• 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained, reserving the liquid (called aqua fava), or 3 cups cooked
  • chickpeas and 2/3 cup aqua fava, if you have it.
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (less the reserved aqua fava)*
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped; about 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped; about 2 cups
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea or kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste (or salt substitute)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4-6 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Pepper to taste

Inspired by Molly Steven’s recipe in Food and Wine magazine.

Having made many dishes from this part of the world, Tagines being the most recognized, I know that the dishes can take a lot of ingredients, and be a bit time consuming. As Molly, the recipe creator said, “Every time I make this soup I am amazed at how the simple lineup of ingredients can come together to produce such a satisfying and gorgeous soup.” I am sharing this with you because I concur!

Although in the video I used chickpeas cooked from scratch, the recipe works beautifully with canned chickpeas. For my Instant Pot chickpeas (garbanzo beans) go to:

Serves 3-4

*Pour the reserved chickpea liquid (aqua fava) into a 4-cup measuring cup, fill the rest with water or broth. Use all broth if not using aqua fava. Set aside. Use the remaining broth for the saute, and add more to the soup if desired. 

Heat a medium size Dutch oven with the heavy bottom over medium heat. When hot add the onions. Stir and let them ‘weep’ a bit, adding a few tablespoons of broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Do this one, or two more times as onions soften and turn light golden. Add the carrots, mix, cover and cook about 3-4 minutes, adding a bit of broth to prevent sticking and over browning.  

Uncover, stir in a bit of broth to moisten and deglaze, and push the onion mixture to one side of the pan. Spoon the garlic, cumin, ginger, turmeric and cayenne into the cleared space in the pan. Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant, then add a bit of broth and stir the spices throughout the rest of the ingredients. Add the chickpeas, and stir all to blend.

Add to the pot the reserved 4 cups of vegetable broth mixture, and the salt, if using. Add a bit more broth if you like a more broth-based soup. Partially cover and bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer, covered, until the chickpeas and carrots are very tender, but chickpeas still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. 

Transfer 1 cup of chickpea mixture to a blender, making sure to get a good mix of solids and liquid.  Process until smooth, about 40 seconds.  You can use an emersion blender and a heat resistant container, like a tall measuring cup instead. Stir the mixture back into the pan of soup. Return the soup to a gentle simmer over medium.

Gradually add the spinach in batches, stirring until wilted.  Stir in the lime juice and taste, then adjust seasonings if necessary. 

Ladle into warmed bowls and enjoy with a favorite salad and crusty bread if desired.