This simple and nutritious soup would be a lovely, light starter for your next holiday meal.
For the Chickpeas
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 T. olive oil
1.5 T. Old Bay seasoning
For the Soup
3 T. olive oil
4 heaping cups chopped celery (approximately 1 bunch or 10 stalks)
1 large onion, chopped
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
½ cup raw cashews
1/8 t. nutmeg, freshly grated
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Celery leaves, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dry the chickpeas very well with paper towels. Toss the chickpeas with the oil and seasoning until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, shaking the pan after 30 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy.
2. Add the oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onions and white beans and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened but not browned. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add vegetable broth and cashews and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until the cashews are tender.
4. Add the nutmeg and using a stick blender, blend the soup until completely smooth. Alternatively, you can puree the soup in small batches in a blender or food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with crunchy chickpeas and celery leaves.
• Prepare the chickpeas up to one day ahead and store in an airtight container once cool.
• For a completely smooth and silky soup, pour the puree through a fine sieve.