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Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

After keeping myself on a leash for a while I finally joined Swap-bot late last year. I already told you about some food-related swaps in my previous Weekend Cooking post. Today I want to talk about another one: the Cookbook Challenge #1, hosted by Carmen of the Gastronomery Group. Like many of us she has several under-used cookbooks and she wants to tackle them with the help of fellow swappers. She made the challenge vegan-friendly so of course I had to join — never mind that I have a pile of books of my own… ;)

For this first ‘cookalong’ Carmen chose some recipes out of Modern Moroccan by Ghillie Basan and posted them on the group blog. The idea was for us to choose one recipe, test it, document it and send the (virtual) results to our swap partners; in my case our hostess herself. So Carmen, here’s my pick!

Cinnamon-scented chickpea and lentil soup

Serves 4-5.

Ingredients

Preparing Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

Don’t let the long list scare you: it’s not as much as it seems and most of these ingredients are fairly common in a foodie household. If you look at the preparations you’ll see this recipe is a breeze!

  • 1.5-2 tbsp olive oil (see my tweak among the modifications below)
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (djahé)
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (kunjit)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
  • 80 gr brown or green lentils, washed (I used Puy lentils)
  • 950 ml vegetable stock or boiling water & 2 bouillon cubes
  • 400 gr can cooked chickpeas (265 gr drained)
  • 150 gr cooked broad beans (I used 175 gr frozen peas)
  • small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt ‘n pepper to taste

Preparation

Chopping cilantro & flatleaf parsley for Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until soft.
  2. Stir in the spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron), tomatoes and sugar.
  3. Add the lentils and pour in the vegetable stock or water and stock cubes.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender (check the instructions on the package).
  5. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and beans and bring back to boil, cover again and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix in the fresh herbs and season to taste.

Serve hot!

Modern Moroccan Cinnamon-scented Chickpea & Lentil Soup

Mr Gnoe and me enjoyed this soup on a cold February night accompanied by (store-bought) bake-off buns and couscous salad.

Couscous Salad

The result?

I only made half of the original recipe on the Gastronomery Cookbook Challenge #1 page and that was amply sufficient for four diners. Especially served with accompaniments like ours. This soup is already plant-based (and chock-full of proteins!) so no veganizing was needed, but still the recipe got slightly tweaked.

  • I took the easy route and used a 400 grams can of chickpeas (= 265 grams drained) instead of dried beans that would have needed to be soaked overnight.
  • Dried broad beans are not commonly available over here (although it’s not impossible to get them in a city like Utrecht) so I had wanted to use frozen but forgot to add them to my grocery list. So I took 175 grams garden peas from my freezer stash instead. Together with the chickpeas that roughly summed up the 400 grams of cooked beans I needed.
  • I made vegetable stock with one bouillon cube instead of two and spiced it up with salt and pepper at the end. I’m still not sure whether I’d use two cubes anyway next time… (if there is a next time?)
  • I didn’t use olive oil for frying the onions but used leftover sunflower oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil.
  • The original recipe said to fry the onions for about 15 minutes… It took me 2-3 to get them soft. ;) If you’re supposed to caramelize the onions then 10-15 minutes would be right but it just says “until soft” so I believe the time publicized to be an errata.
  • I added one celery stalk, just because it was lying around in the fridge. Not necessary at all.

Has the Jury reached its verdict?

This chickpea-lentil soup is certainly a hearty dish, but it didn’t tickle my taste buds. I’ve had bean and lentil soups before, some of which were much more special.

I couldn’t discern a specific Moroccan flavour and I don’t think using broad beans would’ve changed that. Do you? Maybe adding a spice blend like ras el hanout would be a good idea; there’s a recipe for that in the book -and on the Gastronomery blog- as well. But I also just can’t appreciate the combination of multiple legumes: lentils and chickpeas and peas. I do like vegan harira (Moroccan/Algerian chickpea-lentil soup), but this modern version is too much of a mismatch mishmash for me.

So. If you’ve had these kinds of soups before, this recipe is not very exciting. But if you haven’t – this is a good place to start! Common ingredients and little work bring a filling winter stew to the table.

Further ruminations

Blogging pal Uniflame also participated in Cookbook Challenge #1 and got me for a swap partner. She tried the Casablancan couscous with roasted summer veggies and shared her version of the recipe on She Likes Bento. In winter I regularly make oven-roasted root vegetables but I always forget to do something alike in summer. Gotta remember!

February has been a super busy month so I didn’t get around to cooking two other recipes from Modern Moroccan that I like. So there are still a vegan version of grilled sweet zucchini with spices and harissa on the menu.

Now if you feel like trying another Moroccan soup, how about this sesame soup recipe I posted before?

- – – – -

Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Amelishof organic CSA week 43, 2012

Lots of C’s in this week’s CSA haul. Elstars, leek and salad greens rich with vitamin C, and carrots, corn salad and cilantro starting with it… No-one’s laughing, I know. ;)

  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Corn salad
  • Leek
  • Elstar apples
  • Fennel

My fridge is pretty full with open tins, leftovers and even more vegetables, so here’s my plan to use up as much as possible.

Menuplan Friday October 26th  – Tuesday 30th

  • Noodles with leftover takeaway garlic tofu from Soy with additional vegetables (carrot, leek, yellow pepper, borlotti beans) and mushrooms. [Friday]
  • Pea soup (freezer stash), pasta salad with leftover avocado pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, Caesar salad (dressing from La Dolce Vegan! p.93), bread and dip. [Saturday - DEXTER DATE]
  • Leek & potato soup with cilantro (La Dolce Vegan! p.109), tasty tempeh chili for NVV-forum La Dolce Vegan! cookbook challenge (p.163) and bread.
  • Potato salad with avocado pesto, balsamic vinegar, onion and sun-dried tomatoes, coconut-carrot soup with cilantro (La Dolce Vegan! p.112 half recipe).
  • Fennel salad with tomato, basil and olives, roasted sweet dumpling pumpkins stuffed with Gyro seitan from my new Terry Hope Romero cookbook Vegan Eats World (p.54 & 253), leftover dill sauce.

Last night I went to the Terry Hope Romero cooking demo, Q&A and book presentation of Vegan Eats World (more about that soon). We got to taste the gyro seitan with creamy cashew sauce and a banana-chocolate ‘cheesecake’. Both were awesome so I bought the book and put the seitan on the menu right away! It’s my first time making seitan, so fingers crossed…

Gyro seitan with creamy cashew sauce by Terry Hope Romero

Banana Chocolate "Cheesecake"  by Terry Hope Romero

I’ve got a lot of vegetables left over in my fridge, so it’s time for some serious menu planning!

Amelishof CSA vegetables week 43

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 43, 2011

Last week’s veggies:

  • red Batavian lettuce
  • cilantro
  • pointed paprika
  • (Batavian) endive
  • leek
  • celery

Amelishof CSA vegetables week 44

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 44, 2011

This week’s greens:

  • pumpkin
  • lollo bionda lettuce
  • Elstar apples
  • parsley
  • kohlrabi
  • green beans

Menu plan Wednesday November 2nd – Tuesday 8th

You’ll even find vegetables on the menu from my CSA loot further back!

  • Wednesday: eating out with birthday boy @variomatic in Hotel de Goudfazant (Amsterdam)
  • Thursday (Mr Gnoe’s piano night): leek-fennel soup (veganized version of Vega Gerechten p.134) & veggie dog with greens
  • Friday: spicy sweet potato soup, chili con ‘carne’ tacos and fennel-orange salad with black olives (Vega Gerechten p.150 & 179)
  • Saturday: Indonesian dinner! Osèng-osèng kohlrabi, sambal goreng tofu & green beans with white rice (Vegetarisch Indonesisch Kookboek p.50 & 94)
  • Sunday (Dexter-5 Night with Elsje): garlic-Jerusalem artichoke soup, garlic or rosemary bread from Vlaams Broodhuys, 2 types of hummus (red beet & pumpkin), cooking pears and red beet salad with walnuts and balsamico (Vega Gerechten p.81, 61 & 188)
  • Monday: Ethiopian lentil dish (cutting from Leven, lente 2011) with ‘faux sour creme‘ (La Dolce Vegan!), pita bread and kohlrabi salad (Groentegerechten p.32) OR Indonesian leftovers with nasi goreng
  • Tuesday: eating @ mother-in-law’s

What to do? Deze week zitten er kapucijners in onze groentetas! Ja, dat schrijf je met een k, niet met een c ;) Ik ben er eigenlijk niet zo dol op en heb dan ook geen creatieve ideeën (wel met een c) voor verwerking :\ Ach, van die melige ballen uit blik zijn natuurlijk iets heel anders dan zo vers uit de peul! Ik verwacht in ieder geval meer bite ;)

Toevalligerwijze staat er voor komende dagen al een van onze all-time favourites op het menu: frijoles (mexicaanse bonen), dus ik denk dat we de kidneybeans uit blik maar vervangen door deze verse bonen. Of het wordt een combinatie. Gedeelde vreugd is dubbele vreugd dus ik zal het recept hiervoor spoedig posten :) Het is gebaseerd op een gerecht van Eethuis Iris in Eindhoven.

Verder in de tas:

  • kropsla
  • prei
  • courgettes
  • venkelknol
  • bos koriander

Met de rest van de groentes maken we waarschijnlijk nog een maaltijd uit een, inmiddels aardig beduimeld, kookboekje van Eethuis Iris: Heerlijke vegetarische menu’s. Hoe klinkt dit: preiquiche, gebakken courgette met zonnebloempitjes, Napolitaanse witte bonen en venkel-tomatensalade? Alsof het op de tas van deze week is uitgezocht!

I had a nice crunchy summer salad for lunch today!

Bento #58 contained:

Lower tier

  • summer fruit (cherries & raspberries)
  • scrambled eggs with tomato and shallot (this sweet type of onion fits the egg dish really well)
  • homemade tzatziki
  • whole-wheat croutons and chermoula dressing both for the summer salad

Upper tier

  • Romaine leaves
  • homegrown bean sprouts
  • radishes
  • tomato
  • basil

A perfect bento to start the week with! And to end the month, since I’ll be working at home tomorrow.

The tzatziki came out really well so fortunately there was no need for Gnoe’s tips against garlic breath ;)

The chermoula dressing was a diluted version of our freshly made coriander chermoula for the Moroccan carrot soup we ate this weekend. I promise to post all recipes some other day :)

Bento #29

So here’s the bento I took yesterday on my first day back to work. I tried to extend my holiday spirit by taking tabbouleh salad, fresh mint for tea and a mix of nuts that came all the way from Cappadocia in Turkey: roasted chick peas, apricot seeds and almonds coated in honey and sesame seeds. Yummy! I also added some dried cranberries.

But I took some other stuff as well: a La vache qui rit cheese wedge, cherry tomatoes, Japanese peas and kiwi (peeled and sliced in the morning) with some lemon juice on the side.

Another way of keeping my holiday near is reading Dance with Death by Barbara Nadel. It’s a thriller set in Cappadocia and I bought it on site ;) Thankfully we didn’t find any dead bodies in the caves we visited!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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