Soup To Make All Your Dreams Come True


Close-up of a young woman with bowl of soup

It's that good.

This soup kicks butt and takes names. It is the answer to most of what is wrong in your life. It will make you clutch at your bosom and roll your eyes heavenward, thanking God in Heaven that on the eighth day He created this soup. It may even make you thin, rich and famous, though I can't be responsible for all of that.

It's pretty darned good.

Before I start though, let's have a quick word about two important items in the flexitarian's pantry: vegetable stock and nutritional yeast.

First, vegetable stock. I'm going to be honest here, I'm not a fan. I've never met a veggie stock that could compete with good, old-fashioned chicken stock for depth and flavor. I can't help it. I know this makes me a traitor to the veggie world, but there it is. Most veggie stocks, in my experience, are watery, or excessively salty, and extremely underwhelming.


Three of my four teenagers will no longer eat anything with chicken broth in it at all. So, I've found a pretty good compromise. Here's what I do:

I use veggie stock for the liquid, but at the very end of cooking broth-based dishes, I stir in 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast. And that is Item Number Two that I think is vital in a flexer's pantry. Nutritional yeast looks like yellow mashed potato flakes, and it's sold in Whole Foods and other hippy-granola-earth-mother type stores. (I love hippy-granola-earth-mother anything.) Nutritional yeast melts easily into hot food and adds an element to your recipe that's a cross between cheesy and meaty. It makes up for that indefinable something (flavor, perhaps?) that goes missing when you use plain vegetable stock. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and is very high in B vitamins.

Having said all of that, I really prefer this soup with chicken stock. You, of course, may do as you please.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program. Without further ado:

Garlic, Chickpea and Spinach Soup

2 TBSP dark sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 tsps ground cumin
2 tsps ground coriander
5 C vegetable or chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
1 TBSP cornstarch
2/3 C half & half
7 oz fresh spinach, shredded
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C Nutritional Yeast

I know what some of you are saying, at this point. "I don't HAVE coriander... or sesame oil... or enough ground cumin..."


Have you ever been on one of those recipe sharing sites where recipe users can rate and review the dishes they've tried? There's always someone who subs or leaves out half the ingredients, then posts a scathing review about the sheer badness of the recipe. Let's not be like those people, huh? I give you permission right now to grab the car keys, jump in the family truckster, and make a run to HEB or Publix or even the local Stop-n-Rob to buy what you need. Or call your neighbor and raid her spice cupboard. However you do it, make the recipe chapter and verse the first time. After that I give you permission -- I'm a mom, I love to give permission -- to change it up any old way you choose. But the first time is sacred.

OK, onward.

Now you have every ingredient you need. Good for you! Here's what we're going to do with them:

  • Heat the sesame oil in a heavy 4 qt Dutch oven.
  • Over medium-high heat, sautee the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. You want them nice and soft and juuuuusssst starting to brown a little around the edges.
  • Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for another minute, until the spices smell so good your eyes start to cross.
  • Pour in the stock and add the chopped potatoes.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fairly soft, but not falling apart.
  • Add the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  • Blend together the cornstarch and half & half. Stir this into the soup with the spinach.
  • Bring this to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 2 minutes or so.
  • Season well with cayenne, salt, and pepper.

You can serve this in pretty bowls with crusty bread, but you'll probably just want to stand over the stove all afternoon and eat it straight out of the pot with a spoon. Go ahead. I'll never tell.

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