For the record, I don’t like the word chickpea. I like garbanzo bean. It has a much more whimsical sound, and it’s more literal. They are beans, not peas.
All the same, I couldn’t resist some light pun action in titling this soup.
It’s cold this week. I know this isn’t the Great Snowy North, but Oklahoma gets its share of inclement weather, especially ice. This week, we had ice’s less offensive, more powdery friend in the air. Of course, with highs not about the middle 30s Sunday through Wednesday, that seemingly innocuous visitor could have quickly turned nefarious.
All of this is to say that it’s cold, and weather changes give me allergy/sinus/cold/whatever problems, so I decided a nice pro-health soup was on the lunch menu. I based it lightly on the Chickpea Noodle Soup from the Happy Herbivore and very, very loosely on the Mellow Lentil “Sniffle” Soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Here’s the result:
- 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup plus 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, chopped, white and light green parts divided from dark green tops
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, rinsed, destemmed and chopped (about 1/2 cup total)
- Cracked black pepper to taste
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 ounces soba noodles
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed, or 1 3/4 cup freshly cooked
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
First, get everything cleaned, chopped, and ready to go.
Once all the veggies are ready to go, heat 1/4 cup vegetable broth in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat. (My electric stove runs hot, so I always err on the side of low heat.) Once the broth is hot, add the carrots, celery, garlic, the white and light green parts of the green onions, and the thyme. Heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until everything is lightly softened.
Now add the mushrooms, the cracked black pepper, and another 1/4 cup of broth. Stir, and let cook until the mushrooms lightly soften.
Once the soup is boiling, add the soba noodles. I broke mine in half, but I’d even recommend cutting them in thirds or quarters. Stir, then let the liquid return to a boil. My noodles took about 3 minutes, but refer to the cooking instructions on your package. When they are cooked to your preference, remove the pot from the heat.
Stir in the dark green part of the green onions, garbanzos and miso until everything is thoroughly combined. Taste, and adjust seasonings to your palette. I added more pepper and thyme at the end. Makes four large servings.
This soup does not taste like the condensed chicken noodle of my past, but it has the same comforting feel plus the added benefits of not being a fat, sodium, and chemical bomb. It’s also a rarity in my kitchen: a dish that is neither spicy nor dessert.
Of course, the top photo shows me enjoying it with some of my coworker’s homemade “Wicked Hot Sauce.” I just wanted a little extra oomph that day.
“Pro-immunity?” you say. “I scoff at you.”
I call this a pro-immunity soup because of a few things.
1. Garlic. In addition to making almost everything taste better, it’s been linked in studies to boosting the immune system, fighting off viruses, promoting wound healing, and preventing infection. It may even prevent cancer. I’ll take it! I actually could have added about twice as much of the stuff to this soup, but I’m trying to be a good friend and neighbor.
2. Carrots. The beta carotene in this beloved rabbit food boosts T cells and helps fight infection. Carrots also just belong in soup.
3. Miso. It’s touted to have many of the same health benefits of garlic (immunity-building, cancer-fighting, infection-beating). It’s also a much better way to add delicious salty flavor to foods than the white powdery stuff. It also contains B12, which vegans especially have trouble getting in a normal diet.
4. Mushrooms. More and more studies link shroomies with disease prevention, especially cancer. They also ward off infections, both viral and bacterial. And they are tasty.
5. Pepper. Yes, once again, studies link the spice to immune-system-boosting and all that good stuff. Plus, it’s delicious on any savory dish.
In addition to these claims, I amped up the nutrition by using soba noodles instead of whole-wheat. I actually prefer the texture of soba in soups, but they also have the added benefit of being gluten-free (as long as they are made with buckwheat only) and lower on the glycemic index. The garbanzo beans also add protein, texture, iron, and fiber.
If you eat one quarter of the recipe, you will take in 10 grams of protein, 48 grams of carbs (8 from fiber), 2 grams of fat, 690 mg of sodium, 17% of your daily iron, and 12% of your magnesium needs. Not too shabby for a tasty, comforting bowl of soup.
- I would go even heavier on the garlic and mushrooms, but then I’m like that.
- Feel free to add other favorite veggies: regular onion, peas, spinach, zucchini, etc. I wouldn’t go with anything too sweet (butternut squash, corn), but pretty much anything else would be tasty. You can also use more celery. I’m just not a big fan of the stuff.
- Before adding to the pot, dissolve the miso in a little bit of hot water or a bit of the broth from the soup. It was a little hard to combine when I added it with everything else. When I make quick miso soup, I usually dunk it in the bowl with a couple of tablespoons of hot water and whip with a fork. Otherwise, it can sink to the bottom in a big clump. I didn’t think of it this time, but I highly recommend it. Just don’t add it any earlier than I did. Miso’s flavor degrades when exposed to prolonged heat.