I Have a Zero Waste Obsession Right Now
I will never stop cooking chickpeas and now that I know about chickpea stock, I will be making soup twice a week in perpetuity. These two recipes (my favorite chickpeas + any soup from their cooking liquid) scratch the waste nothing itch that I suffer from on a daily basis.
My obsession with wasting nothing and saving water stems from my youth, when during the summer months our well water was sometimes so low that my dad would send me on sleepovers so that I could use my friend’s shower. Yeah, it was real. So now, when I see someone leaving the water running as they brush their teeth or running the faucet for 5 minutes to get hot water, I have to quickly leave before I have a mini panic attack. That kind of water use is so normal, but not something I can bring myself to do. Washing my face in hot water from the sink?! What am I, a queen? I’m in and out of that sink, using as little cold water a possible. (I’m obviously very laid back and super easy to live with.)
Of course my water conservation efforts at home are very present in the kitchen as well. I will always offer my clean(ish) water to a house plant or garden plant. This is why it’s hard for me to help friends keep plants alive – when they ask how often I water a plant, my answer is… ummm, there’s a rotation linked to my vegetable-washing schedule that I’m not even totally aware of. But why not?! Water is a precious resource and with all the predictions of water wars in the near future, I’m proud to be practicing mini conservation tactics at home. Be it canning summer fruit, washing farmers’ market finds, cleaning salad greens or soaking something overnight- I will give that water a second life and quench the thirst of a plant I love.
That’s why saving the chickpea cooking liquid appeals to me so much. I can turn water that was too salty and starchy to give to a plant, into a delicious meal! The shelter in place / quarantine orders have pushed my thrifty tendencies to a new level and the depression era housewife in me loves an opportunity to turn trash into treasure. So I’ve been coming up with a new soup every week. Because the broth is so good and ready to go as is, the soups are really fast to make and require very little additional seasoning and bother. This week, I added fresh basil to finish, to permeate the broth with it’s aroma. Really any herb can work, and if you don’t have fresh herbs, the soup was already good before the basil went in! So it’s really the idea thing to make in a pinch, as you can easily substitute any of the veggies you need. I think these chickpea soup recipes are really more about the technique than they are about the specific ingredients – there’s endless room for variation.
Best beans for a stock
So far, I’m finding the light colored chickpeas work best to develop a soup stock because they produce such a beautiful clear broth, which is great for a general stock use. Black beans will produce a very dark thick pot licker, so I think if you’re going the black bean route, just lean into it and have that recipe be a black bean soup. You can strain out a few cups of beans to use for burritos and protein bowls, and keep a portion with broth and beans to throw together a lovely soup garnished with avocado and cilantro (what a dream!) As I’m living in Bangkok at the moment, I’m limited in my ability to source a wide variety of beans. I imagine any light colored bean will lend itself well to a stock, so I am on the lookout for some navy beans or white beans to try next. The trick to getting a nice clear stock is to not overcook your beans. So checking on them from time to time is important.
Recipe: Vegetable Soup with Chickpea Stock (Vegan)
½ quart chickpea stock (Best Ever Chickpeas recipe)
½ cup kabocha squash
¼ cup carrots
¼ cup shredded cabbage
¼ cup cooked chickpeas (Best Ever Chickpeas recipe)
2 teaspoons cilantro root or stems, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Chili flakes, large pinch (sub. Black or white pepper)
2 teaspoons neutral cooking oil
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
¼ cup Fresh basil (Thai or sweet basil)
1 Tablespoon Green onion
Wash and prep all vegetables. Cut kabocha squash into 1 inch cubes, shred the cabbage, and slice the carrots into a fairly uniform cut of your choice. Mince the garlic and cilantro stems, slice the spring onion.
Add your neutral cooking oil, chili flakes, garlic and cilantro stems to a medium sized sauce pan, and turn the heat to medium. Sauté for a few minutes, until the aromatics become really fragrant and your kitchen starts to smell delicious. Then add your ½ cup kabocha squash and ¼ cup carrot and a pinch of salt. Sauté this for 1-2 minutes. Add the ½ quart chickpea stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, checking your vegetables for doneness from time to time. You shouldn’t need to simmer longer than 5 minutes.
When your squash and carrot are almost cooked, add your ¼ cup shredded cabbage and ¼ cup cooked chickpeas. Bring to the boil and add 1-teaspoon light soy sauce. Add your basil, and boil for around 30 sec – 1 minute. Remove from heat and taste to adjust seasoning.
Garnish with fresh spring onion and enjoy!