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Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup

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Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup | The Full Helping

My first boss used to joke that I’d probably be happy on a diet of mostly baby food. He said this because of my obvious love of mushy-textured foods, which I snacked on constantly at work: refried black bean dip, nut pate, and hummus. Especially hummus.

My love of mush hasn’t budged as the years go by. If anything, it’s gotten deeper. I love not just mushy dips, but also mushy porridge, soft/mushy grain dishes, smashed beans, and mushy soups and stews. This is especially true when it comes to puréed soups: the thicker the better, which means the texture sometimes walks a pretty fine line between soup and mush.

This creamy roasted garlic and chickpea soup isn’t offensively thick or mushy, and the addition of tender greens gives it some texture contrast. But it does have that thick, puréed texture that I love so much, and since the base is roasted garlic and chickpeas with a touch of lemon, it’s not so different from hummus soup. I’ve just given it a slightly fancier name 🙂

Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup | The Full Helping

The soup begins with two whole heads of roasted garlic. It sounds like a ton, but the reason I’ve called for it is because the first time I made the soup, I only used one head of garlic. I liked the flavor, but I thought it could easily do with double the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic has none of the kick of the raw stuff, and in fact it gives this soup a mellow sweetness. If you’re very sensitive to garlic, of course, feel free to reduce the amount, but if your garlic heads are medium or small, I suspect you’ll find that two of them is just right.

Otherwise, the soup is super simple. Roasting the garlic is actually the most time-consuming step. Once that’s taken care of, you just sauté some chickpeas and onion, add broth and salt, and blend it all up. Here’s how it comes together.

Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup | The Full Helping

Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 heads garlic, top sliced off crosswise to expose the cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or 4 cups broth + 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, and more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, as desired
  • 4-5 cups tightly packed chopped spinach, chard, kale, broccoli rabe, or another leafy green

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle the garlic heads with olive oil. Wrap each head in foil and roast for 45 minutes, or until the cloves are becoming caramelized and the garlic is very fragrant.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, or until the onion is tender and clear. Add the chickpeas, broth (or broth + water), salt, and pepper. 

  • Transfer the chickpeas and broth to a powerful blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from both heads into the blender, too. Blend on high till the mixture is very smooth, taking precaution with spattering (the soup will be very hot). You can do this in batches if your blender is on the small side. You can also use an immersion blender.

  • Transfer the pureed soup back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the greens and cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until the greens are very tender. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste, season as desired, and serve!

Notes

If you like, you can roast the garlic 1-3 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to blend.

Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup | The Full Helping

When I first made the soup, it was in the middle of a week of seasonal peaks and valleys temperature, sunny days and drizzle. I enjoyed it for many lunches with a hunk of homemade sourdough and a little salad. It felt like the perfect transition meal between winter and spring: still hearty enough to be warming and grounding, thanks to the chickpea base, but the puréed texture, spring greens, and burst of lemon made it feel fresh, too.

I could imagine making it again very soon, as New York continues to ride the customary April weather. And although I love the chickpeas here, I’m also eager to try it with some white beans.

Wishing you an easy transition between seasons this week, and I’ll see you back here for the usual roundup on Sunday.

xo

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Lemony Bulgur Chickpea Salad | The Full Helping

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I’m so tired.

I’ve been tired plenty during the internship, but how I feel right now is special. It is, as they say, next level. And, with a final on Thursday, four assignments to finish, and almost two weeks left in my current rotation, the feeling doesn’t promise to let up soon.

I’ve been at something of a loss for what to cook/eat. Dinner toast has happened (at least?) three times in two weeks. But I’ve always believed that it’s possible to make homemade, good-tasting food even when time, energy, or both are very, very short. And that belief hasn’t been challenged yet by the DI, in spite of ups and downs in my energy to make food.

This grain salad is a little piece of proof. It came together last week, on a particularly hot-for-late-May night, when I wasn’t quite in the mood for a cooked grain bowl and not quite in the mood for a dinner salad, either. That’s thanks in part to the quick-cooking nature of bulgur, and in part to the fact that, no matter what’s going on, I always have a can or a frozen container of chickpeas at home.

And so, this. A mix of cooked bulgur, zesty lemony vinaigrette, chickpeas, and herbs. I thought of it on my commute home from work, so I had a chance to pick up the mint. But if you don’t have mint, parsley (or parsley + basil, parsley + chives, parsley + dill) will be just fine. And in that case, this meal really is made up of ingredients that many of us are likely to have in your fridge and pantry already.

Because of a few, small, additions that make a significant difference—the fresh herbs, lemon zest, the nice texture contrast of creamy chickpeas and grainy bulgur—the salad registers as a little more special than it sounds. And, as always, it does well with modifications. If raw red onion is too pungent for you (I used only a little for the recipe), you could try chopped green onion tops instead. Once they’re in season, add sun gold or grape tomatoes. Or chopped cucumber. Or, if you’ve got some in the freezer, green peas.

You get the idea. Whatever you do, however you serve this simple gem, I hop you enjoy it.

Lemony Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Servings: 4 servings (3 if you’re extra hungry)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dry bulgur wheat (substitute quinoa for a GF version)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion (optional)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the bulgur according to package instructions. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

  • Place the bulgur, chickpeas, onion, parsley, and mint into a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil (start with two tablespoons, and add a little more if you like), lemon juice and zest, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss ingredients and adjust lemon and salt as needed. Serve at room temperature or cold, over fresh greens or with a vegetable side. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Alright, friends. One thing I learn more and more lately is how to conserve my energy, and how important it is to do that when I can. No extra words tonight—but some coming your way on Friday, and then over the weekend. For now, good night.

xo

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Simple Baked Bulgur & Chickpeas

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I’m debating whether I should keep including “simple” in my recipe titles, since simple food is the name of the game lately, and really since my internship year started. But I guess it never hurts to call it out.

Anyway: this bulgur chickpea dish is indeed very simple, as the name implies. There’s some cooking time involved (though it’s worth saying that it can be shortened if you tweak the recipe ingredients a little), but the dish involves almost no active work. It’s as easy as mixing ingredients up and slow cooking, but in this case the oven does the work for you.

Beyond that, the recipe is full of nutrition—fiber, protein from the combination of bulgur and beans, adjustable on sodium and naturally low in fat—and incredibly easy to customize. I’ve been using a combination of chickpeas, sweet potatoes, canned tomatoes, and the un-seasonal addition of zucchini. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and cabbage would all be great additions or substitutions.

Speaking of that: I’ve tried the recipe with butternut squash in place of sweet potato and without either. The cooking time can be reduced to 25 minutes without the sweet potato or winter squash; with one or the other, it needs a full 45 minutes in order for those vegetables to be cooked through. So if you’d like to make this in a pinch, you could try another, faster-cooking veggie instead.

I kept the seasonings simple, but as I’ve been saying often these days, customize with what you have. Plenty of spices would be lovely in the recipe, including crushed red pepper flakes, which I didn’t add only because I tend to be conservative with spice. I don’t recommend skimping on the everyday lemon tahini dressing that’s linked in the recipe below; it gives the dish a touch of acid and creaminess that really enhances the experience of eating it! But if that dressing isn’t your thing, yum sauce or delightfully green tahini dressing would be great, too.

Here is the nourishing, hands-off, and simple indeed recipe.

Simple Baked Bulgur & Chickpeas

This dish of simple baked bulgur & chickpeas is rich in fiber, protein, an array of phytonutrients, and it’s easy to prepare. Served with a bright, creamy tahini dressing! 

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time45 mins

Total Time55 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat (dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed or peeled and chopped (substitute 1/2 lb cubed butternut or other winter squash)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout (substitute 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 batch everyday lemon tahini dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375F. Mix all ingredients together in a Dutch oven, a cast iron baking dish with a lid, or any other casserole dish with a lid. Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. 

  • While the bulgur bakes (or ahead of time) make the everyday lemon tahini dressing. To serve, drizzle the bulgur generously with the dressing and enjoy!

Notes

To shorten cooking time to 25 minutes covered and 5 uncovered, omit the sweet potato or replace it with a faster cooking vegetable (like cauliflower or green beans).

This recipe is a truly perfect option for meal prep/batch cooking, since it can simmer away in the oven while you do or prep anything else you need. And it makes generous portions: enough for four hearty dinner components (I’ve been serving it simply, with steamed greens and lots of the dressing) or six portions if you’re using it as a side dish with something else that’s substantial. No matter how you serve it, I hope it saves you time and gives you pleasure.

This week has been busy so far, with a nutrition workshop/conference yesterday and my final week at my current internship site. I’ve used my evenings to get grounded as best I can and my mornings to reflect on things during my commute. It’s all a work in progress…but it’s progressing. Happy Wednesday, friends!

xo

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Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma

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Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

My latest dietetic internship rotation is at a community institution that has a teaching kitchen. Like many organizations with a farm-to-table emphasis, the teaching kitchen tries to encourage meatless meals, at least on a part-time basis (à la Meatless Monday). One of their go-to offerings is a vegetarian korma. When I first saw the recipe it occurred to me that I’d never posted a vegan korma here on the blog, in spite of having made many non-traditional versions of the dish at home.

I’m emphasizing the non-traditional bit because my understanding is that korma often involves a braised meat and a yogurt or cream-based sauce. Yet it’s also one of the Indian dishes I’ve most often seen veganized, which is what has encouraged me to try it over the years. I’ve appreciated how simple it is to make and how versatile. This vegan cashew chickpea korma (which I make with my homemade cashew cream) is the one that I turn to most often, even if the vegetables I use change all of the time.

I’m giving you two variations of this dish. The first is the recipe that I started with. It’s plenty simple, and the vegetables that it calls for can be adjusted to fit what you have at home. So long as they’re relatively quick-cooking, they should work as the recipe indicates (sweet potato or winter squash might take a bit longer).

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

The second variation is the one I’ve been using since the DI started. This is probably a topic for a longer, batch cooking-themed post (which I’m planning on sharing), but frozen vegetables have been a lifesaver this year. Yes, fresh usually is crispier, and it’s often tastier. But right now the benefits of pre-cut vegetables that keep for a while, don’t require a lot of cleaning or prepping, and are super inexpensive to boot outweigh any strict adherence to fresh produce that I might have.

So, option #2 involves a couple bags of frozen veggies, which you can heat up in the microwave before starting the korma. Prepared this way, the recipe takes about 15 minutes to make–provided you’ve made the cashew cream beforehand, and substituting full fat coconut milk is an option, too. It’s a nutrient dense, flavorful meal that tastes as if it’s been simmering for a lot longer than it has. Piled over rice and topped with fresh herbs or green onions, it’s a perfect weeknight supper–one that’s kept me fed on many evenings when cooking felt insurmountable. Here’s the recipe.

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma

A quick, easy weeknight vegan cashew chickpea korma that you can modify with whatever fresh or frozen vegetables you have!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time25 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons neutral flavored vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or refined avocado) or a few tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 small or medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli stems and florets (or a combination of both)
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cashew cream (substitute full fat, canned coconut milk)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chopped green onion tops or fresh cilantro (optional, for serving)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet (or a medium sized pot) over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is clear and tender. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. 

  • Add the cauliflower, green beans, carrots, peas, chickpeas, broth, and cashew cream to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the baby spinach and lime juice and simmer for 2-3 more minutes, or until the spinach is tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve over cooked rice, quinoa, or another grain, or with a flatbread of choice. Top with chopped green onion tops or cilantro.

Notes

For a shortcut version: Replace the vegetables with 4-5 cups (about 2 bags) frozen, pre-cut vegetables of choice. I usually use any mix of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans, red peppers, and peas. During step 1, when the onion and jalapeno is cooking, cook the the vegetables in the microwave as instructed. Drain the vegetables and add them for step 2. Reduce the simmering time to 5 minutes instead of 10. Voila!

Weeknight Vegan Cashew Chickpea Korma | The Full Helping

Rice is my favorite serving option for this one–it soaks up all of the creamy, spicy sauce perfectly–but it’s also great with quinoa, whole grain pita, or even some of these homemade chapatis. Cashew cream is definitely my preference (I always make it in double batches and freeze some so that it can be as convenient as using canned coconut milk), but coconut milk is traditional and works well, too. Some of the newer, creamier cashew/nut milks (like Elmhurst 1925) might also be a good option.

Glad that this rotation prompted me to post a recipe that’s been a favorite at home for a while now. And hope that some of you might enjoy it and find it as convenient as I do!

Alright, friends: another busy day of the internship waits for me tomorrow, so it’s time for me to do a little unwinding. See you this weekend for the regular weekend roundup.

xo

 

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