Today, we had to spring our clocks forward, but here in Michigan, Spring itself has not yet sprung. However, when I stepped outside this morning I thought for a second that it actually did feel pretty nice outside: there was no wind, the sun was shining, and the air only seemed to feel slightly cold. Then I checked our outside thermometer: 29ºF. You know you have problems when only slightly below freezing feels nice!
I don’t know how long winter will last this year, but last year it kept on snowing through mid-April. Maybe, where ever you live, you’ve had better luck with the weather. Maybe you live by the beach and it’s already in the 80s. Us Michiganders aren’t quite so lucky, but we’ve found different ways to make it through the long winters. One of those ways is through food.
Winter weather calls for warm, hearty dishes. Not because ice cream cakes or watermelon don’t taste good in the winter, but more because cold and refreshing foods are necessary for the summer. So things like soups should be reserved for the winter and your remaining salad recipes should be used in the summer.
So today I have a soup recipe for you (and if it’s already starting to get warm where you live, make this now, before it gets too hot outside!). This one is a Moroccan Chickpea Soup, made with some of the classic spices of Morocco. It is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, due to the use of red and black pepper along with cinnamon and sweet potato. The broth is creamy and smooth without the use of cream. It’s filling while also being vegetarian. It’s made with fresh wintery vegetables and chickpeas. Pair with some bread or biscuits on the side and add this to your list of ways to make it through the winter.
Looking for some other winter recipe suggestions?
Try my oven-roasted potatoes for a quick side dish, some traditional flan for dessert, or delicious French Toast for an amazing breakfast! If you’re looking for more, here’s some healthy recipe ideas that looked good on Aloha.com: peas and carrots soup, Chili the Aloha Way, Veggie Curry, or 11 Vegetable Barley Soup.
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- pinch of saffron
- 6-8 cups vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)*
- 4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 15-oz cans, rinsed
- fresh lemon juice
- up to 1/2 tsp sea salt**
- black pepper
- maple syrup (optional)
- fresh cilantro, to garnish
- fresh mint, to garnish
- *This is up to you —if you want a thicker soup, add less broth. Adding 8 cups of broth doesn’t make a thin soup, but just slightly lighter.
- **if the vegetable broth already has salt, reduce this amount to just a pinch
- Place a large soup pot on the stove. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, fennel, and celery. Cook for about 6 minutes. Add the carrots, sweet potato, and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add about 1 cup vegetable broth and keep mixing. Add the chickpeas, a squirt of lemon juice and some salt. Add the rest of the vegetable broth.
- With the pot over high heat, allow the soup to come to a boil. Once it does, turn down the temperature to medium. Cover and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
- Test the sweet potatoes with a fork to make sure they are soft and fully cooked. If they are, puree half the soup in a blender or food processor (it might be necessary to do this in batches). Pour the pureed soup back into the pot.
- Taste the soup to see if it is necessary to add more salt or pepper. Optionally add a spoonful of maple syrup.
- Serve and garnish with cilantro, mint, black pepper, and lemon juice.