This slightly spicy chickpea and vermicelli noodle soup has all the things I love; lots of warm Middle Eastern spices, hearty greens, plenty of herbs, and chili. It also happens to be the soup that I make most often. I especially love the combination of turmeric, cumin, and the lemon juice added at the end. It not only tastes incredibly comforting, but is also a great source of iron.
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 carrots, finely diced
3 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups of low-sodium liquid vegetable or chicken stock*, boiling
salt, to taste
good grinding of freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vermicelli noodles
1 1/2 cups/ 260 gr. canned chickpeas
2 packed cups baby spinach or purslane, roughly chopped
Sauté the onion, bay leaves, and chili flakes with olive oil over medium-hight in a medium pot for 7-10 minutes or until the onion is soft and transparent. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste, liquid stock, 1 teaspoon salt, and a good grinding of pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 25 minutes or until the carrot bits are tender. Stir in the vermicelli and chickpeas and cook for another 8 minutes or until the vermicelli noodles are fully cooked. Add the spinach or purslane and cook just until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Check for seasoning, add to your taste, and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.
*You may substitute the liquid stock with water plus an organic vegetable stock cube. That said, liquid stock is always the most flavorful choice.