Monday, February 25, 2013

Curried Creamy Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach: Recipe Evolution

Kasha, aka, The Farm Girl Cooks, posted a link on FB to an absolutely delicious-sounding recipe on the blog Three Many Cooks called "Curried Cream of Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach". I had everything in the house to make it. Perfect lunch for these damn cold, not-quite-spring days. Then I saw just two things I would need to change. My lactose intolerance won't allow me to use that much canned evaporated milk comfortably in my own food, and adding baking soda to acidic foods tends to reduce some of the  available vitamin content. 

I thought I'd just sub some of my coconut based coffee creamer for the evaporated milk and that would allow me to skip the baking soda too, since coconut products don't curdle in the presence of acids. Done, right? Wrong. While poking in the pantry for canned chickpeas I spied a can of light coconut milk, and a jar of Thai green curry paste. Hmmmm. Different flavor profile? Going to need to follow a Thai-ish line here, so will need to check out what else I have on hand to flesh out a variation. Maybe some basil and ginger? Not even close to authentic Thai, but wonderful, filling and healthy. 

While the "bones" are the same as the original recipe --tomato puree, chickpeas and spinach, the finished product is a very different soup. The result?  A recipe evolution.A dreamy, creamy, spicy, warming soup that, if your pantry and freezer is fairly well stocked, you can make from what you have around. Don't be afraid to change up the spices or sub good stock for the milk. A good madras curry will work here too, if you have some in your spice cupboard. It's by far the best lunch I've had all week--so good the girls at work were dipping their spoons into my bowl, too. Quick and easy deliciousness.

I'd like to thank the gang over at Three Many Cooks for the inspiration, and Kasha for pointing it out. This version is vegetarian,  vegan in fact, and dairy-free and gluten free. Maybe your version will evolve this recipe another fabulous step?

Curried Creamy Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach

Curried Creamy Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach


1T safflower oil or olive oil
1 small onion, diced fine
1 T minced ginger (from a jar is fine)
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 T Thai green curry paste
1 13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (organic if possible)
1 heaping T dried basil
1T  sugar or granular Erythritol
1 14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups  baby spinach, packed, or 1 cup  frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3T minced fresh cilantro, or frozen cilantro
Kosher or sea salt


1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil until it thins and ripples, and then add the onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the heat to medium, and sauté until the onion begins to soften. stir in the green curry paste and cook for a minute longer.

2. Stir in the coconut milk and the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the basil and the sugar or erythritol, and let simmer for 5 minutes. 

3. Stir well, and then add the chickpeas and the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts, about another 3 minutes. Taste for salt, and add as needed. Stir  in the cilantro and serve.

Serves 3 - 4 

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