Spicy Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer soup

When the temperature outside is 114 degrees (no lie), I mostly want dinners that consist of ice cream. Then ice cream later for dessert. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes we crank the air and head to the stove to make a meal like Spicy Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Soup.

Soup isn’t typically top choice for summer meals, but this dish is nothing like sitting down to a heavy fall soup or stew. The fresh summer veggies lighten things up.

Spice things up

You could use whatever vegetables you have handy, and toss them together with stock and seasonings for a light, quick meal. I added harissa paste for some zing, and lemon juice and zest (my favorite part of the soup) to lighten things up. If you don’t have harissa handy, use any sort of hot sauce, or red pepper flakes if you prefer.

When it’s so hot out that you could cook an egg on the sidewalk, head indoors, grab a cold beverage and make a batch of this summer soup instead!

 

Recipe for
Spicy Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Soup


 

 

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

Warm up with a bowl of Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans) - it makes a heart, great-tasting vegetarian meal

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans) is a simple, hearty, Italian soup-type dish made with pasta and beans. Some of you may know this dish from your Italian relatives, friends or local restaurants as “pasta fazool.”

Everyone seems to have their own special recipe for Pasta e Fagioli, and this one is my family’s (although my mom’s version is always different because she usually tosses in miscellaneous veggies she has on hand).

If my dad were alive, he’d be cracking up to see that I was sharing this recipe. He always thought it was funny when people fussed over rustic Italian dishes that were the most simple and cost effective — basically the “peasant food” he grew up eating in Italy because it was inexpensive and readily available.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans) is a delicious Italian dish

Peasant food or not, Pasta e Fagioli will fill you up, and it makes a delicious, satisfying meal — especially when it’s served with rustic Italian bread and a glass of wine!

This is a vegetarian recipe (and vegan with a swap of the Parmesan cheese), but many people add prosciutto or bacon to the dish for added flavor.

Recipe for Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans):

Makes 6 servings

 

Kale and White Bean Soup: Perfect for a Night In

Kale and White Bean Soup

Kale and White Bean Soup is such an easy and tasty dish to make. It only takes a few minutes at the stove before you can sit down with a loaf of crunchy bread and some good company for a great meal. It’s an ideal dish when time is limited but your hunger isn’t!

Saturday Chores Left Behind

I had such a fun Saturday last weekend! Usually, Saturday morning rolls around and all I can think about (after coffee, of course) are things that need attention: right now I’m thinking about cookies that should be baked, cards that should be written and mailed, and the tree that should be put up and decorated.

But this weekend, my husband and I banished the “shoulds.” Instead of tending to the holiday chores, we decided to live dangerously and put off most of those things for one more weekend and just do what we felt like doing.

At this time of year, most people in other pars of the country aren’t getting ready to go to the farmers market, but that’s where we were headed –- we’re so lucky for our mild winter weather (if you’re jealous, call me in July when it’s 118 degrees out).

We reached the Phoenix Public Market, milled around and shopped, picking up some great produce, fresh baked bread, a dozen tamales to freeze and eat on Christmas, and our favorite goat cheese from Lauren at the Crow’s Dairy stand. With all of this delicious food around us we worked up an appetite and decided to grab some lunch downtown.

It Really is the Holiday Season!

On our way to the restaurant we ran across an outdoor, holiday-season ice rink. What a sight! The rink was decorated with sparkling, colored lights for the evening, and the trees were decorated with ribbons, bows and packages wrapped in shiny colors. Kids and adults wobbled by on their skates, moving round and round the chilly rink wearing mittens, not feeling the 70-degree temperature surrounding it. If I squinted my eyes and stood on the ice, it was sort of like being at Rockefeller Center…sort of. Nonetheless, it was festive enough to get us in the mood for Christmas!

We made it to lunch and enjoyed our time lingering over our plates and a few cocktails. To make matters more festive, my Prosecco was served in a short coupe champagne glass – the kind that makes you feel like you’re ringing in the New Year with the likes of Don Draper.

By this point we were definitely in the holiday spirit and set out for a little more shopping. Once we made it home we were exhausted! Saturday night is usually reserved as a going-out-to-dinner night, and earlier in the day we picked a place to go. No reservation, of course, because that’s how most restaurants in Phoenix roll. But the inevitable happened. Once we sat down at home we were too tired to get up to head back out.

Saturday Night Soup Special

What about dinner? Too tired to make anything that was time-consuming and too hungry to wait around any longer, my husband jumped up and started something in the kitchen: Kale and white bean soup.

This soup is easy to put together, healthy and filling (and kale is such the “it” vegetable these days). Our trip to the farmers market helped inspire our meal. You can add whatever vegetables you like, or even sausage for extra flavor. About 25 minutes later, we were enjoying our soup with fresh baked bread topped with goat cheese quark spread. A great meal to end a great day!

Recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup:

Serves 4-6 people

Creamy Curried Squash and Cauliflower Soup

Creamy curried butternut squash and cauliflower soup

My sister has a special skill for making soup. Whether you serve this dish at Thanksgiving dinner or on a regular Tuesday night, her recipe for Creamy Curried Squash and Cauliflower Soup might have you exclaiming that it’s the best soup ever!

I was talking to my sister, Carla, the other day. Since Thanksgiving is around the bend and there are loads of additional activities my family has planned for that weekend, she and I were discussing things like wardrobe options and who will have the hairdryer (in my family, if one person has a hairdryer, the others can leave theirs behind to take advantage of valuable suitcase space).

Soup superlatives

While we were talking about our hair and clothes, Carla pulled out some Creamy Curried Squash and Cauliflower Soup — leftovers from the night before. She said that, according to her husband Ben, it was “the best soup ever!” Really? The best ever? They’ve only been married a few years so it’s possible he was just kindly praising her efforts, but she seemed to agree with the rating.

Squash and cauliflower

This proclamation was a little surprising because what she’s really known for is her beet soup (a recipe for another time). So with the success of her creamy curried squash and cauliflower soup, she’s not just a one-hit soup wonder! She’ll now be known as “the sister who makes the great soup.”

Since it is Thanksgiving week and many of us will be with our families, I thought it was the perfect time to share this family recipe. I’m thankful that Carla had time to make it and I’m thankful the whole family will get to visit soon, even though some of us might be fighting over a hairdryer.

This recipe can easily be made as a vegan dish by using a vegan-based vegetable broth, butter and sour cream.

Recipe for Creamy Curried Squash and Cauliflower Soup:

Serves 6 people

Lentil Soup with Veggies and Pasta

Lentil Soup with Veggies and Pasta:

My mom was recently visiting. Like most moms, mine is known for throwing ingredients together and coming up with something delicious to eat — without even having a written recipe. Not a big deal, right? It’s a bit of an issue for me since I’m not really one to wing it much when cooking (I’m a little Type A — maybe that has something to do with it?). So to finally get a written recipe for this soup makes me very happy!

I used to think there was a big secret or heavy lifting behind cooking lentils, but I was wrong. Lentils are quick-cooking and easy to make, and so is lentil soup. This version, my mom’s go-to for years (and now mine), includes veggies and pasta in the mix. I make mine more thick and creamy, but either way, it’s super hearty (don’t forget the health benefits of lentils) and delicious.

Add just about anything to this soup

I had to run out on a few quick errands and my mom stayed behind in my kitchen. When I got home, something smelled too good to be true — it was lentil soup with veggies and pasta! I wondered how this happened so quickly — did I even have the right ingredients in the house? My mom told me that all she did was open the fridge and a few cupboards and suddenly, soup was on.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can pretty much add whatever vegetables and seasonings you have available and it’ll likely be delicious. My mom told me that she often uses leftover mashed potatoes instead of the cream of mushroom (or celery) soup, and adds a bit of milk to thin them in place of the water. I once used salsa when I was out of tomato sauce. It worked out really well!

After we each ate a bowl I had her sit with me so she could walk me through her steps to soup. This is her “recipe.” It can be hard to give someone a written recipe that’s in your head — especially this one where substitutions are likely. I used my mom’s version and tweaked it a little, which you’ll probably do, too.

My post originally appeared on The Daily Meal.

Retouched mom and soup

Mom enjoys her soup

Recipe for Lentil Soup with Veggies and Pasta:

Serves 6-8 people