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Chickpea Noodle Soup

Chickpea Noodle Soup
Growing up, my grandparents were my absolute favorite people on the earth. My grandmother Dora would make my grandfather soup that would be ready when he came home from work every night - matzo ball, borscht, cabbage, kreplach - and he always seemed to adore it. He would quietly hum to himself while sipping his soup, and even though this was always a quirky trait that amused our family, now I am seeing it as revealing something deeper about him and them. My grandfather had a rough life as a child (not uncommon for the day), immigrating to this country from Eastern Europe as a boy of barely twelve to live with relatives. Maybe he was humming to himself out of the deep sense of comfort and contentment the soup - and love for his dear Dora - reinforced within him.

That being said, this is not my grandmother’s chicken noodle soup. In fact, it’s a pretty major overhaul but I think that it still maintains the qualities my grandmother’s soup seemed to represent: comfort, nurturing, love. As such, this is our comfort soup for when we’re not feeling well or are just seeking the warmth that a good bowl of soup provides. A container in the freezer (cook the noodles separately) assures that you will never be out. It’s rustic but still impressive with all the little touches. I am subbing crunchy chickpeas for chicken here (and they remind me of these strange things*, ubiquitous in Jewish households at the time *http://www.amazon.com/Manischewitz-Mandlen-Soup-Nuts-Pack/dp/B00060PHW0), but feel free to use tofu, seitan or whatever vegan protein you like. Also, I use low-sodium broth, opting to season to my preference later, but use whatever you like. With the slippery linguine noodles, the crisp-sweet vegetables, old world spices, crunchy and savory chickpeas, it is soup as a meal, a perfect vehicle for revisiting loved ones now gone but who left a lifelong appreciation for soup and comfort. (By the way, the chickpeas are great on their own as a high-protein, savory snack.)

Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas

16 oz. chickpeas, rinsed
2 t. olive oil
2 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic granules
1 t. thyme
1/2 t. rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste


7 oz. gluten-free or regular linguine noodles, broken in half and cooked according to package instructions
1 T. olive oil or 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 T. dill
1 T. thyme
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup curly parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet (with raised edges so the chickpeas don’t roll off) or another long, flat pan with parchment paper. Spread the chickpeas on the pan and bake for 20 minutes, remembering to move them with a spatula every five minutes to prevent burning.

After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees, and place the chickpeas in a bowl and toss with the oil and spices. Return them to the same baking sheet and cook for 15 more minutes. Once out of the oven, put them back in the bowl to prevent further cooking.

Meanwhile, start your soup. Start a large pot of water to boil and cook the linguine according to the directions.

Heat the olive oil or vegetable stock on medium-high in a large sauté pan; add the onion, carrots and parsnips for four - five minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the celery, garlic, tamari and spices and sauté for five more minutes. Transfer to a soup pot, add the broth and cook on medium-low until the soup is heated through. Season as you like with salt and pepper.

On the bottom of each bowl, put some strained noodles, then the soup on top of that, sprinkle on the chickpeas and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

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