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A quick and easy vegetarian Tunisian chickpea soup flavored with onion, cumin, garlic, and lemon juice. [Photograph: Mollie Katzen]

In her new cookbook, The Heart of the Plate, Mollie Katzen shares many recipes for vegetarian soups and stews. None are as beguilingly simple as her version of Tunisian lablabi, a straightforward chickpea soup. Mostly chickpeas and their cooking liquid, the soup is accented by a sautéed onion, a bit of ground cumin, minced garlic, and a few squeezes of lemon juice. You won't even need a shopping list.

Why I picked this recipe: Bean soups are some of my favorite fall dishes, and the ease of this particular soup was too tempting to pass up.

What worked: Cumin, chickpeas, and lemon are seen together for a reason—each brings out the best in the other.

What didn't: I ended up needing to thin out the soup with extra water once the chickpeas were cooked. As written, it bordered on a stew, or even saucy beans.

Suggested tweaks: Dress the soup up as much as you'd like. A poached egg is delightful, as is a squeeze of harissa.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Heart of the Plate to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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