I'll be 57 at the end of the month and I just found out I'm a "foodie"! (up until a month ago I never knew this word existed). I grew up in an Italian American family, hearing things like: you a sick? you eat, you a happy? you eat, you a sad? you eat, you a ANYTHING? YOU EAT! So, any time a picture of food pops up on my screen I have to check it out then I'll say "I'm going to make this next". No baking, just cooking, there's too much of a science to baking almost like a pharmacist.  With cooking it's a feel and a taste, "here taste this ya think it needs more salt?"

Where will I be this afternoon? The kitchen, of course, because a picture of Chickpea Minestrone Soup hit me in the face this morning on vegetariantimes.com. See the recipe below and I will report on the outcome later.

This Italian-grandma-inspired soup gets a boost of healthful protein from cooked chickpeas.
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1¼ cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 ¼ cups (6 oz.) ditalini pasta
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more thinly shredded basil for garnish
  • 6 Tbs. Parmesan cheese, for serving, optional

1. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes, or until softened. Add carrots and celery, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, add thyme sprigs, and cook 2 minutes more.

2. Smash 1/2 cup chickpeas with back of a fork to form paste. Add smashed and whole chickpeas, broth, and 2 cups water to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes. Add ditalini and basil, and cook 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Thin soup with broth or water (if necessary), and adjust seasoning. Remove thyme sprigs, and serve garnished with shredded basil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese (if using).


Now, I ask if you would post your favorite recipe. At the end of the month I'll have a non bias employee from Townsquare Media pick a winner and you will get front page on our website, plus bragging rights!

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