Do you have a favorite vegan cookbook? I’ve seen my share of cookbooks over the years, and Back to the Cutting Board by Emmy-winning author and chef Christina Pirello, MFN, still managed to impress and inspire me. Her approach is very no-nonsense, eschewing complicated or faddish programs in favor of whole, seasonal, plant-based, passionate cooking. The title refers to the heirloom cutting board she inherited from her grandmother, and that spirit of creating food with love–whether you cook for yourself or for your entire family–runs through the beautifully illustrated book. If you’re also interested in the holistic angle without too much hocus pocus (as I am), this book is for you. I can’t wait to mull over her sections about yin-yang in cooking and how to stay oh-so-in-tune with the seasons. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
This could easily be my favorite soup in the world and I love most soups. But my love of farro has taken my soup making to new heights. This favorite of Juliet’s (yes, that Juliet . . . ) is rich in fiber and magnesium and high in protein. Add protein-packed chickpeas and you have the perfect marriage of ingredients.
Vegan Chickpea Farro Soup
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 4-5 fingerling potatoes, unpeeled and diced
- 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed well and soaked for 1 hour with 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup farro, rinsed well
- 4-5 cups spring or filtered water
- to taste sea salt
- 3-4 sprigs fresh basil, freshly minced, for serving
1. Set a soup pot over medium heat with the olive oil, onion, and garlic.
2. When the onion begins to sizzle, add the crushed red pepper flakes to your taste and sauté until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the celery, carrot, and potatoes and sauté for 1 minute.
4. Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse them well. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and farro to the pot and stir to combine.
5. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the chickpeas are soft, about 1 hour.
6. Season to your taste with salt and simmer for 5 minutes more. Ladle into bowls and serve hot, garnished with fresh basil.
Photo: Maja Danica Pecanic