Chickpea & Rice Soup

‘Tis the season … for colds and flu, that is. Our house is recovering from a doozy of a bug right now, and I got the worst of it. It’s been a full week, and my appetite is still all but nonexistent.

Strange how foods from childhood creep back into your consciousness when you’re sick. For me, one of the only foods I’ve been able to think about for the past week (without wanting to hurl) is Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Briny, salty, comforting.

Chickpea and Rice Soup recipe - This vegetarian version of chicken and rice soup is just as comforting and delicious, but no bird! Vegan option.

Except, well, shoot. I don’t eat chicken these days, and I limit processed foods too. So what’s a comfort-seeking sickie to do?

Make something just as comforting – and, actually, more so – that’s what! This Chickpea & Rice Soup is basically a vegetarian-friendly chicken and rice soup. It’s brothy, steamy, and satisfying … and it tastes like home.

Chickpea and Rice Soup recipe - This vegetarian version of chicken and rice soup is just as comforting and delicious, but no bird! Vegan option.

I’ve made vegetarian chicken soup recipes in the past, but they’ve all been vaguely unsatisfying. With this one, though, I think I’ve finally nailed it! The key is to give the broth a few magic touches to give it that rich, deep, satisfying flavor that chicken would otherwise impart.

We start with a little olive oil and butter – using both adds an extra flavor note or two – and then we saute onions, celery, and carrot. Simple enough. Then we stir in garlic, dried thyme (because who has time to run to the store or out to the garden for fresh thyme when we’re under the weather?), and even a little bit of that super-spice turmeric for health and that familiar yellow hue.

Broth, a bay leaf, some chickpeas … simmer, stir in some cooked rice.

Scoop into bowls, swirl, sip, savor.

Chickpea and Rice Soup recipe - This vegetarian version of chicken and rice soup is just as comforting and delicious, but no bird! Vegan option.

Mmm mmm good. Let the healing begin.

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Chickpea & Rice Soup

Under the weather? Chicken soup, schmicken schoup. Brew up a big pot of this comforting vegetarian elixir instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) (I use brown Basmati rice, but really any rice should do just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (can sub another tablespoon of olive oil)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • Additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-to-large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute, stirring, until the onions are cooked through and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, turmeric, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt. Stir, cooking, for about a minute.
  3. Stir in the vegetable broth and chickpeas. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in rice. Remove bay leaf. Taste and add additional salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve.

Vegan/dairy-free option:

Use olive oil instead of butter.

All images and text © for Kitchen Treaty.

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