Roast Aubergine and Red Pepper Soup with Kale and Chickpeas

It might seem a little premature for autumnal eating, but the British summer isn’t always perfect and there are times when you’ll want to take the chill out of the day, even in August. This is a very Middle Eastern inspired soup that I created for just such an occasion. It has warming, Mediterranean flavours with just a subtle hint of spice that is truly satisfying.

All of the vegetables in this, apart from the kale, are roasted for 40 minutes before making the soup. This is what gives the soup its rich and intense flavour, so don’t be tempted to skip this step. The chickpeas are also roasted, and half of them kept back to be used at the end of the dish.


Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: About 1 hour.

Gluten-Free

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Veg:

1 red pepper, deseeded and quartered

1 medium aubergine, large diced

1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered

1 can chickpeas, washed, drained and dried on a towel

4 cloves garlic, ends cut off but skins left on

50ml olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the Soup:

1 can chopped tomatoes

600ml veg stock (make sure its gluten-free)

1 tsp harissa paste

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground paprika

A small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

100ml vegan cream

100ml plant-based milk

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Topping:

2 tbsp olive oil

½ of the roasted chickpeas

3-4 curly or black kale leaves, washed, stalks removed and leaves sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Preheat the oven to gas 7/220C/425F.

Put all of the ingredients for the roasted veg into a large mixing bowl and toss until everything is coated in the oil. Now turn them out onto a large roasting tray and cook near the top of the oven for about 40 minutes, turning everything about halfway through, until the veg is slightly charred.

Remove half of the roasted chickpeas and set aside in a bowl (these will garnish the soup at the end). Also remove and discard the skins from the garlic. You will be able to just push the roasted garlic out from their skins.


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Now put the remaining roasted veg, including the garlic, into a large saucepan and heat under a medium-high flame. Add the soup ingredients, up to and including the chopped parsley, and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and blend in the pan using a hand blender (allow to cool a little if using a jug blender, and ensure steam can escape). Make sure the soup is completely smooth.

Now put the soup back on the heat and add the vegan cream and milk. Gently simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

While the blended soup is simmering you can make the topping. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan. Fry the roasted chickpeas you earlier set aside, plus the kale and the garlic, for about 4-5 minutes on a high heat. Stir often to prevent the garlic from burning. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the soup into bowls and then top with the chickpeas and kale.


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