Soooo…. I have an obsession with chickpeas. Not a secret, but I’m just stating it so it’s out there and in the open (if you’ve ever wondered why 99.99% of my recipes have chickpeas in them). From roasting them, to soaking them, to turning them into soup, I just can’t get enough of these gorgeous garbanzos. The up side is that my obsession is totally healthy (literally) and chickpeas are an amazing staple for anyone’s diet (especially if you’re looking to get on the healthy bandwagon).

Just to make sure we’re all clear about how great these beans are for you, I’ve compiled a little list to explain some nutritional benefits and how they can make a healthier and happier you! I have been hearing some rumors out there that people aren’t eating them because they have “carbs”, and I’m about to call a slight amount of b.s on that one (let me explain below)..

 

Why I Love Chickpeas

Fiber. If you’re livin in the dark ages and haven’t heard about fiber then now is a better time than ever. Fiber is an indigestible part of a a plant and is crucial to good health. The fiber found in these chickpeas can keep you fuller longer (which means a trimmer waistline and no more over eating) while promoting good digestion and helping to lower your cholesterol. Lowering your cholesterol = a heathy vascular system and heart, and doesn’t everyone want a healthier heart??

Complex carbs. Chickpeas do have carbohydrates but the type of carbs they have take a while for our body to break them down (this is good). This means that when the chickpeas are finally turned into energy for our cells, the energy is slowly released into the blood stream causing a steady flow with no spikes and crashes (fiber helps make this happen as well). All of this means powerful fuel for our body that keeps us focused and balanced throughout the day (total thumbs up). 

Protein. Chickpeas are a great source of protein, especially if you’re a non-meat lover like me. A 1/2 cup of chickpeas has the same amount of protein as 1 ounce of meat (which is 7 grams of protein). Though remember, chickpeas aren’t just mostly protein like a piece of chicken or steak, they also have complex carbs, some healthy fats and lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals (muy bien I say).

Phosphorous, Potassium and Magnesium. Chickpeas are high in all three of these minerals, which combined all mean healthy blood, a healthy vascular system, healthy muscles, bones and organs. Potassium also helps to keep your blood pressure at a normal rate while reducing water retention in the body, meaning less bloating.

Folate. Folate is a vitamin essential for healthy metabolism and making sure what we’re eating is being turned into energy. Folate takes the carbohydrates we consume and then turns them into useful energy for our cells. In addition to keeping our metabolism going, folate also generates our DNA, RNA and healthy white and red blood cells (totally important if you ask me).

 

So now that we’re all clear about how amazing chickpeas are for you, it’s now time to talk about this delicious soup recipe. I am in L-O-V-E  with this tasty creation, and have been for the past 15 years or so. My mom used to make this all the time growing up as a kid and now it was my turn to learn the very simple tricks of the trade.  

For this recipe I soaked my own chickpeas (see my my Chicka Chickpea recipe), but using canned chickpeas is perfectly fine. Just remember that canned chickpeas are going to have a lot more sodium so rinse them thoroughly and start off using only half of the recommend salt in the recipe. Also, I use an emersion blender (I call it a boat motor hahaha) to blend the soup, but if you don’t have one, using a blender or even a food processor is perfectly fine (just blend the soup in batches). 

When it comes time to returning the soup to the hot stove after you’ve blended it, just add in the remaining cooked chickpeas, give it a good stir and let it get nice and toasty again. Then get your soup bowls out and in the bottom place some fresh (and washed) baby spinach. You want to then pour the hot soup over the spinach so it wilts while still remaining crunchy and flavorful. 

I like to personally then top my soup with a little fresh ground pepper and some nice grated parmesan cheese, though if you don’t/can’t eat cheese, the cheese doesn’t make or break the tastiness of what’s in the bowl. Also, a little side note here…if you have leftovers, when you go to re-heat the soup you might need to add a little more vegetable broth or water. The carbohydrate in the chickpeas tends to make the soup a little thicker as it sits and adding some liquid helps to thin it out. Remember to NOT put the spinach in the leftover soup. Keep that separate and just place it in each bowl as you enjoy it. 

This Creamy Chickpea Soup is definitely one of my favorite meals (yes meals, that encompass many other types of food) and I am so excited to be sharing it with you! It’s simple, healing, nourishing and so damn delicious. One scoop is never usually enough and believe me, this is one meal you never have to feel guilty about when having seconds!

Creamy Chickpea Soup

Creamy Chickpea Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp salt (1/4 if using canned chickpeas)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add in olive oil. Allow olive oil to get slightly hot for about 3 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add in onion, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Then add in the vegetable broth and only 2 cups of the chickpeas, cover and let simmer on medium low for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove soup from the heat and blend (I used a hand-blender).
  5. Add in remaining cup of chickpeas to the soup, give it a good stir and re-heat on low if no longer hot.
  6. Place a little bit of spinach in each bowl and cover with the hot soup, this allows the spinach to wilt while not getting over cooked (very important). Top each bowl with some fresh ground pepper!

chickpea-soup
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As a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist, Sara not only practices what she preaches, but she also eats what she practices. Sara's philosophy about food and nutrition is simple; eat real food, make it yourself, enjoy every step, and leave room for laughter. Sara shares more of her delicious recipes at EatLaughDrink.com.
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