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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Moroccan Chickpea Soup


This soup is delicious and nutritious. It contains all the components of a healthy meal: fiber, protein, and healthy fat. It also contains anti-inflammatory spices and bone broth. The nutrients and protein in bone broth are particularly well absorbed and they support the growth and repair of connective tissues in the body like bones, joints, and skin. 

Serve this healthy soup as a flavorful first course or a hearty main dish. Warm it up for a quick breakfast or an afternoon snack. Garnish it simply with some fresh cilantro or serve it a shallow bowl topped with a fried egg or a piece of grilled fish. For a meatier dish, stir in some leftover turkey or add a few lamb meatballs.

Don’t be intimidated by the list of spices below. If you’re missing one or even a few, your soup will still have plenty of flavor, but do consider seeking them out and learning how to use them. Many of the spices in this recipe reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, detoxify cancer-causing chemicals, and protect against oxidative (free radical) damage.

In this recipe I used a whole bunch of cilantro, the leaves as well as the roots and stems, which have a lot of flavor. If you don't have or don't care for cilantro, you can substitute parsley and/or other leafy greens like kale, spinach, or chard.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pre-soaked for 12 to 24 hours
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or substitute coconut oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 heaping cup
  • 4 medium stalks celery, chopped, about 1 heaping cup
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper (or any color), chopped, about 1 heaping cup
  • 1 green chili pepper, minced or finely sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground peppercorn
  • 1 packed teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric or 1 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups bone broth (recipe follows)
  • 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried ones
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 organic lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (leaves, stems, and roots)

  1. Melt the ghee in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and chili pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to brown.
  3. Add the salt, peppercorn, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices. Allow them to toast until they become aromatic, just a few minutes. While they toast, drain the chickpeas.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, bay, and drained chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup slowly until the chickpeas are tender, about an hour, depending on how long you soaked them. Once the chickpeas are tender, turn off the heat and grate the garlic into the pot. Cover and allow it to sit for 10 minutes or more.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro, lemon zest and juice. Taste the soup for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments.

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