Total time: 40 minutes || Active time: 15 minutes
See those sets of footprints in the snow? Now notice where one set disappears? That was when soup was carrying you.
It’s January (again? wtf!) in the midwest. The Christmas lights are coming down (well, they should be anyway), the Valentine’s hearts have not yet appeared, and the New Year’s Resolutions are just beginning to wobble. The only thing that’s keeping society from falling to pieces is soup!
Invite a friend over, break some bread (olive sourdough spoken here), and inhale big bowlfuls of comfort like this one. Chewy rice and succulent chickpeas, fragranced with rosemary, thyme and celery, pulled together by luscious cashew cream. And of course I throw in a little kale at the end for good measure. I chose lacinato because it holds its bite, but you, of course, can use whatever you like! Some green onions on top add another whiff of of flavor and even a hint at Springtime, which — hard to believe — is just around the corner. I promise.
~ I used red rice here, but you can use whatever you like. Just note that brown rice will have a longer cooking time, so plan accordingly.
~ A good strong broth is essential for flavor here. I recommend Better Than Boullion, No Chicken flavor if you can get your hands on it. So worth it! Especially in the winter months when you might not have any homemade.
~ If — for whatever reason — you don’t want to use cashew cream, unsweetened plain almond or soy milk will work. It doesn’t get as creamy, but it’s still yummy! Just please double and triple check that it’s unsweetened, or it’ll be awkward tasting.
3/4 cup cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours or overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 cup rice, rinsed (see note about rice)
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, diced chunky
5 cups vegetable broth
1 24 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
4 cups chopped kale
Thinly sliced green onion, for garnish
Drain the cashews and place them in a blender with one cup of fresh water. Blend until completely smooth, scraping the sides of the food processor with a spatula occasionally to make sure you get everything. This could 1 to 5 minutes depending on the strength of your blender.
Preheat a stock pot over medium heat. Saute onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and saute a minute more.
Add rice, celery and carrots and then pour in the broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer, add the chickpeas, and let cook for about 15 more minutes, until rice is cooked and carrots are tender.
Add the cashew cream and kale, and simmer until kale is wilted, 3 to 5 more minutes. You may need to add water to thin the soup if it seems too thick. Taste for salt and seasonings and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavors to marry. Serve topped with green onions.
It thickens as it cools, so if you have leftovers, just thin with a little water when you reheat.