I’m not sharing this with anyone, really, but I’ll tell you. I decided to do Veganuary. I had grand plans and grand hopes. I am hungry and bored.
I’m not done, though! I’m seeing this through! Challenging my cooking and eating habits, and my eating ethics, has been a worthwhile exercise, bringing with it some learnings well worth the frustrations. I’ll have more to say about this after I see it all the way through, no doubt. Now about this soup…
Recently, after a few dinner failures in a row, I made this soup, ready to be bored by the flavor and hungry within an hour of eating. But, no. Both my husband and I proclaimed it a new dinner staple. The chickpeas give it the heft it needs to help fill you up. And the broth – well, well. It is delicious. Instead of fighting over who gets the most “noodles” like my little brother and I used to do with packaged Knorr soups (every pasta is “noodles” when you’re 5), you might just fight over the broth. Nutritional yeast is the sleeper hit in this pot. It gives the broth such a deep and tasty flavor. So in case you’re reluctant to invest in a jar or box of vegetable base thinking you’ll only use it once, give in. I think you’ll like it, here and in other soups that traditionally call for chicken stock. And if you’re wondering what you’re going to do with the rest of that nutritional yeast you bought, I got you. Popcorn. Put that nutritional yeast and some salt all over your popcorn and get a trough. Movie night has a new flavor.
I love this soup with a hunk of bread I can dip in the bowl. Walnut levain and sweet baguettes are my favorites here, in case you were wondering.
Would I make it again? Absolutely.
Chickpea Noodle Soup
From the chefs at America’s Test Kitchen in Vegan For Everybody
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil without a problem.))
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled with small dice or slices, ~1/4″
2 ribs of celery, small slices, ~1/4″
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoons dried (I usually tie together enough stems to roughly equal the amount needed. Picking leaves off of thyme stems is no fun.)
2 bay leaves
6 cups vegetable broth ( If you’re not making your own veg-based broth either, consider my favorite, Better Than Buillon’s vegetable base.)
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed (Here’s some conversion help if you prefer to use dried beans.)
1/2 cup (2 oz.) ditalini or other small pasta
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Heat oil in your soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and you’re done. Just kidding! Go ahead and cook your mirepoix until softened with translucent onions, approximately 7-10 minutes.
Stir in nutritional yeast, thyme, bay leaves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in broth, chickpeas and bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low- enough to get the soup to simmer. Leave partially covered, simmering, for 10 minutes, allowing your flavors to come together.
Add pasta to the pot, increase heat to get a low boil (I don’t know if that’s really a thing, but I bet you know what I mean – not a big fat rolling boil.). Cook until pasta is ready, approximately 10 more minutes.
Off heat, remove bay leaves and thyme bundle (if you bundled rather than picked off the leaves). Stir in the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When you are making soups where pasta is added at any point, know that the pasta will keep absorbing the broth until they look like extremely large versions of the little hard shapes you started out with. It can get to there being very little broth left in the pot sometimes because it’s all been soaked up by your pasta. This broth is too good to let it all get soaked up! So if you are not going to eat the whole pot in one go like me and my husband did, you might consider making the pasta in a separate pot and adding it to your soup bowl before pouring hot soup over it. If you go this route, make sure your soup is good and hot, then let it sit for a couple of minutes so the pasta can get heated up.
I wanted the chickpeas softer than they were after the prescribed cooking time, so I added 10 minutes to the initial simmer. That extra time added to the overall cooking time gave me the soft texture I was looking for. Canned beans vary from brand to brand, though, so play around with the time to get the texture you prefer.