Creamy chickpea and rice soup with kale (4-6 servings)

Look at my shiny new blog! Managing the old blog through Google/Blogger/eNom was way too complicated, so Bryan convinced me to check out  Squarespace, and I think I'm off to a good start. It's still a work in progress, but I'm happy with it so far.

Yes, it's summer in North Carolina, and no, soup is not a traditionally summery dish. However, the carrots and kale that go into the soup are in season! I've mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of chickpeas, so I'm always searching for new ways to cook them, and this creamy vegan soup from the PPK seemed like a great one to try.

Soaking and grinding up raw cashews was a new technique for me. The cashews bring richness and creaminess to the soup without adding dairy fat, and the addition of cooked rice also makes the broth thick and hearty. This one is definitely a keeper. 

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours to overnight
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into thin pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup rice, rinsed (I used Jasmine)
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced chunky
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika, opt. (lends a lovely smoky undertone) 
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups chopped or shredded kale, thick stems removed

Steps: 

  1. Once the cashews have soaked for a few hours, drain them and place them in a blender or food processor, along with a cup of fresh water. Blend the water and cashews until the mixture is completely smooth. (You might need to scrape down the sides with a spatula once or twice.)
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Sauté the onion, along with a pinch of salt, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add in the garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and sauté one more minute.
  3. Next, add in the rice, celery, carrots, and broth (and paprika, if using). Cover the pot, raise the heat, and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, lower the heat to a simmer, add the chickpeas, and allow the soup to simmer for 15 more minutes, or until the rice and carrots are cooked.  
  4. Finally, pour in the cashew cream and add in the chopped kale. Let the soup simmer another 3-5 minutes to allow the kale to wilt a bit. Add more water if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then let the soup sit for 10 minutes before serving.

In the original recipe, Isa notes that the soup gets thicker as it cools, so it might be necessary to thin out the leftovers with a bit of water. We'll see when I eat more of it for lunch today! The first batch was definitely thick last night. I struggled to get through a whole bowl; it was so delicious, but my eyes were hungrier than my stomach! This soup contains a healthy amount of both protein and fiber, and I can imagine it would be a great treat after a chilly day of shoveling snow or sledding. But for me, it was a nice way to end yet another day of unpacking and cleaning at our new apartment. (How do two people make so much laundry?!)