Italian Chickpea Soup with Fusilli Pasta

Over the years, this Italian Chickpea Soup has been a family favorite and has always gone over well with children visiting our home.The addition of pasta makes the soup heartier, like a minestrone, and can definitely be considered a one-pot meal.

I recently had the opportunity to teach a cooking class at my daughter’s elementary classroom where I decided to serve the soup with pasta and bread, which was a real hit! An added bonus is how economical this recipe is. We made this recipe X4, which fed about 35 people, using all organic ingredients, for under $2 per person including soup, pasta, bread, and butter.

Day 1 of our cooking class involved walking to the grocery store, selecting our groceries, and carrying our groceries back in a wagon! When we got back to the classroom, we soaked the chickpeas so they would be ready to cook the following day.

Day 2 of our cooking class involved cooking the chickpeas in the pressure cooker, and slicing, dicing, and sautéing vegetables for the soup.

The secret to making this soup delicious is to make your chickpeas from scratch. Make your chickpeas in advance, as it takes a good 8-10 hours to rehydrate the dried chickpeas (I usually do this step overnight), and some more time to cook them. I use a pressure-cooker to make my chickpeas, but they can be made in a regular pot (it just takes longer). I recommend making a big batch of chickpeas and freezing some away in quart-sized freezer bags that you can use later on to make hummus or another batch of soup. Here is my recipe for Homemade Chickpeas.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Italian Chickpea Soup with Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Homemade Chickpeas or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds or half moons
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half or quarter moons
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 organic bay leaf
  • ½ cup fresh parsley or basil leaves, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (such as farfalle, fusilli, twists, wheels, or shells)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Follow instructions for making Homemade Chickpeas. Set chickpeas aside. Do not drain, as the chickpea cooking liquid will be used in the soup. If using canned chickpeas you will need to drain the liquid from the can.
  2. In 3- to 5-quart soup pot, sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for about 10 minutes over medium or medium-low heat. Add rosemary and stir to coat onions. Add another tablespoon olive oil, celery, carrot, and another pinch sea salt and sauté about 10 minutes more. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add zucchini and sauté a minute more.
  3. Place chickpeas and chickpea cooking liquid into soup pot and add stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until zucchini is soft, about 8 minutes. Add half of fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve pasta in soup bowls and pour chickpea soup over the pasta.
  5. Garnish each bowl with remaining fresh herbs and/or grated cheese (if using).
Notes:
  1. Make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free variety of pasta.
  2. If using canned chickpeas, add 3 cloves minced garlic along with carrots and celery.

By noon our cooking crew was ready to serve their homemade soup, pasta, and bread to the class.

Enjoy making soup on a cold winter day and share with some friends!

Macrobiotic-Style Giant Peruvian Lima Beans

The macrobiotic way of making beans involves washing, sorting, and soaking dry beans, cooking slowly with kombu until soft, then seasoning with sea salt and sauteed vegetables (if desired) and simmering a while longer. These steps ensure that your beans will be soft, flavorful, and digestible. Once you master this technique, you can make any kind of bean from scratch. Just vary your seasonings depending on the bean. For example, try pinto beans with garlic, onion, and cilantro, garbanzo beans with garlic and parsley, or black-eyed peas with bay leaf, onion, celery, and carrot.

Macrobiotic-Style Giant Peruvian Lima Beans
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bean Dish
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups giant Peruvian lima beans
  • spring or filtered water
  • 2 inch piece kombu
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • zest of ½ lemon (optional)
Instructions
  1. Sort through beans, 1 cup at a time on a large plate, Discard any pebbles, broken beans, or other debris. Rinse beans and drain into a colander.
  2. Place rinsed beans in a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of spring or filtered water. Let soak for 6-12 hours (or overnight).
  3. Drain water from soaked beans and place in heavy-bottomed pot with enough water to cover beans by 1-2 inches.
  4. Bring beans to a boil. Let simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes and skimming foam that comes to the surface with a fine mesh skimmer.
  5. Add kombu and garlic, turn heat to low, and put lid on pot. Leave lid cracked a little so that the pot does not boil over. Periodically check the water level to make sure beans do not cook dry. More water should be added as needed to keep water just above the level of the beans.
  6. Cook beans for about 60-90 minutes, or until soft throughout.
  7. Add sea salt and simmer another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve in a bowl garnished with parsley, red bell pepper, and lemon zest, if desired.
Variations
  1. Add sautéed onion to the beans during the last 30 minutes or so of cooking.
  2. Pressure cook beans for creamier consistency.
Notes
  1. Serve with corn polenta and homemade pesto.

 

Salade Niçoise with Dijon Vinaigrette

photo of nicoise salad

This vibrant and delicious Salade niçoise was originally introduced to me by my mother Louise, who is an amazing cook and liked to teach me things from her French heritage. We first made this salad together for a holiday celebration at my school French class around 1987. I rediscovered this timeless salad several years ago, and enjoy making it a little differently each time. The dressing is a very basic vinaigrette that gets its distinctive taste from Dijon mustard. Check out the variations in the recipe and photos for more ideas.

Apparently, there are very strong feelings about what should or should not be included in a Salade niçoise. See the commentary on wikipedia for a run down of the “rules” if you want to be a “traditionalist” when it comes to making this salad! For instance, some defend that there should be no cooked vegetables in this salad. And it should have anchovies and eggs. I say, make it however you like it, and enjoy it! And maybe you can just call it “my favorite salad” if someone criticizes you for not making the authentic niçoise. 

Salade Niçoise
 
This beautiful composed salad is a meal in itself, especially if you add some large white beans, quinoa, or tuna. You can arrange the salad onto ndividual plates or one large platter.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
Salad
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 4 cups mixed field greens or 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, sliced in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced or 1 cup baby tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata or niçoise olives, pitted and sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar or lemon juice with mustard. Add a few pinches of salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil with a few pinches of sea salt. Add green beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain green beans and spread them out on a plate or platter to cool.
  3. Scrub potatoes and peel away any blemishes. Place potatoes and a few pinches of sea salt in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and let simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain and place into a bowl. When cool, slice large potatoes in half or into several pieces, if desired.
  4. Arrange lettuce on large platter or individual plates. Place green beans, potatoes, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes on top of lettuce in distinct rows or mounds. Sprinkle olives and capers over the top. Drizzle the entire salad with some of the dressing, then sprinkle chopped parsley over the top.
  5. Serve with roasted salmon or canned tuna packed in olive oil, if desired.
Note:
  1. If you are able to find colorful fingerling potatoes, such as red or purple varieties, these look very beautiful in the salad.
Variations:
  1. Add cooked white beans such as giant Peruvian limas or butter beans.
  2. Add quinoa or quinoa with chickpeas.
  3. Omit cucumbers if not in season.
  4. Add 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half.

Here are some other variations of the salad I have tried in recent years.

With golden fingerling potatoes and baby San Marzano tomatoes:

photo of salade niçoise

With quinoa and chickpeas and roasted salmon:

photo of salade niçoise with quinoa, chickpeas, and salmon

Arranged in a radial pattern, with plenty of artichokes!

photo of salade niçoise

I hope you enjoy making this salad, and please let me know if you come up with some new and delicious versions!

Ful Medames (Egyptian breakfast)

In the peak of tomato season this summer, our friends Sami and Lorraine invited us over for a typical Egyptian breakfast in which they served Ful Medames, a flavorful, lemony fava bean dish decorated with hard boiled eggs and tomatoes. Sami has fond memories of this dish from his native Egypt, and calls it ful” for short. Although the flavors are complex, this recipe is actually quite simple to make, especially if you start with canned beans.

Ful Medames (Egyptian breakfast)
 
Serve this beautiful bean dish for breakfast, brunch, or anytime! Wait until tomatoes are fresh and in season to attempt this special dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: Egyptian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked fava beans
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. If using canned fava beans, drain beans and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover by about one inch. Cook over medium heat until beans are tender, about 8-10 minutes. If beans are unsalted, add ½ teaspoon of sea salt to the water while simmering. Stir beans until they begin to break up or mash a little. If using homemade fava beans, salt to taste after beans have become soft, and simmer in cooking liquid until liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drain beans of any remaining cooking liquid and add to bowl with dressing. Toss to coat. Taste for seasonings and add extra salt or pepper if needed.
  4. On one large serving platter or on individual plates, plate the fava beans and top with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired.
  5. Serve with fresh pita bread or whole grain chips.

Sami at table

Smashed Potatoes with Tomato Sauce Grassoise

Summer tomatoes! This is the best time to cook with your homegrown or farmer’s market vine-ripened tomatoes. Try this simple but elegant recipe by Chef Alain Braux, originally from the Provence region of France. Chef Braux is a French Chef by training and a Culinary Nutritionist by passion. He is the lead instructor for the Food as Medicine course at The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts. He is also an award-winning, Amazon best-seller food and health author.

Feel free to visit Chef Braux’s website, A Votre SantéMedia PageBooks Page. You can also find him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.

Smashed Potato with Tomato Sauce Grassoise
 
This simple yet striking recipe smells of my Provençal countryside. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
Potatoes
  • 8 small fingerlings potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 quart water, boiling
  • sea salt, coarse
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Tomatoes
  • 6 organic tomatoes, peeled
  • 2 quarts water, boiling
Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, cut in ½, crushed
  • 1 shallot, minced finely
  • 1 pinch sea salt.
  • two turns of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 piquillos, finely cut
  • 1 tablespoons capers
  • 6-8 pitted black olives, chopped
Small salad
  • a few leaves mixed greens
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon flat parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chives
Lemon dressing for salad mix
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • crushed black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
Smashed potatoes
  1. Bring salted water to boil. Cook until tender. Drain. Place back in pot. Crush with potato masher, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Tomatoes
  1. Bring water to boil. Cut a small cross at the bottom if each tomato. Boil for one minute then drop in iced water. Drain. Peel. Cut in half. Take seeds out. Dice small.
Sauce
  1. In medium saucepan, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add garlic and shallot to pot 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook until translucid. Add cut tomatoes. Add piquillos, capers and black olives. Allow to simmer to reduce liquid. When cooked, added chopped fresh herbs. Mix in. Reserve.
Salad
  1. Pick a few salad leaves with herbs. Toss them lightly with lemon dressing.
Plating
  1. Using a metal ring, place crushed potatoes inside the ring to form a galette. Top with tomato sauce Grassoise. Decorate with a few mint leaves.
Finish
  1. Add salad/dressing on the side of potato/tomato dish. Voila!

 

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley

chickpea hummus and crudite vegetables

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley is perfect for an school snack, to bring to a potluck, or as an appetizer. Just serve with your favorite crackers and vegetables. Here, I served the hummus with blanched green beans and red bell pepper slices.

dipping red bell pepper into chickpea hummus

Why make hummus from scratch when you can get it at the grocery store? It might be less expensive, but I really prefer the taste of homemade hummus to any commercial variety I have tasted.

Nearly all store-bought hummus brands contain additives and preservatives that I wouldn’t normally eat and make the taste of the hummus acidic, oily, and not-so-nutritious. Some of the additives include: citric acid, distilled vinegar, and vegetable oil (soybean, sunflower, or canola).

All you really need in a good quality hummus is:

  • chickpeas
  • garlic
  • lemon juice
  • tahini
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Finally, although it takes more effort to cook your own beans from scratch, the result is well worth it. I recommend soaking 2-3 cups of dry chickpeas (instead of 1 cup as the recipe says) so you’ll have plenty leftover to use in soup, pasta dishes, or roasted chickpeas.

This recipe gives the option of using olive oil or tahini (sesame butter), or a combination of the two. Made exclusively with olive oil, the result is a lighter, more Mediterranean-style hummus.

Chickpea Hummus with Lemon and Parsley
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer or Snack
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas*
  • spring or filtered water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-inch piece of kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons roasted tahini (sesame butter)
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, divided
  • extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • *Or omit first 5 ingredients and use 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas.
Instructions
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in glass bowl. Cover with water about 1-1/2 inches above the chickpeas and soak 6-8 hours.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the beans.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes uncovered. Skim off foam that collects on the surface.
  4. Add garlic and kombu. Place lid on the pressure cooker and allow to come up to pressure.Turn heat down to low, and cook chickpeas for 18 minutes.
  5. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Once the lid can be removed, add sea salt and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup chickpeas in a small bowl to use for garnishing.
  6. Strain chickpeas and garlic (reserving cooking liquid) and place in food processor.
  7. Place lemon juice, lemon zest, and ume plum vinegar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  8. Add olive oil and blend again until smooth.
  9. Adjust thickness by gradually adding some of the cooking liquid (if needed).
  10. Adjust seasonings (add more lemon juice or sea salt if needed).
  11. Add half of parsley and pulse food processor just to combine.
  12. Put hummus in a serving bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of chickpeas, and a sprinkling of parsley.
Variations
  1. Boil chickpeas in a heavy bottomed pot instead of pressure cooking. Cooking time may take more than an hour for chickpeas to become soft before adding sea salt.
  2. Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of tahini for lighter version.

Try making a colorful veggie platter with your homemade Chickpea Hummus:

Rainbow Veggie Platter with Parsley-Tahini Sauce

Enjoy!

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