Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup (zuppa di ceci e bietole)

My mother-in-law gave me Swiss Chard from the garden. I wanted to make a healthy soup with the chard with a legume. I had two bags of frozen chickpeas in my freezer. I searched for a recipe and came across a recipe from the Genoa area of Italy. The original recipe didn’t call for potatoes but I added them in because I love potatoes in soup, they always add an extra “heartiness”. The celery and onions also were fresh from the garden.

The recipe also called for tomato paste, which I added because I have an tube of it in my fridge that I need to use. You could replace with fresh chopped tomatoes, tomato puree or canned chopped tomatoes but would with puree or chopped tomatoes, reduce some of the water.

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup (Zuppa di ceci e bietole)

Swiss Chard 1 Bunch

Chickpeas 600g (cooked or canned)

Purple Onion 1 small

Carrots 2

Celery 2 medium size stalks

Potato 250g

Tomato paste/concentrate 1 Tablesoon

Salt 1 teaspoon

Vegetable bouillon cube 1

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Parsley Flakes 1 teaspoon

Water 5 cups (enough to almost cover the vegetables)

Olive Oil 1/4 cup (just do it- it makes the soup delicious)

In large soup pot (I used my Le Crueset), add olive oil. Chop onion, carrots, celery, turn heat medium low and add veggies, stirring occasionally. Cover. Chop potatoes. Add potatoes to veggie mix and stir. Cover. Chop Swiss chard. Add chard to veggies and potatoes, stir. Add water, look to see how much water you need, adjust to your preference. If you want a more stew-like soup, add less, for a more brothy soup, add more.

Add bouillon cube, parsley, and salt. Stir. Turn heat up til high and cover. Once boiling, let boil for a minute then turn heat to low and simmer, covered for 45 minutes. Serve piping hot with a chunk of fresh bread.

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Lentil salad with scallions, cherry tomatoes, and fried sage

The weather has been warming¬† up and the spring vegetables are coming in season in my in-laws garden. I love lentils and usually make a huge batch of them at one time then portion them and freeze them. I had defrosted 3 bags of lentils, I used two to make a lentil soup and had one bag I needed to use. I used a small portion of the lentils to make the kids “pasta e lenticche” (pasta with lentils, a typical Neapolitan dish).

For our lunch, I made a lentil salad. The fresh scallions and sage from my in-laws garden inspired me to make this salad.

Lentil Salad with Scallions, Cherry Tomatoes and Fried Sage

Brown lentils 400 grams (precooked or canned)

Scallions 1 or 2 (depending on your taste preference)

Cherry Tomatoes 10

Red pepper flakes a pinch (adjust to you taste)

Olive Oil 8 tablespoons (divided)

Balsamic Vinegar 1 tablesoon

Salt to your taste

Fresh sage – 8 leaves

Parsley Flakes Р1/2 teaspoon

In a small frying pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, low to medium heat. Wash the fresh sage and pat dry. Fry sage for a few minutes, stirring or swirling it a few times, until it becomes fragrant and crisp but not burnt.

Place lentils in on a serving plate or bowl. Wash and chop scallions, wash and chop the tomatoes into fourths, add to the lentils, add red pepper, salt, and parsley flakes. Measure out 5 tablespoons of olive oil pour over the lentils. Add balsamic vinegar to the lentils. Mix the salad. Place the fried sage leaves on top of the lentils. Serve at room temperature with fresh bread.

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