Chickpea soup makes a great lunch, dinner – or even breakfast. Not only are chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzo beans, a great source of protein and fibre, they also contain a high percentage of zinc.
For women looking to find more ways of incorporating zinc rich foods into their diets to help support the menstrual cycle, chickpeas are a highly versatile, tasty and nourishing ingredient to include.
In this soup recipe chickpeas are combined with a variety of green vegetables which are perfect for providing calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as Vitamin K in the dark leafy greens. Greens in general are going to help relieve the spasms and muscle cramping that cause period pain, as well as nourishing the liver which is intimately connected to the menstrual cycle.
It is always best to soak dry beans and cook them yourself, adding a strip of kombu seaweed to the pan (which you can always whizz into the soup later). If you are short on time have some emergency stocks of ready cooked beans in the cupboards, which you can now find in glass jars instead of cans!
This recipe is also adaptable so add any combination of greens you prefer. Quantity is approximate and depends on the size of your bowl and ingredients etc, if you make too much just freeze it for later!
Chickpea Soup with leek, broccoli, courgette and leafy greens
* serves approx 4 large bowls
2 1/2 cups cooked Chickpeas
1 large Leek – finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
2 cups Broccoli – stems and florets
1 large Courgette – roughly chopped
1 large hand Spinach – roughly chopped
1 large Chard/Kale or wild greens – roughly chopped
1 cup chopped fresh Parsley
1 heaped tablespoon Butter or ghee – coconut or olive oil for vegan option
* add in some seaweed (such as dulse, wakame or sea lettuce), as much as you feel happy with the taste. Seaweeds are also high in zinc and soups are a perfect way to get more into your diet!
* Soak and cook your chickpeas if you are preparing them yourself
* Heat a saucepan and add the butter/ghee or oil of choice
* Add the leeks and saute in a low flame for approx 15 minutes until they become translucent and silky smooth
* Add the garlic, courgettes and broccoli stems and saute for approx 3 mins
* Add the cooked chickpeas and any tougher greens such as wild greens or kale, saute for approx 2 mins
* Add water or homemade stock to cover the contents of the pan along with any seaweed you might want to add. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer
* After approx 10 minutes add the broccoli florets, cook for a further 5 minutes until they are just soft
* Add any soft greens such as spinach and the parsley, turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave for around 5 minutes for the new greens to wilt. Season with salt and pepper.
* Blend until smooth or leave as a broth type soup if you prefer
For more information on why zinc is an important nutrient in supporting menstruation and hormones, plus more ideas for zinc rich foods, read our blog here
For more recipes from Hayley you can get the Holistic Kitchen ebook here