For me, January is all about healthy comfort food. I feel sluggish after too much December excesses, but I’m also constantly cold due to Vancouver’s typical January forecast of chilly perma-rain. Seriously, it’s like walking through cold soup getting home. The humidity gets into your bones and you end up chilled through, even after changing into your pajamas and setting up in front of the fireplace.
Essentially, I’m keen on lots of veggies, but veggies that warm me from the inside. While I do adore a great salad, if I’m already feeling really cold, a bowl of chilled greens is not going to do me much good. It’s soup time (okay, see also: this spectacular warmed winter salad).
Kale and chickpeas- it already sounds pretty healthy, doesn’t it? And it is! Naturally vegan (if you omit the cheese on top), gluten free, almost certainly cleanse-friendly, and pretty much anything else you could ask for at this time of year- no matter what your health goals might be.
(I’m not vegan, gluten-free or on a cleanse so obviously I enjoyed this with a veeeery healthy handful of freshly grated Parmesan and a knob of rye bread. To each their own. Still healthy!)
Big pots of soup make me really happy during these dark days of winter, especially now that I’m trying to incorporate the gym into my daily routine. I can race home from work, feed the dog, go sweat it out for an hour or two, and then come home and heat up some soup for dinner in less than 2 minutes!
Well, maybe sweat it out and then shower and then eat some soup. I’m still getting used to this whole sweating thing. Yes, I realize that is a ridiculous statement, it’s just not been something I do very often in the last… few decades.
|Kale & Chickpea Soup with Lemon & Parmesan|| |
- 2 cups dried chickpeas
- 1 carrot, chopped into thirds
- 1 celery stalk, chopped into thirds
- 1 onion, halved
- 11 garlic cloves, peeled
- 5 strips fresh lemon peel
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp kosher salt + more, to taste
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup + 3 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 bunches fresh kale
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Garnish with:
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh lemon wedges
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan)
- Soak chickpeas overnight (~8 hours) in a large bowl, completely submerged in water. Drain and set aside.
- Wrap the carrot, celery, onion, 3 garlic cloves, lemon peel and rosemary in cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. If you don't have cheesecloth, don't worry about it- just keep your chunks of veggies quite large and then strain them out with a slotted spoon after the chickpea 'stock' is finished simmering.
- In a large pot, combine chickpeas, 3 cups of water, ½ cup olive oil and the cheesecloth sachet of veggies. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer on medium-low until chickpeas are tender- roughly an hour. Remove cheesecloth sachet (or scoop out veggie chunks) from the stock.
- In a small pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Crush the remaining 8 garlic cloves into the heated olive oil and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Set aside.
- Rinse the kale leaves and rip the center spines out from each frond. Discard the spines and coarsely chop the leaves. In a large pan, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale in batches, cooking until tender (~4 minutes per batch). Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the chickpeas are fully cooked, combine the garlic in oil, kale, 2 cups of the cooked chickpeas and 1 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour the pureed chickpea mixture back into the main chickpea pot, add the kosher salt and heat through. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve with fresh lemon wedges, a good crack of fresh pepper and a healthy grating of Parmesan cheese (skip the cheese for vegan).