You know when you find an elusive ingredient that keeps well and then you buy kind of a lot and forget you have it until you think you’d like that cupboard space back and why do you never use this thing?
Just me? Just me with chana dal?
What is chana dal? They are baby chickpeas that have been split and polished. They’re popular in Indian cuisine, but definitely don’t need to be limited to it. They have a mild flavor and are easy on your blood sugar, even compared to other pulses.
Because they’re highly recommended on Trim Healthy Mama as part of an E (energizing) meal (moderately high in good carbs and low in fat), I bought three bags when I found it. Three LARGE bags. Two of which are still intact, because there’s a lot of volume in each!
Why haven’t I been using it? Well, partly because I keep forgetting, and partly because it needs to be presoaked, and I don’t plan that well in advance. But… I’ve been learning.
So here is my latest creation, Chana Veggie Soup. In theory, you could make this soup with a different kind of legume such as split peas or whole chickpeas, but if you can find chana dal, do give it a try.
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Ready? Let’s get cooking! (Notes and tips follow the recipe.)
Chana Veggie Soup — THM E
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The night before:
1/2 pound of dry chana dal — cover generously with water and add about 1 teaspoon baking soda. Let sit at least seven hours. More is fine.
In the morning:
Dump the soaked chana dal into a colander and rinse.
In a large soup pot, place the following, and let it come to a boil and then simmer even as you add the remaining ingredients.
• 6-8 cups fat-free ham broth or chicken broth*
• the soaked, rinsed chana dal
• 1/2 cup chopped onion**
• 1 cup chopped celery**
• 2 cups diced potatoes (golden or red preferred)
• 2 cups shredded carrots
• 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
• 2 cups (or 14-ounce can) tomato pieces
• 1 cup frozen peas
• 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
• 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste (depending on your ham broth!)
• 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp liquid smoke ***(optional)
• 1 tsp summer savory****
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
• 2-3 bay leaves
Combine, stir, and simmer for at least 90 minutes. Longer is fine. Add water or broth if it’s too thick. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.
I’d like to point out that I did not measure the vegetables, and you don’t need to, either. Just guess somewhere close.
This soup is fairly carbohydrate dense, which means (in THM) you don’t actually have an allowance left for a piece of toast. It’s also fat free, so I suggest adding a teaspoon of butter or coconut oil to your bowl, since a little fat (five grams max) is recommended.
*Ham broth. I learned to make homemade soups at my mother’s knee, and I love ham-based soup more than chicken or beef. It is especially delicious with anything beany. I always buy bone-in ham if I can. I’ll remove as much of the meat as possible before covering the remaining bone and fat with water and simmering overnight. Then I strain the broth (discarding the gristle and bones and setting aside any meat) and refrigerate until the fat congeals on top. I throw away the congealed fat and now have an FP ham broth that’s low in fat and naturally carb-free. Adding the meat back in will add fat and render it an S (for satisfying, or fat meal), which is sometimes fine, but I was looking for a full E soup this time around.
If you do not have ham broth, use fat-free chicken broth and add a little extra liquid smoke.***
**Onions/Celery: if you have a frozen seasoning blend of onions, celery, and peppers, feel free to use an equivalent amount. I always just chop as I go.
***Liquid smoke. This amps up the smoked ham flavor, but it’s not necessary. I would definitely use it for this recipe if I were using chicken broth, though. It adds a rounded flavor profile. A little bottle goes a long way — ask at your grocery store.
****Summer savory. You can buy this in your store’s herbs and seasonings aisle. It completely makes the flavor of this soup, and I don’t recommend skipping or substituting. Go buy some! It’s cheap, it doesn’t take up much room, and it lasts forever.
I hope you give Chana Veggie Soup a try, and let me know what you think.
Love reading fiction? How about Christian romance? Raindrops on Radishes features a plus-size heroine in a battle for her backyard with the extremely fit urban farmer next door! (Psst: her journey to health is based on Trim Healthy Mama…)
Chana Veggie Soup is a meal the heroine, Sadie, would enjoy in her Trim Healthy Mama journey to health!
Please Note: I am not an authorized Trim Healthy Mama coach or blogger, although I play one in fiction…