Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Chickpea Soup with Toasted Breadcrumbs

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

1 onion: $0.50
2 cups uncooked chickpeas: $1.50
1 head escarole: $2.00
1 small head cabbage: $1.00
1 carrot: $0.25

Pantry items: Bread crumbs, olive oil, pimenton, salt, pepper, garlic, dressing for slaw or salad.

Total cost (for 4 portions): $5.25

I first made Mark Bittman's chickpea soup with toasted breadcrumbs because it sounded fast and easy, but it earned its spot on my list of favorite recipes because it tastes so good. I'm a sucker for toasted breadcrumbs—there's a reason penny-conscious home cooks much cannier than I teach us never to waste a piece of staling bread. Blitz it in the food processor and store the crumbs in your freezer; then you'll always have them on hand to toast and scatter over pasta, salad, or, in this case, soup.

If you've cooked your chickpeas carefully and stored them in their broth, not much can go wrong with this soup. It's very receptive to experimentation with spices, herbs, and greens. The escarole, my addition, brought some nice flavor and texture to the dish. As you can see, we ate our soup with a cabbage slaw. A green salad would have been better, I think, but slaw was fine, too—a pound of cabbage shredded and tossed with a grated carrot, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, salt, pepper, a splash of cider vinegar, and a dash of cumin.

Chickpea Soup with Toasted Bread Crumbs

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

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