Friday, May 20, 2011

Middle Eastern Flavored Chickpea and Tomato Soup with Spinach

Thursday was another rainy, grey and dreary day in the mid-Atlantic. It was another day best spent inside which is exactly what I choose to do. Being inside gave me another opportunity to get caught up on my out of control to-do list. I never seem to get as much accomplished as I would like to but at least I made progress.

Due to the dreary weather I decided that soup was a good idea for dinner and here is what I made:

Middle Eastern Flavored Chickpea and Tomato Soup with Spinach
Serves 6-8 depending on your appetite


2 cups dried garbanzo beans
9 cups water
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
32 ounces diced tomatoes
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 large red onion, peeled and finely minced
4 additional cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
10 ounces of frozen chopped spinach

Spices to taste: (in other words I didn’t measure…sorry)

zatar (thyme and sesame seeds)
freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients to finish:

1 lemon, zested and juiced
parsley, minced
cilantro, minced


Combine the garbanzos, water, bay leaves and first 4 garlic cloves and cook until the beans are tender. I pressure cooked my beans.

Add the remaining ingredients except the toppings and cook until the onions are tender. Add the spices according to your taste. Be sure to cook the soup at least 15 minutes after you add the spices so that the flavors have time to marry.

Finish the soup with lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and cilantro and serve. If you want to make this more substantial than you can add some cooked bulgur to the bottom of the bowl before serving. You could also top this with cashew crème fraiche to mimic yogurt which is often used in Middle Eastern food.

Nutritional Information:

Sorry I didn’t have time to run the numbers on the soup. However like all my food this recipe is healthy.

Blog direction:

You may have noticed that I haven’t been cooking very much lately and that is because I am too busy. My meals have been very simple, lots of salad, soup and fruit which is why I haven’t been focusing on them. I don’t feel as though there is much value in discussing fairly simple food. I know other bloggers post the same foods over and over again that doesn’t appeal to me.

Until I have more time to get back into the kitchen regularly I am not sure what I am going to be posting. So I wanted to toss the question out to all of you. What would you like me to write about? Is there any topic or question you had it mind? Alternately would you like me to take a hiatus from writing until I am back in the kitchen?

I have some book reviews that I can write, and I have a few questions that I received by email or comments. Other than that I am not sure what to write about currently. I suppose that I could get myself back into the kitchen but that isn’t possible due to time constraints at the moment. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

Happy thoughts:

• It is good to be able to cross a few more things off my to-do list. Being extremely behind schedule makes me nervous so I am feeling a little better today after my two productive days this week.

• On Friday I veganized a lobster tandoori which turned out extremely well. I really love this recipe and can’t wait to share it with you and to hear what Dan thinks about it. If you enjoy Indian food I am fairly sure you will enjoy this and it is made from easy to find ingredients. I may run some by Ian to see if he has any suggestions … but it is really good as is. *woo hoo*

• Friday the weather has started to change and we actually had a little sunshine today. I was able to open the windows and let some fresh air which was wonderful. The felines have been enjoying relaxing in the windows all day. I love to watch them smell the fresh air and have their fur blow in the breeze.

• I am sorry to say that Dan needs to go into the office this weekend to work. If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I am not happy that Dan is working. However I am going to view this as an opportunity to get more things done and home so that I am feeling less stressed out about my growing to-do list. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, in the 80’s in fact. I plan to start my morning with a nice walk through the neighborhood before I start working on my to-do list. I am determined to make the most of Saturday.

Signing Out:

You will not be too surprised to hear that we are going out to dinner tonight. That seems to have become a Friday tradition with us. The weather is gorgeous and we love to hang out on the patio when that happens. Tonight is Corey’s last night at the restaurant and both Dan and I are very sad to see him leave. However we realize 14 years is a long time to be anywhere so we also understand. You know we had to be there tonight to say good bye, and hopefully it will be more of a see you soon.  Corey is such a great guy I am really going to miss him.  :-(

It is time for me to clean up the kitchen, figure out what I am going to wear tonight, and make myself presentable. Talk to you again tomorrow when I will be back with the tandoori tofu recipe. Happy Friday! I hope you have some fun planned for the weekend.


  1. Well...since you asked.

    What I would like is an easier means to search your recipes. Some of your best stuff is sandwiched between other topics and is not referenced in your header. If I don't remember when you posted it, I can't seem to find it.

    That said, I have no idea how you would go about doing that.

  2. Susan,

    When I am looking for one of my recipes I use the search this blog box and type in variations of what I think I called it or you can always use "beans, tofu, whatever works". That usually uncovers the recipe I am looking for fairly quickly. Have you tried that? Did my instructions make sense? I considered putting a recipe index up but that would take a crazy amount of time because of the number of recipes on the blog which is something that I don't have at the moment.

    I hope that helped,

  3. Please don't stop posting! Your blog is daily inspiration for me to keep eating healthily, even if it's just simple food. I don't really have suggestions for what else you should write about (if you are tired of posting the same food over and over)... I'd love to read book reviews or restaurant reviews (even though I'm on the other side of the country), or anything, really!

  4. I'd love to keep reading your posts on current health/diet/science/lifestyle books. Your opinions mean alot, so my reading list on health topics generally follow your recommendations.

    I'd also like to see a page or a post(s) on "Battle Plan for the Newly Diagnosed" or some similar topic. So I've got cancer, now what? Are there key books you'd recommend? Kind of a summarized "lessons learned" from your recent years.

    I really enjoy your blog and will keep reading it with or without frequent recipe postings.

  5. Maybe you could do a "greatest hits" or "retro (whatever)day" -- where you showcase recipes that were particular favorites, or maybe seasonal recipes, or particular techniques? You wouldn't have to create new recipes, just draw attention to ones you want to highlight for whatever reason.

    I also love to read book reviews and information on nutrition. Plus, you are fun and interesting!

  6. i'm new, but i'm already inspired! i like the "greatest hits" idea, so i can catch up ;)

  7. NO - don't go on hiatus from blogging. Anything you write I want to read!

    I love book/cookbook/diet reviews, health information, how to eat vegan and healthy-ish at restaurants, etc.

    Just your daily living and healthy lifestyle information is SO ABSOLUTELY INSPIRATIONAL to me!



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