‘Tis the season for comfort food, and we all know comfort food comes packed with calories and fat…or does it?? I’ve been on a mission to put a healthy spin on some comfort food classics, like the whole wheat turkey pot pie I shared before Thanksgiving. Another comfort food classic that I grew up on was chicken and dumplings. My grandma makes absolutely amazing chicken and dumplings, but of course it’s lots of refined flour and animal proteins, which are things I try to limit in my diet.
So with chicken and dumplings in mind, I started thinking of a way to get a similar taste and texture, with plant-based ingredients. What I came up with is this chickpea and gnocchi soup — chickpeas in place of chicken and gnocchi in place of traditional dumplings — with some carrots and zucchini for color and a little extra veggie goodness. I did not make this dish vegan, but it can easily become vegan by simply using an egg substitute in making the gnocchi — that is the only animal-based ingredient in the whole pot!
Chickpea and Gnocchi Soup
- 1 large Yukon gold potato
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 cup of finely ground oats
- 1 egg (or use egg substitute to make it vegan)
- pinch or two of salt
- 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 – 2 whole carrots, diced
- 1/2 of a medium zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 TBS cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- To make the gnocchi — peel and chunk the potatoes, then boil until softened. Drain, then mash (no butter or milk!). Combine a cup of the mashed potatoes, the flour, oats, egg and salt, then knead until dough comes together. Roll out into long strips about 1/2″ in diameter, then cut into 1/2″ – 1″ pieces. Boil in large pot of water until gnocchi rises to the top. Remove, drain, and set aside.
- For the soup — First, mix the cornstarch and a small amount of either the broth or almond milk in a small cup and stir into small. Then, in a large stock pot (or a crock pot if you prefer), combine cornstarch mixture and all remaining ingredients except for the cooked gnocchi. Bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots and zucchini are tender, and the broth has thickened a bit (you could omit the cornstarch for a more traditional soup texture, but it gives it that thickness that comes with traditional chicken and dumplings).
- Add gnocchi to the pot, then the soup is ready to serve!
How easy is that?! The gnocchi is the most time consuming part, and if you really want to you can find gnocchi premade in the store. I just prefer to make my own so I can be sure it doesn’t contain refined flour. But if you’re short on time, buying premade gnocchi is a great shortcut. If you make it in a crockpot, I would just add the gnocchi about half an hour before you’re ready to serve to make sure it gets good and heated through.
I made a double-batch of this for Michael and I each to have for lunch for the week. It’s such a warming and filling lunch, that is great for the body and the soul. I hope you love it too!