Ciao, welcome back to my blog!
Today I will share with you an ancient Italian soup recipe made with chickpeas and vegetables that is typically from the Tuscany region, where I came from.
It is a chickpea and tomato hearty soup, easy to make and perfect for the coldest months of the year as it contains a lot of starch and therefore is super tasty and filling.
Many soups and broths in Tuscany would normally require meat as well to make them more substantial, but this one was one of the main recipes the poor people from the countryside used to make when there was no food and the meat was too expensive for them to buy. This was a great protein alternative as they needed to stay healthy to be able to work in the fields.
Are chickpeas good for you?
Chickpeas are known around the world for this reason: they are an amazing substitute for meat as they contain a high amount of proteins as well as carbs.
Their name comes from the Greek word “kikus” which literally means "strength" and "power". They were also basic food for Egyptian slaves because they would give them enough energy to endure hard labour (source: Wikipedia)
They have been very common everyday food in my country for centuries and we have so many recipes including them long before they became "popular".
Since I decided to consume less meat, these were my top foods in terms of flavour and versatility in the kitchen.
Italian chickpea soup
Chickpeas are part of my Italian culture and cuisine, therefore and I am very happy to show you alternative chickpeas recipes (not just hummus please!) especially if you are on a vegetarian/vegan diet and you need some more inspiration.
This is a family recipe that comes from my grandmother and she has a different way of doing it compared to the original recipe. The majority of chickpea soup recipes don't include potatoes and vegetables but only chickpeas, tomatoes and pasta.
Today I just want to honour her memory as this recipe's delicious flavours have the power to bring me back to my childhood days spent in her kitchen.
For this specific way of cooking it, it would have been better to utilise dry chickpeas, let them revive in water for a night and then boil them, but I am not able to find good quality ones here in London (I have tried and they never gets soft enough, no matter how long they cook, meaning they are a bit old).
Cooking chickpeas takes hours so this time I am using canned chickpeas to cut on the cooking time.
Chickpea soup recipe
2 cans of chickpeas
1 glass of thick tomato passata
1 red onion
2 celery stalks
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Rosemary sticks
2 Bay leaves
Now, I am not usually fussy about the ingredients in my recipe and I always find alternatives if you don't have something in your fridge/pantry but this time I must insist on the crucial importance of rosemary. It is a fundamental ingredient that can't be skipped, so make sure you got a fresh stick as it will completely change the taste.
Start making a pot of vegetable broth.
In the meantime, peel, clean and chop the onion and the leek thinly to make the base of our soup.
Then peel, clean and chop into cubes the rest of the vegetables.
In a large pot set on high heat, pour two tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and add the onion and leek first.
Let them release their wonderful aroma for a couple of minutes until they have reduced and they will be transparent and softer.
Include the rest of the vegetables, a ladle of hot broth, season them with salt and very generous pepper (I usually go for a whole tbs!).
Stir well and let them cook for 5 minutes like this, almost frying.
Open the chickpeas cans and drain the water with a sieve.
Add them to the pot with the whole pot of vegetable broth you made previously as well as the tomato passata, the rosemary and bay leaves.
C0ver with a lid and let it cook for 30 minutes stirring from time to time.
When the soup is ready, I would usually take the cooked rosemary stick and the bay leaves from it.
Enjoy with a piece of toast to dip and a good glass of red wine: lush!
Thank you so much for reading my article today, I hope you found it inspiring!
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More soup recipes?
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