First lentils, then tofu, now chickpeas: This creamy soup rounds out our plant-protein trifecta.
Introducing our alternative-protein Meatless Dinnerseries. For those of us who are suffering from chicken and salmon fatigue, Lauren Blake, R.D., proposes a series of flavorful and filling main dishes that supply a healthy dose of protein from more surprising sources. In week one, we prepared Moroccan-Spiced Lentil Stuffed Peppers; our follow-up was a homemade take on takeout, Sesame-Crusted Tofu With Greens and Thai Peanut Sauce. Below, our third and final installment:
If you’ve never worked with squash before, it’s surprisingly versatile and forgiving (for one, it’s difficult to overcook). The catch is that a lot of squash recipes are laden with butter and heavy cream, which undoes the fact that it’s a very healthy vegetable; for example, the butternut variety is only 80 calories per cup and has half your day’s dose of vitamin C. Here’s the hack for this hearty vegan dish: a cashew cream that gives the dish great body and healthy fat. Plus, hidden in the bisque are chickpeas, a great way to get protein, especially if you’re tired of hummus. Serve alongside crunchy seed crackers, or crumble them on top to replace croutons.
Butternut Squash Chickpea Bisque
For the bisque:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 large carrots, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups diced butternut squash
6 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup raw cashews
For the crackers:
½ cup chia seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pepita seeds
2 medium finely-grated garlic cloves
2 tablespoons almond flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 sprig rosemary, stemmed and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Bisque:In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook carrots, onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until carrots begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add squash, broth and chickpeas, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until squash is fork-tender, 20 minutes. In a blender, blend cashews and 1/3 cup water, adding water if necessary, until mixture is creamy; set aside. Transfer soup to blender and blend until smooth, then return to pot and stir in cashew cream, reserving 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with a dollop of cashew cream and drizzle of olive oil. Crackers: Heat oven to 325°. In a bowl, whisk together seeds, garlic, flour, onion powder, rosemary, thyme and salt; add 1 cup water and stir with a wooden spoon until water is incorporated. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, press seed mixture to ¼-inch thickness. Bake for 30 minutes, cut into pieces, flip and continue baking, 25 minutes. Cool and serve.
Recipe by Lauren Blake, RD