I’m on a mission. A mission to get people to spend more time in their kitchens. Please don’t run away screaming just yet! Hear me out. We demand a lot from our bodies – vitality, energy, a healthy weight. We likely invest time and money in insuring our bodies against illness and ageing – gym memberships, anti-aging products, yoga, meditation. Yet we are afraid of spending time in the kitchen. Think about it – we are constantly hearing messages about time-saving recipes, convenience foods, short cuts, prepared meals and so on. So much so that we have become averse to our appliances and all that equipment languishing in our cupboards. We drag our feet and protest against cooking, citing long lists of priorities. But preparing food is at the basic level of self-care. We should, in fact, be running towards our kitchens instead of away from them. Cooking more is one of the ways, perhaps the most important way, we will be able to resolve so many of our food and health issues. When we prioritize cooking for ourselves and our families, we declare that taking care of our bodies through whole, nourishing meals consumed at our dining tables in the company of our loved ones matters.
Now I get that spending more time in the kitchen doesn’t mean spending ALL of our time in the kitchen. We still want easy to prepare recipes that aren’t going to send us on a wild goose chase trying to track down unusual spices. There is a time and place for that, and I do admit that I enjoy spending my time unearthing exotic foods and perusing aisles of newly discovered markets. But recognizing that’s not everyone’s cup of tea and with the mission to get people to cook more in mind, I decided to create a recipe that is made with simple ingredients and requires only fundamental cooking skills. In fact I challenged myself to create a recipe with items I already had on hand!
Soups are really at the very centre of convenience cooking. One pot, a bunch of familiar ingredients and a few spices to add flavour and flair, and a bit of idle time. That’s it. This soup contains potatoes, an often vilified vegetable (probably for its incarnations as chips and fries) but actually delivers a bunch of nutrients in a pretty convenient package. One medium potato with the skin on provides a third of your B6 and a quarter of your potassium and vitamin C needs as well as 15%of your daily fibre requirement. Carrots add colour and beta carotene and chickpeas stand in as the filling, fibre-rich protein source. Despite usually being relegated to decoration, I added parsley as much for its flavour as for its surprising nutritional punch: a quarter cup of chopped parsley provides a quarter of your vitamin C and almost 300% (yes you read that right) of your vitamin K needs. Vitamin K is a powerful fat-soluble vitamin that is involved in the blood clotting process, so you know, you don’t bleed to death!! Thank you vitamin K *gives high five*.
As always, this recipe is plant-based but can be enjoyed by everyone. As with many soups and stews, this one tastes even better the next day – so perfect for leftovers! What is your favourite quick and easy to prepare meal that you often cook for yourself and your families?
Smokey Potato Chickpea Soup
Makes 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
2 Tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika, hot or mild
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning*
3 medium potatoes, skin left on, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
3 carrots, peeled, sliced into rounds or half moons (about 3 cups)**
6-7 cups water
1 (19oz/540ml) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1-2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
1/2-3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, Italian seasoning and half of the salt and pepper to the pot and stir for about a minute until fragrant.
3. Add the potato, carrot and water, stir to combine. Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are just fork-tender (be careful not to overcook!)
4. Finally stir in the chickpeas and parsley, and adjust salt, pepper and seasonings to your taste.
*If you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand, just use any combination of thyme, oregano, basil, dried sage and rosemary.
**This soup will thicken as it stands (especially overnight), add extra water to thin it or just enjoy as is. I used 6 cups of water.
-I add the onion and garlic to the pot off the heat as I chop them. Once I have all the other ingredients prepared, I add the oil and turn on the heat.
-I chop the parsley and rinse the chickpeas while the soup is simmering, to cut down on prep time.
-If this recipe leaves you with a bunch of leftover parsley, use it in salads, pasta and rice dishes, smoothies and sprinkle extra on the soup before serving.