We’re in the midst of a cold snap. It snowed yesterday, our first in over two years! I watched big fat snowflakes fall from the sky like confetti; I’d forgotten how exciting that felt.
Even my mom was impressed (and nothing impresses that woman!), she looked on pleasingly, training her phone at the mountains, she said, “Mmmmm hmmm, the mountains are properly capped, now this is Canada!”
For someone accustomed to the sweltering cloudless African sky, I’ve also always loved bitter cold weather (feel free to make Frozen jokes!), I’ll take the cold over mild pissing-rainy conditions any day. And for freezing wintry nights, nothing beats a steaming comforting bowl of soup to warm you up. We’ve been wishing for an ideal moment like this to make this hearty chickpea and pasta soup.
This soup is a vegetarian iteration of a chicken and pasta soup my aunt D makes. Living in a perpetually rainy city on the west coast of Norway, she has an impressive collection of cold-weather soup recipes, and thankfully, she’s happy to share them with me.
There’s a simpler way to make this soup – which is the way she makes it, but you’ll have to have a few items prepared beforehand. First you make a big pot of broth you plan to use over the week or freeze. Then warm up enough for dinner when you’re ready, add some precooked chickpea and pasta, and fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli etc.) and bring to a boil and until veggies are tender.
I prefer my version though, it’s fluid and just as simple, and comes together quickly in one pot. I fry the spices in oil first to make them toasty and fragrant, deepening the flavour. I just build on the flavours from there. I cook my own chickpea and use the liquid instead of vegetable broth. The pasta cooks in the soup, which I finish off with greens – chard or kale works great.
It’s perfectly hearty and warming, and it’s going to be wonderful for the next couple of dinners, although I’m sure this unusual cold weather won’t last.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (about 3 cups)
- 4 cups (32oz) vegetable broth or liquid from chickpea if you cooked them yourself, plus more as desired
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup dry (short) pasta (I used kamut vegetable rotini)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (adjust accordingly if chickpea and broth have salt)
- 1 bunch of rainbow chard or kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy large pot
- Add cumin, sweet paprika and turmeric, let spices cook in the oil for about a minute, until it gets fragrant
- Add onions and garlic sauté for 2 – 4 minutes, stirring often until it becomes soft and translucent
- Add carrots and tomatoes and cook stirring often for another 2 – 3 minutes
- Add broth (or chickpea liquid or water), increase heat slightly and bring to a boil
- Add chickpea and pasta, bring soup back to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente
- Add salt, check seasoning and toss in chopped chard or kale
- Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 5 – 6 minutes
- Serve warm ladled into bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper