Chickpea and sweet potato soup

It may be the middle of June, but we’re still eating soup! Having said that, unless it’s unbearable hot and steamy, we tend to eat soup all year round anyway. Why? It’s such a great way of getting even more vegetables and pulses or beans into our daily diet.

I often get asked “how can I easily increase the amount of whole plant foods I eat? My answer is to do the five following things every day:

  • Eat one or two portions of fruit with breakfast
  • Eat a salad (it doesn’t have to be big but include at least 3 ingredients)
  • Eat a portion of soup
  • Have a portion of cooked vegetables with your main meal (that doesn’t include potato!), ideally two
  • Have a handful of nuts or seeds at some point in the day. They could be added to breakfast, in the salad or as a snack

These simple changes can make a huge difference to your gut and overall health. They’re not ALL you can do for sure, but it’s a great place to start whilst your gut and body gets used to them.

Whole plant foods are filling – they include lots of fibre. This means you want to eat less of other less healthful foods. And your gut microbiome will love them! Add in some beans or pulses to the soup, salad or main meal and you’re well on your way to eating a more sustainable and healthy plant-based diet.

This soup is great for any time of the year. I love it as:

  • it’s easy to make
  • tastes gorgeous
  • contains lots of beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. This makes it good for immune and skin health
  • is a great way of using up left over chickpeas
  • comes with a lovely little spicy kick

I am a big fan of chickpeas. We eat them regularly as they’re such an adaptable ingredient. They can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner recipes. Some people even use them for baking but I haven’t gone there – yet!

One of the benefits of chickpeas is they are readily available in most supermarkets. Cooked in tins are super convenient – just make sure they’re stored in water without added sugar or salt. Discount supermarkets often stock tins at a super affordable price which makes them accessible whatever your budget. Dried chickpeas are even cheaper but then you have to take into account soaking over night and then cooking either on the hob or in a pressure cooker. The cost of electricity and your time come into play here. My best advice is use the product that enables you to eat them!

Nutritionally, chickpeas have a lot going for them. They’re high in fibre (8g per 100), have a good amount of plant protein (9g per 100g) and also contain a range of essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese and selenium (3.7 mcg/100g – that’s 75% of the daily recommended amount). Chickpeas also contain good amounts of phosphorus essential for bone health (168mg/100g) and iron (2.89mg/100g). All these figures are 100g of cooked chickpeas so reflect the amounts you will eat.

You can see from the above how one portion of this mighty pulse contributes a great range of nutrients in one go. And they’re just part of the recipe. All the other ingredients contain their own nutrient profile. As long as you consume a variety of foods throughout the day, hopefully you can see how easy it is to consume the full range of macro and micro nutrients on a plant-based diet in more than high enough amounts too.

This soup has chickpeas and sweet potato as the main ingredients – pretty obvious from the title I guess ;). It also contains some good pre-biotic onion and garlic as well as carrot and celery and a range of tasty spices. You can alter these according to your taste so make it as spicy – or not – as you like. If you can’t tolerate chilli powder, feel free to leave it out. You’ll still get flavour from the other spices, as well as the gut soothing properties of cumin. The same goes for the onion and/or garlic if you find they aggravate your gut symptoms. Modify the amount to suit how you’re feeling. Do try to include one or more of them if you can as they bring great gut benefits in the long term.

If you are a chickpea fan and want to include more into your daily diet, here are some other chickpea recipes you might like to try:

Do let me know how you get on with this tasty soup, especially if you have to amend it to suit any health challenges you have. I always aim to make my recipes as adaptable as possible to meet individual needs, so I’d love to hear what you do with it.

Chickpea and sweet potato soup

A tasty, nutritious soup suitable for any time of the year. Gluten free, low in fat and OMS friendly too.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Servings 4 portions

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot chopped
  • 1 medium stick of celery chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato peeled and chopped
  • 1 fat clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 800 ml vegetable stock*
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 gram cooked chickpea = 400g tin, drained
  • 2 tbsp fresh spinach leaves washed and roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

To serve

  • 1 tsp cold pressed flaxseed oil per bowl optional
  • 1 tsp dairy-free yoghurt per bowl optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of water in the base of a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and sweet potato. Pop on the lid and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure the veggies don't stick to the pan. Add a little more water if necessary.
  • Add the garlic and sweat for another 2 minutes.
  • Pour the stock or water into the pan along with the spices and stir well. Bring to the boil then simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • Check the sweet potato is cooked then remove from the heat for a moment. Blend with a stick blender some most of the veggies are broken down.
  • Return the pan to the heat and add half the chickpeas. Simmer for 5 minutes then blend again to breakdown the chickpeas.
  • Finally add the remaining chickpeas and spinach to the pan. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer for 2 more minutes then turn off the heat.
  • Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of dairy-free yoghurt and swirl of cold-pressed flaxseed oil if desired.

Notes

*if you can't find a vegetable stock you like or meets your needs then use water instead and add a little extra salt and pepper when seasoning.
Keyword anti-inflammatory diet, gluten free, gut health, high fibre, OMS friendly

 

 

 

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