Saturday, January 19, 2013

Parsnip-Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas

While looking for interesting soup ideas for this week, the Smitten Kitchen recipe for Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas was too beautiful to pass up.

Roasted chickpeas are quickly becoming something I want to eat all the time. They’re great in salads and make a good snack, but I’d never heard of anyone putting them in a soup before. It’s just another of the many great ideas that typify Del Perelman’s blog.

The embellishments of this soup are like deconstructed hummus. First, there are the chickpeas, which Perelman spiced with cumin, although I chose instead to use smoked paprika.

Then there’s the tahini “dollop,” a mix of tahini, water and lemon juice that displays a curious kind of kitchen alchemy when you mix it together. Separately, these three ingredients are quite runny, but when combined, they make a remarkably thick paste. I’m not quite sure why this happens, but it’s cool to watch.

Besides the smoked paprika, my more significant deviation from the original recipe was to swap out half the carrots for parsnips, which makes the soup a little less vibrantly orange but adds a different flavor.

Parsnip-Carrot Soup with Tahini and Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted from Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas, Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Chickpeas:
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. smoked paprika

Pita Triangles:
3 large pitas, cut into 8 equal wedges
Olive oil
1 tbsp. za’atar (a middle eastern spice blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds and salt—may substitute those ingredients if you don’t have za’atar)

Parsnip-Carrot Soup:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. parsnips, peeled, quartered and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
1 1b. carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces (quarter any particularly thick carrots before chopping)
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, diced
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
¼ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

Tahini Sauce:
3 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. water
Salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, olive oil, salt and smoked paprika. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil for easy clean up) and roast until chickpeas as dry and crispy, about 15-20 minutes. Stir chickpeas about halfway through to promote even roasting.

2. While the chickpeas cook or just afterwards, make the pita triangles. Spread the cut pitas evenly on a baking sheet. Spray or brush with olive oil then sprinkle with za’atar. Bake until brown around the edges, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add parsnips, carrots, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin and red pepper flakes, and sauté until they begin to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Add broth, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat and then cover to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

4. While the soup cooks, make the tahini sauce. Combine tahini, lemon juice, water and salt in a small ball. Whisk to combine (and watch the magic of these runny ingredients quickly becoming thick).

5. Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of tahini sauce, a handful of crisped chickpeas and a sprinkle of chopped parsley with pita triangles on the side.


  1. Thanks! It was really good. I think you'd like it.

  2. This was a great soup. Roasted chickpeas -- genius.

  3. I love roasted chickpeas. They are fantastic. I have some ideas for other ways to use them.