Moroccan Chickpea and Vegetable Soup

MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes • COOK TIME: 25 minutes

I knew I was on the right track with this soup when Catherine, my scrupulous recipe tester for the past seven years, wrote the following reaction to trying it: “Nothing to say but ‘swoooooooon.'’’ Now that’s what I call positive feedback! The trick with this soup is that after I cook it, I take half of it out of the pot and blend it, and back into the pot it goes. It’s an act of culinary prestidigitation: the blending will make you think there are three cartons of cream added to the soup, but ‘tis not the case. There are plenty of brain boosters in this soup, notably the spices; curcumin has been shown to fight depression, and may play a role in the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, genes that help with memory and learning and help brain neurons function and survive.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced small
1 fennel bulb, diced small
2 stalks celery, chopped
Sea salt
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of saffron (optional)
6 cups Magic Mineral Broth or store bought organic vegetable broth
4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 (15-ounce cans), rinsed
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions, fennel, celery, and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the sweet potato and carrot and sauté another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, coriander, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and saffron and stir for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

Spritz the chickpeas with lemon juice, add a pinch of salt, and stir, then add to the pot. Add the remaining 5 1/2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Ladle 4 cups of the soup into a blender and process for 1 minute or until velvety smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into the soup and cook over low heat, just until heated through.

Stir in 4 teaspoons of lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper.

Taste; you may want to add a pinch of salt, a drop or so of maple syrup, or a squeeze of lemon juice.

Served garnished with the cilantro and mint.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.