Chickpea soup with asparagus

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55min


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About this recipe: This filling soup is easy to make, tasty and virtually fat-free. Offer crusty bread as an accompaniment. For a main meal, serve with a little strong-flavoured cheese, which tastes very good with the soup.

Norma MacMillan

Ingredients
Serves: 4 

  • 1 can chickpeas, about 400g, drained
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 150g (5 1/2 oz) asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 170g (6 oz) soup pasta or rice-shaped pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • To garnish
  • fine strips of zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, preferably flat-leaf
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

Method
Prep:15min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:55min 

  1. Put the chickpeas, onion, garlic and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the onion is very tender and the chickpeas are falling apart. If the mixture is becoming too thick, add a little more stock or water.
  2. Ladle about one-third of the soup into a blender or food processor and purée it until it is smooth. Return the purpuréed soup to the pan and bring back to simmering point. Add the asparagus, cover the pan and cook gently for 5–6 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup with seasoning to taste.
  4. Mix together the lemon zest and parsley for the garnish. Top each bowl of soup with a small spoonful of the lemon and parsley garnish, and serve immediately, offering lemon wedges so that the juice can be added to the soup to taste.

Some more ideas

Use small broccoli florets instead of asparagus. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and the quantity in this soup will provide about one-quarter of the recommended daily intake of that vital vitamin. * There are many tiny pasta shapes for soup (called pastina in Italy). Orzo is rice-shaped; other shapes are stelline (stars), ditalini (tubes), conchigliette (shells) and farfallini (bow ties). You can also use larger pasta shapes (penne or rigatoni, for example), if you prefer. * For a spicier soup, season with cayenne instead of black pepper, or add a few drops of Tabasco sauce.

Plus points

Chickpeas, along with other pulses, are a good source of dietary fibre, particularly the soluble fibre that can help to reduce high blood cholesterol levels. * Asparagus is a rich source of many of the B vitamins, especially folate. A good intake of folate is important during the early stages of pregnancy, to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. New research suggests that folate may also have a role in helping to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Each serving provides

B1, E, niacin * B6, folate * copper, iron

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