When you’re feeling under the weather or just in need of some warmth and comfort, chicken noodle soup is the go-to meal. But what if you don’t eat chicken? Does that mean you should miss out on all the homey, rustic flavors that a bowl of chicken noodle soup offers? We say no.
Here’s how we do it:
- Chickpeas: Chicken adds flavor to soup, yes, but it also adds plenty of filling protein. For our vegetarian version, we swap in two cans of chickpeas to round out the dish and make it more of a full meal. Plus, “chickpea” sounds similar to “chicken,” so it’s a win-win.
- Nutritional yeast: Whether you’re vegan or not, nutritional yeast should be an ingredient you stock in your pantry. It’s a deactivated form of yeast, like you would find in bread, but it’s basically a magical ingredient that adds a savory, slightly cheesy flavor to a wide range of foods (we highly suggest you put it on popcorn). Not only does it add a boost of umami in this dish, but its bright yellow flavor slightly mimics the saturated color that chicken noodle soup might have.
- Mirepoix: Making a mirepoix, or the classic flavor base of onions, carrots, and celery sauteed in oil or butter, is the first step in many hearty soups and stews, and this recipe is no exception. With each bite of chickpea noodle soup, both the flavors and aromas of the mirepoix will remind you of the classic chicken version. Adding bay leaves and chopped thyme with the vegetables further bolsters this soup’s cozy flavor profile.
- Don’t skip simmering: A pro of making this soup vegetarian is that it’s quicker, as you don’t have to wait for the chicken to cook through. However, we incorporate about 10 minutes of simmering time before adding the pasta to ensure that the chickpeas become tender and the flavors are fully developed.
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“I do not miss the chicken,” Ashley says. “These chickpeas are so tender, they offer a good, substantial amount of protein in here. Because of that nutritional yeast, it’s just a very well rounded bowl of soup.”
Next time you’re craving a healing bowl of soup, look to your pantry, not the butcher counter. Staples like nutritional yeast, canned chickpeas, vegetable broth, and a few key vegetables will give Campbell’s (or even your grandma’s) chicken noodle soup a run for their money.