Making Do with Soup

January 21, 2010


I read a lot of food blogs.  There are about one bazillion of them out there and many of them are not all that good.  Many of them are good.  A few of them are great.  It’s the great ones where I get inspired.  When a dish leaps off the screen, that’s when I know it is time to make it.

When I saw this soup with the chickpea croutons, I immediately started my shopping list.  I love croutons in soup and had never thought to do anything like what Allison did with chickpea flour.  Brilliant, right?  Sadly, they did not work out for me.  I take total responsibility for the fail.  I’m not sure what I did wrong – did I stir enough?  too much? – but what I got was a slab of mush on my baking sheet.

Then, panic set in.  My brother Michael was coming to dinner.  Michael is a bike racer and has a large appetite.  I knew he was coming off a long ride and would be ravenous.  I wasn’t sure the soup as written was going to fill him up and so, I improvised.  I very loosely based this soup on a recipe in a Jeanne Lemlin book (Simple Vegetarian Pleasures) but really made it my own with what I had on hand.  I was really pleased with how the soup turned out.  If you read here often, you know anything with chickpeas is a favorite of mine.  The greens along with the couscous were a really nice combination.  I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand (not even parsley!) but they would be most welcome here.  By the way, Michael left full.


The two C’s together previously on Dana Treat: Chickpeas and Chard with Cilantro and Cumin
One Year Ago:
Sicilian Eggplant Spread with Crostini

Chickpea, Chard, and Couscous Soup
Dana Treat Original
4 Servings

Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup couscous
1 large bunch chard, leaves cut off the stems and cut or torn into bite size pieces
6 cups vegetable stock
Crumbles of ricotta salata or feta cheese (for garnish)
Cherry tomatoes (for garnish)

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom.  Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme and stir for 2 minutes.  Add the chickpeas and the couscous and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to keep the couscous from sticking to the bottom.

Add the chard, in batches if need be, and stir well to combine.  Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes – enough time for the couscous to cook, the greens to soften, and the flavors to blend.  Serve in bowls topped with a crumble of cheese and a few cherry tomatoes.


  1. dana . i relish this . nothing could be better . elk

    Comment by elk — January 21, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  2. My friend Penny opens the door to some wonderful sites and yours is one I just copied the Chickpea,Chard & Couscous Soup, sounds wonderful, all my favorites in one pot. Thank you….

    Comment by Sharon Stancel — January 21, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

  3. All my favorite stuff! Chickpeas and couscous! What a yummy recipe!

    Comment by Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes — January 21, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

  4. This looks so good, I can’t get enough of chickpeas! And I usually have all the ingredients on hand.
    p.s I’m really glad I found your blog too!

    Comment by Jacqui — January 22, 2010 @ 12:03 am

  5. chickpeas usually end up in a varied indian dish of some sort for us, but now it looks like i have a new soup to try. yippee, i’m excited for your creation! it looks wonderful and i’m SUCH a fan of chard in anything hot and soupy.

    Comment by giao — January 22, 2010 @ 6:18 am

  6. Soup can be surprisingly filling, I always think! Possibly it’s the high water content that makes you feel full? And you know I like anything with feta on top, so this looks great to me :)

    Comment by Ele — January 22, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  7. To me, THIS is a great blog!

    Comment by Koek! — January 22, 2010 @ 9:18 am

  8. Your making do with soup was wondeful. Not being vegetarian I used Chicken stock and quiona instead of couscous and even my husband liked it. Thank you for sharing the recipe. We try to do meatless meals once or twice a week so I will be checking your site for more.

    Comment by Sharon — January 29, 2010 @ 12:27 am

  9. Ahhhh, Dana, I made this for dinner and knew it was a success when my husband finished his first bowl before mine cooled enough to even start. It was hearty and tasty and healthy and good on a very cold day here in Illinois. It will grace our table again and again. Thank you for another good “treat”!

    Comment by Penny — January 29, 2010 @ 5:55 am

  10. […] Tomato, Spinach and Tortellini soup, and Dana’s Chick Pea, Chard and Couscous soup ( and creamy split pea soup with homemade croutons and sometimes, like today, just a big pot of […]

    Pingback by Soup! « Lifeonthecutoff's Blog — March 10, 2010 @ 1:37 am

Leave a comment