Most of the time I prefer some kind of meat in my soups, stews, and chowders. But as we are getting a bit older and health issues are starting to raise their ugly little heads here at Chez Carr, I have decided to (for the 3,659th time), try to direct our taste buds toward a more vegetable and meatless protein rich diet. Don’t get me wrong. We eat a lot of veggies already, and both of us love beans and interesting grains, but I could do better. (I say I, because I’m the one in the apron!)
So, in that vein, and because I needed a vegan dish for this Sunday’s JazzVox pre-concert meal, I came up with this soup loosely based on a recipe from the Happy Healthy Mama website.
First of all, we both love Indian curry. So why not start with curry powder. Then some turmeric (super good for us), and a few other spices and lots of veggies. Throw in some lentils and garbanzo beans, and you have a soup that is both delicious and ultra-healthy.
So if you too are trying to eat healthier, but absolutely refuse to give up the quality of the food you put in your mouth, give this recipe a try. The soup is creamy and chunky, with a wonderful mouth feel. (You know, that lovely feeling in your mouth when the consistency and flavor of whatever food you are eating feels so perfect you almost don’t want to swallow.) OK, maybe my definition of “mouth feel” falls into the category of a personal idiosyncrasy. Regardless, this soup is wonderful and perfect for a cold winter evening meal. Enjoy.
And remember, buy all the lovely spices featured in this soup in bulk. You will save yourself so much money. Which only means you can make this soup more often. See how that works!
- 2 T. curry powder
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1/8 to ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I start with 1/8 teaspoon because I’m a wimp!)
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lg. carrot, small dice
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, plus leaves, small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 c. dry lentils, washed and rinsed
- 8 c. vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base and 8 cups water, or strained cooking water from garbanzo beans and enough tap water to make 8 cups)
- 1 lg. sweet potato, cut into small chunks
- 3 c. cooked garbanzo beans (see cooking recipes below) or 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can lite coconut milk
- ½-1 tsp. garam masala, opt.
In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set Aside.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy large covered soup pot. Add the carrot, onion, and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add the spice mixture and lentils; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
Add the sweet potato, and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potato chunks are tender. Add the cooked garbanzo beans, coconut milk, and garam masala. Bring to just below a boil. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning. Great served with warm sourdough bread. Reheats beautifully. (Actually this soup is even better the second day.)
Instant-Pot or Pressure Cooker Garbanzo Beans
- 1 c. dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, washed but not pre-soaked
- 4 c. water
- ½ tsp. salt, opt.
Add washed chickpeas along with the water to the Instant-Pot insert. Add salt. Close the lid with vent in sealing position.
Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure, and adjust the timer to 35 minutes. When the cooking time is up, unplug the Instant Pot and do a 20 minute NPR, which means if necessary, release the pressure manually 20 minutes after the beep. Strain the liquid and use it to make the vegetable broth. Add the cooked beans to the soup per recipe instructions.
Note: As much as possible I prefer to use cooked dry beans rather than canned beans. But of course, there are just those days when I gladly grab a can of beans out of the pantry. Consistency has always been my motto!
Regular Top-of-the-Stove Cooked Beans (Quick Soak Method)
- 1 c. dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, washed
- ½ tsp. salt, opt.
Place the washed beans in a large pot, cover with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then take the pot off of the heat and let the beans sit in the water for 1 hour.
After the beans have been soaked, drain and rinse them well. Add them to a large pot, cover with several inches of water, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered 90 to 120 minutes or until tender. Add the salt after the beans have been simmering for about an hour. Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit, then strain the liquid and use it to make the vegetable broth. Add the cooked beans to the soup per recipe instructions.