Posts Tagged ‘winter soup’

As a follow up to publishing the launch date of my second cookbook,

Healthy Eating for Life

here’s the first recipe in that book–a warming dish for winter:

Chickpea and Pasta Soup

Worth considering for Christmas Eve or Boxing day evening [the 26th for American friends] !


It has been eaten in Italy since Roman times.

The poet, Horace, wrote about heading for home and a bowl of leeks, pasta and chickpeas.

There are many variations on the theme of chickpeas and pasta.

A constant flavour is rosemary.

Serves 4

450g cooked chickpeas–tinned or bottled

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

carrot–chopped fine

stick of celery–chopped fine

small onion— chopped fine

garlic cloves–pulped with a teaspoon of salt

1 tbsp tomato concentrate

pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

a sprig of rosemary 

a sprig of sage

750ml vegetable stock (I use organic vegetable stock cubes)

Parmesan rind (optional–this is just the leftover rind when you’ve grated all the useable cheese off. Save them for this soup!)

salt and black pepper

180gms small pasta (tubular is what I use, but any small pasta will do)

olive oil to swirl in each bowl

  • Purée two-thirds of the cooked chickpeas in a food mixer or blender (you can use a bit of the liquid from the tin, can or jar to loosen the mixture, if you wish)
  • In a large pan gently sauté the carrot, celery and onion until they soften–about 10 minutes.


  • Add the garlic, the cayenne (if using) and the sprigs of herb, mixing them in for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato concentrate and cook a further couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the chickpeas and the purée.
  • Add the stock and the parmesan rind (if using) and bring the soup gently up to the boil.
  • Add the raw pasta and stir well ensuring the purée doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Season and simmer until the pasta is done–adding more liquid if it gets too thick.


  • Serve hot–with the addition of some steamed broccoli, si vous voulez!

chickpea soup with broccoliIMG_3823

Along with its cousin, pasta e fagioli, these are my two favorite soups of the moment!

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Our friend, Romaine Hart–a wise counsellor–was adamant last night that we were not getting enough PROTEIN!

Our tales of how long it’s taking to shake off the virus that has been a companion (on and off) for nearly three weeks was all the proof she needed.

So we agreed that a couple of lamb chops for lunch today would be a step in the right direction.

Vegetable soups–all very well, but they need backing-up!

We are eating meat less frequently now.

This is reflected in the meat section of my new book,  Healthy Eating for Life (to be published January 8th–my birthday!).

I awake this morning intending to visit Lautrec’s Friday market, pick up some lamb chops from the local butcher and see what’s up. 

It’s a chilly, grey November day and I light the fire.

My determination wavers and I start to think, “Maybe chops tomorrow–how about a heartwarming vegetable soup?”.

Then I remember this soup from my first book–and rationalize: White beans are a good protein source!

I picture it steaming in a bowl with a swirl of the new, green olive oil and thoughts of driving to Lautrec disappear in the mist!


for 4

1 clove of garlic – peeled and chopped

8 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp parsley – chopped
1 kg/36 oz canned or–preferably–bottled white beans – drained and rinsed

salt and pepper

250 ml/1⁄2 pint/1 cup vegetable stock

toasted wholewheat bread with a little olive oil

for 4

Sauté the garlic in the oil gently until it colours.

Add the parsley and stir a couple of times.

Mix in the beans, salt and pepper.


Cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes to warm through.


Purée a quarter of the beans in a mixer and return with the stock to the pan.


Simmer for another 5 minutes.


Check the seasoning.

Serve over the toast with a swirl of olive oil in each bowl.

Optional: Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top before serving.

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