I’m not sure what possessed me to do this, but the first time I made today’s Meatless Monday recipe I made it for a potluck, probably 20 years ago. Normally I contribute tried-and-true recipes to potlucks to avoid the embarrassment of a possible flop.
I’d just barely bought the book this soup came from, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. It’s a huge book—734 pages—and I randomly opened it to the page that featured this soup and decided to try it. Sometimes you have to live dangerously. Fortunately the recipe turned out to be a winner.
Unlike most vegetable soups that often have a huge variety of veggies to process, this soup is relatively quick to put together. There’s not a whole lot of chopping to do—onions, carrots, garlic, potatoes and tomatoes. The artichoke hearts and chickpeas are canned. If you can find quartered artichoke hearts all you have to do is rinse them in a colander and add them to the soup.
The soup calls for 2-4 cloves of garlic. I like to err on the side of the larger quantity, but garlic can be pesky to mince with a knife. When I need to mince garlic, ginger, shallots, parsley, cilantro or any other leafy herbs, I use a mini-chopper. I got my SEB mini-chopper as a gift 30 years ago and I still use it every week. It’s totally worth the investment, which isn’t much, around $30.
Even though there is a protein source in this soup, I like to pair it with a second protein source. The white bean purée I posted last week provides a nice complement.
Lebanese Vegetable Soup
- 1 large Spanish onion, chopped (About 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1⁄2 cups chopped carrots
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 -4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1⁄2 cups chopped potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 4 -5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 10 artichoke hearts, cut into eighths (2 14-oz cans)
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- In a large soup pot, saute the onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the carrots. Cover.
- Stir again after 3 minutes. Add the ground red pepper, coriander, and garlic. Cover and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the potatoes, salt and 2 cups of the stock.
- Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender. Be careful not to overcook them.
- Gently stir in the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and the chick peas. Salt to taste.
- Cover and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, just to heat the tomatoes.
- Add the remaining 2-3 cups of stock or even more if you prefer more broth. Heat gently.
- It is important not to overcook or boil the soup. The potatoes, tomatoes and artichokes should be heated just enough to blend the flavors or they might disintegrate.
- Sprinkle each serving with fresh parsley and garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon.