It’s a gray, gloomy day here in New York City. It’s been raining, mostly, but it was even sleeting for a little while this morning.
It would be a good day to stay inside and make soup even if it weren’t for the current circumstances. Since we’re at home anyway, watching it drizzle outside, I think it’s an especially nice day for soup.
I thought I’d share one of the Power Plates recipes that most spells “comfort” to me. This spicy, lemony cabbage chickpea soup is the closest thing I’ve created in adulthood that evokes the chicken soup I remember from childhood, which was definitely one of my mom’s specialties. It’s super similar to an older recipe from the blog, but I like the spice blend and the brown rice used here, and this is the version that’s become my go-to.
The soup is easy to make, and it’s packed full of veggies that keep well (onions, carrots, celery, cabbage). As written, the recipe makes tons—at least 8 servings. But you can cut it in half, or you can freeze some. In the last week I’ve had a few moments when I’ve wondered if I should make less, to protect freezer space, but actually, I keep defrosting and finishing things, so I think my cadence right now is good.
When my recipe testers were helping me out with this soup, one tester suggested a short pasta shape in place of rice. I have a lot of long-grain brown rice that needs cooking right now, so I’m making my way through it, meal by meal. But a small pasta would be lovely here, as would orzo! The soup gets a kick from red pepper flakes, stirred in at the end, which you can adjust to taste. And the turmeric gives it the prettiest, most vibrant golden color.
Spicy Cabbage Chickpea Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (substitute a few tablespoons vegetable broth)
- 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 head of cabbage)
- 1 cup medium or long-grain brown rice (substitute a short pasta or orzo)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (substitute smoked)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt (more as needed)
- 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1-2 cups water
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Stir in the cabbage, chickpeas, rice, paprika, turmeric, and salt, then pour in the broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with black pepper and/or crushed red pepper flakes. If the soup is thicker than you’d like, add the extra cup of water. Serve with fresh parsley, if desired.
This is a filling meal in its own right, but a little slice of buttered toast certainly doesn’t hurt.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how times like this bring us back to what matters. Part of that awareness includes thinking about, and preparing, meals that are simple and comforting, like this one. This lemony, spicy bowl will help to keep me warm on a damp evening.
Hope it warms you up, comforts, and keeps you full sometime soon, too!