Soup Weather

This year I'd like to do a better job of controlling food waste--sometimes I get over excited about a recipe with thousands of ingredients, buy them all, make the recipe, end up eating it for days on end (sigh, the life of a single gal), and throw out the leftover ingredients. This year I'd like to be better about meal planning. I'm trying it out. I'm sure there will be ups and downs and a huge learning curve, but I'm committed. 

Over the holiday break I went to dinner at my friend Kelly's. She had a Rick Bayless/Mexican theme and made a tortilla soupromaine jicama salad (yum), and creamy enchiladas. I loved every bite of it and was inspired to make something myself. Cold winter weather means, it's soup weather! Rather than copy Kelly, I looked at my soup board on Pinterest and came across something simple, easy, and healthy. The January trifecta! This soup was on the table in less than an hour--perfect for a week night. The hardest part was chopping onions and jalapenos. The rest is pretty much dumping things into a pot.

Here's the dinner last night/ lunch for the week recipe I made on Monday that was just... delicious!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
With Chili Roasted Chickpeas

Adapted slightly from Andie Mitchell's recipe


Chili Roasted Chickpeas

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained, patted as dry as you can get them
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
A mixture of the below seasonings that sounds good to you/you have in your pantry, oregano and chili being essential, to taste:
1 part chili powder
1 part dried oregano
1 part salt (I used Crazy Jane here for the extra seasoning)
Others to consider/play with: garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne for spicy, smoked paprika, a few grinds of pepper

Tortilla Soup

A couple glugs of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped (fewer if you don't like any heat, but you do need the flavor for the soup to be distinctly tortilla soup)
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (a good brand makes a difference here)
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
32 ounces/4 cups low sodium broth (veggie to keep it vegetarian, or whatever you have in your fridge, I'm sure Chicken stock would be good here)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
Salt to taste (I used home made veggie stock with no salt, so I added quite a bit)
1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (This is essential)
Sour cream
Spread the chickpeas out so they get crispy on all sides

This stuff is addictive!

Before adding the tomato--everything is sautéed



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.


Rinse the chickpeas and dry them really well in a dishtowel (I folded mine over and rolled them around a bit), discard any skins that come off of the chickpeas during the process.
Lay the chickpeas out on a baking sheet.
Drizzle them with the oil and sprinkle the seasonings over them. Toss everything together so they're well coated.
Spread them in a single layer and really spread out (the more space between them, the more room for crispiness).
Roast for 15 minutes, shake them around, and roast them for another 15 minutes (30 total) or until the chickpeas are crispy, toasty brown in places, and crunchy.
Put them aside to cool.


While the chickpeas are roasting, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a good sized soup pot. 
Add the chopped/diced onion, bell pepper, garlic (I put mine through a garlic press), and jalapeños and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. 
Pour in the crushed tomatoes (remember the splatter! Wear an apron!), tomato paste, broth, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, and salt, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tip: If you need more time before putting this dish on the table, you can keep this soup on the stove for even 30-40 minutes at a very low temp and it won't thicken too terribly much.

Make sure the soup is the consistency you like--add more broth if you'd like it to be thinner, though I liked mine just like this
Stir in the corn (I forgot to defrost mine, so added my corn frozen and the world didn't end) and a hearty handful of the cilantro into the soup.
Taste the soup and add more seasoning and herbs to taste if needed. The cilantro really brings the soup up a notch--use it if you love it, and if not, add something that brings the flavor up a bit more.

To serve, ladle soup into each bowl, divide the chickpeas among the bowls (about a heaping ⅓ cup), and add any fun toppings you'd like--sour cream, more cilantro, avocado, a hard sharp cheddar or other cheese, diced jalapeño, hot sauce, something else crunchy like a pepper or (as the original recipe suggests, radish).

NOTE: this packs really well in ball jars for lunch. Don't forget to bring your toppings though! I needed something in addition--an orange, an apple and PB, a piece of toast, something else to get me through the day.


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