas? Drain and rinse, then simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the skins start to pop off. Continue as written from the star above, using water or broth as your added liquid.

** “Crispy” occurs when you let them brown fairly dark. Theoretically, that’s what I was going to do with my shallot. Actually, as you’ll see in the photo, they were mostly lightly toasted. I’m someone who like warm bread more than toast, and happily gives away the bits of fried cheese that fall out of grilled cheese sandwiches.

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