Friday, January 11, 2008

Lemony Lovin' - Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup

I must be in a lemon frame of mind. Just a night after making the Lemon Garlic Pasta, I move on to making Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup from ed&bv.

Did you know that fresh lemon juice is good for your liver?... helps cleanse and strengthen. Hmmm, maybe it's the post-Christmas-chocolate indulgences that I'm working on with the lemon juice. :)

So, here we are making the soup. When I make soups, or one-pot dishes, I always get everything needed in the first step of cooking straight in the pot, as shown here with the onions, garlic, herbs, spices, and oil. Then, once I get it on to the stove, cover it and start the cooking, I have 6-8 minutes to get the other ingredients going, such as rinsing the lentils, getting the stock ready, etc. Speaking of veggie stock, this is the brand I use. I talk about this stock in ed&bv, and really, I love using it. It is convenient, and doesn't take up much space or quickly expire as do the tetra-pak stocks. Plus, imo, the flavor of this Harvest Sun veg stock is better than the tetra-pak stocks. 1 cube = 2 cups of stock, so you can divide cubes if needed for 1 cup.


Once the veggies have softened, you add the lentils, chickpeas (reserving some), zukes (or tomatoes, I used zukes this time round), stock, etc, and let simmer until the lentils have softened up.

Then, remove the bay leaves (oooh, steamy soup!) so you can give the soup a whiz - 'cause you don't want to blend those babies up. Blend some (not fully, just to make a little creamy and thick, but keeping some bits of veg in there). And guys, you've GOTTA have an immersion blender in your kitchen!!

After blending, you can return the bay leaves to the soup to continue to flavor the mixture, and pour on in that fresh lemon juice (did I mention not to use the bottled stuff. no. no. no. fresh lemons only please).

I know it might sound odd to add something acidic to a soup, but it really heightens and brightens the flavor... and in this case it adds some tang as well, using anywhere from 1/4 - 1/3 cup. Then, finally if you have fresh thyme around, add some to the soup for a few minutes before serving. It's not listed as an ingredient must, but since there is dried thyme in the soup, the fresh thyme just boosts that flavor, and it so bloody delicious with the flavors in the soup.

Here's your wee thyme leaf. Remove the leaves simply by holding the top end of the stalk with one hand, and pinching your thumb and index finger of your other hand to pull down in the opposite direction of the growth of the leaves, as shown (yeah, I'm only using one hand here, but someone has to take the pic)! Now, if your thyme is very young and tender, this can be tedious to do because the stalk itself is so soft. In this case, just chop up. Also, if your stalks are very thick with lots of little stalk growths and too plentiful to pull in opposite direction, use the same technique to pull the leaves away, but pull along in the direciton of growth of the leaves - you won't 'clean' the stalk as well, but it will save time. Have I lost you? If you get a several stalks of thyme, you'll understand - some are sparse like the one shown left, and others are quite thick and well, stalky. Anyhow, after getting the leaves, chop a bit and add to the soup for ~5 mins before serving. Add fresh pepper and extra salt if you like (ground coarse sea salt is great!). Then slurp up!

...and now, who am I kidding... as if I've stopped eating chocolate since Christmas.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love that brand of bouillon cubes too. I nearly had a coronary when I saw the ingredients in the brand my mom was using. There was hydrogenated oil, MSG and a few other no-no ingredients! I bought her a box of the good stuff.
The Veggie Vixen

maybepigscanfly said...

I don't know why but I've never paired lentils and chickpeas. I must try this soon! Oh and I too am enjoying the lemons. Right when I got home from college before Christmas I was running out to our lemon tree which is abundant with lemons and picking them like crazy.

On a side... my family is lovin the EDBV recipes I've been making them. My mom keeps eating up all the hempanola and demading for more! Tonight I'm making the gimme chimis. Thanks so much!

Mom2Wilmo said...

My kids love this soup Dreena-even my picky son! I have decided to go through E,D, & be Vegan one receipe at a time until I have made everything! I am choosing a few recpies from each section to make each week.
Dreena do you have any suggestions on filling meals/snacks? I am busy nursing my two week old baby boy and am never full. I tried stork muffins but don't love dates.
Any ideas for quick easy stuff?

Robin_newtoveganism said...

Dreena,
I made the Lemon Ckickpea Lentil Soup and I loved it! My 18 yr old DS enjoyed it and my 20 yr old DD was glad not to see too many chickpeas. Little did she know I blended most up:) The above mentioned older kids went to their Dad's this holiday and my 20 yr old daughter told me that they made many meat-based and dairy-based meals. She said she was in the bathroom for three days and she felt sluggish. She admitted to liking the way she felt when eating my vegan meals but she did request meat at least twice a week. I agreed but I have 5 other days to experiment and win everyone over. Unfortunately tonight's meal was not a hit. Not even with me:( No, No, it was not a recipe from your book. It was a new vegan cookbook that I was trying out as well. I hate when you spend all that time and all of your fresh veggies on a recipe that just doesn't turn out well. Oh well! Love your book, and I can't wait for another~

Robin

Judy said...

This sounds so good, I can't wait to try it.

bazu said...

Mmmm, I can see the appeal of lemon- a little burst of sunshine in the dead of winter!

Robin_newtoveganism said...

Oh My Gosh!!! I need to edit my last post. I was telling my husband how disappointed I was with tonights meal and how it upset my stomach so he asked to look at the recipe. It was a Biscuit Stew Casserole. It called for 5 tsp of baking powder,not what I put in which was 5 tsp of baking soda. Boy my eyes are getting bad. I looked at the recipe several times thinking it didn't sound right and it wasn't after all. What a ditz I am~

Maybe I will try it again and see if I enjoy it better.

Robin

angelacf said...

I hate to be a party pooper - but I used to use that kind of boullion cube - then my daughter, I found out, was sensitive to msg & "yeast extract" is a something that is hard for msg sensitive people to consume - it is almost msg. (in fact teh box used to say no added msg but legally they can't say that anymore) I know this won't effect everyone, but it is something to be aware of.

Carrie™ said...

I always got the McCormick's brand of vegetarian cubes, but since I saw you mention Organics Horizons in your book, I'm getting them when I next need to replenish my supply. This soup sounds so crazy! It's one of those odd combos that I wouldn't think of but imagine tastes incredible. Now if we can get back into the minus temps so I'll feel like making soup again. On Tuesday we broke a record. It was +16C! In January. How insane is that? Meanwhile, my mom in NB is getting slammed with snow.

VeggieGirl said...

wow, I didn't know that lemon juice was good for the liver - interesting!! this soup sounds absolutely magnificent - lentils AND chickpeas together? perfect!

just wanted to mention that I've successfully tried 13 of the recipes so far, in ED&BV - my family LOVES all of it, as do I :0)

Remember, if you ever need a future recipe tester, VeggieGirl's available!! :0)

Cookiemouse said...

Like the idea of the lemon being good for the liver. After the new year mine could do with some!

VegMomma said...

I made this soup for lunch today! Mmm. And I use those bouillon cubes too!

Michelle said...

mom2wilmo.. i have some suggestions for you.... congrats on the baby, i have an 8 week old, so i'm in the same boat as you! nursing sure does make me hungry!

anyways, if you don't like dates, you could use raisins in those stork muffins.. or make some other muffins.. the Apple Hemp ones are quite good too. i also like to have quick snacks like the Easy Pleasin Oat Bars or the Totally Nutty bars around.. things that can be eaten quickly (with one hand!) and aren't that hard to make. i also have a bunch of soups/casseroles in my freezer that i can pull out and heat up quickly... those are full of whole grains, beans and vegetables, and keep me quite satisfied. i think the key is to include a good protein source (beans, nuts) with some whole grain carbs. also drink lots of water! hope that helps.

dreena, i like those cubes, but don't they have alot of sodium? oh, i see they have a low sodium one, i should see if i can find it... my store usually only carries the regular veg. stock ones.

Sacha said...

Hi Dreena, off topic I apologize, but I'm trying to buy your book today and on Amazon it's saying the delivery time is 1-2 months!
I guess I might try Borders instead unless you have any other suggestions?
thanks! I love your 'Vive Le Vegan' book. My copy is covered in spills and chocolatey fingerprints, the sign of a good cookbook I think!

Dreena said...

Teresa... lemon tree??? I'm most jealous!

mom2wilmo, sorry it's taken a few days to get back to you. Michelle comment reminded me you had a question - meant to get back to you but it just slipped my mind! Ahhh, glorious mommy brain! First, my HUGE congratulations to you - how lovely, exciting, and wonderful. :) I remember those ravenous days of breatfeeding well. During the night feeds, I'd send hubby down for a large (very) glass or rice milk (or, at a time soy nog, when it was the holidays and I was hooked on it), and I'd have that with a hearty snack, much like Michelle mentioned - some I'd make, like Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars, Banana Oat Bundles, or Energy Cookies (more like a power snack). (all those are from Vive, btw). Or a muffin, or something like a larabar. Other ideas are whole-grain cereals that you might like, and sprinkling those with ground nuts... or soy yogurts sprinkled with granola or ground nuts. Oh, and if you can get a chance to make a batch of 'hemp-anola' from ed&bv, I think it will serve as a good snack as well as a cereal. Search out your local groceries for vegan-friendly snack bars, muffins, or lightly sweetened biscuits (ex: oat biscuits, amaranth biscuits) that can give you a quick snack (and so you don't always have to bake). For savory things, get some dips/hummus on hand, and maybe some savory nuts/seeds like roasted pumpkin seeds, etc. You can see the softly spiced nuts recipe in ed&bv if you have time to make a batch. But again, since this time is so busy with nursing, it helps to buy some prepped items. I fared well using nut butters on toast/crackers/biscutis as well - or stirred into oatmeal, etc (as per my nut butter post a month or two back). Michelle is bang on that it is a combo of whole grains with either nuts & seeds and/or beans. The protein in these foods will help keep you full, as well as the healthy fats in the nut butters. So, when having a muffin for instance, cut it open and slather on some nut butter and have it with a glass of soy milk (if you like soy milk... if not, rice milk). That will keep you going - if not... have two! Baby needs it. I'll help with more specifics if you need it - you can e-mail me as well. I hope this helps a little, and again, sorry for the late reply... and also my biggest, warmest congratulations to you!

Robin, that's a fabulous story, and it's very common that when you start eliminating more and more animal foods, that your body has a harder time digesting them again if you go back. That's a good thing... keeps us on the path to healthier, more compassionate eating. (oh, and believe me, we all glaze over ingredients and measurements in recipes from time to time - myself included - with my OWN recipes!) :)

Michelle, thanks for all your awesome tips, and for reminding me to get my act together here. ha! You know, I haven't compared sodium on that brand vs a veggie stock in the tetra paks... I don't think they are too bad for sodium, given the bouillon cube is then diluted with much more water in the soup, and also there's usually not too much salt in the soup. I really like the flavor in the soup, but yes, if sodium is a concern for you, see if your store can bring in the low-sodium brand. Thanks again, my dear.:)

Sacha, I know... GROAN! My publisher wasn't expecting my book to sell out quite as quickly as it did. A good thing... well for those that got it early anyhow! We are waiting for the return of the second printing, which should be in early Feb. I will double check with my publisher again about the Amazon estimate and pop back here to let you know. Thanks for checking in - and your patience!

Sacha said...

Thanks for responding Dreena!
I guess I'll go ahead and just pre-order it from Amazon then anyway.
Happy New Year!

urban vegan said...

Sounds so intriguing--comforting and warming--yet summery, becuase of the lemon. I can't beleive I haven't made this recipe yet.

Roxy said...

This is weird--I just read this post right after I decided to have lemon "chicken" with lemon rice tomorrow for dinner! I do love my citrus! And this soup looks amazing!

shiny said...

aww no way! Dreena.. this looks SO SO SO completely,absolutely divine! YUM YUM!

Thanks for the inspiration. We're smack bang in the middle of summer right here in Sydney, but thanks to global warming we're getting lots of thunderstorms - what better meal to accompany the rain than soup??

I'm off to cook xxx

Lynn said...

Dreena and everyone..I hate to tell you this...but the bullion/stock powder HAS msg in it. If you see Yeast Extract as an ingredient...dont buy it. Yeast Extract is a cover for MSG...check it out.......
I have been trying for months to find a stock powder that does not contain yeast extract...(msg) keep cooking...Lynn....ps..please complain to the company regarding this false advertising.

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