Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

This vegan dish is spicy but not wild

An aromatic blend of sweet potatoes and chickpeas? Sign us up!

This soup sports flavor that’s assertive but not overpowering. And it’s light enough for a first course. Or you could ladle up extra-large portions, pair it with salad and crusty bread, and serve it as a main dish.

Tasty, zippy, versatile – it’s a real meal deal.



Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

This recipe was inspired by Morocco’s best-known traditional soup, Harira. That one usually has a chickpea base, and almost always includes meat (most often lamb).

Our soup is a vegan twist on that Moroccan classic. It also features sweet potatoes, which are not typically used in Harira.

We’ve spiced this dish mildly. You’ll definitely notice the spices (their aroma alone may be irresistible), but they’re not overpowering. If you want a bolder flavor, increase the spice amounts to your taste.

Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes. Cooking time adds another 20 to 30 minutes.

This recipe yields about 6 first-course servings (or half that number if you serve it as a main).

Leftovers keep well for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container. Or you could freeze them (they’ll be good for months).

Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ~1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-large)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon dried turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon dried ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (may want to substitute pimentón; see Notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (or to taste; optional)
  • 4 cups water (may substitute chicken stock if you don’t want vegan)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (or more to taste)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste; optional)
Procedure
  1. Prepare the veggies: Peel the onion and cut it into dice of ½ inch; set aside. Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices or mince it finely; set aside. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into dice of ½ inch or a bit more; set aside.
  2. Place a 4-quart soup pot (or a wide-based saucepan) on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the oil. When the oil is heated (it’ll shimmer – about 15 seconds), add the chopped onion. Season to taste with salt, then sauté until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Then add the spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, paprika, and cayenne) and sauté for another minute, stirring several times.
  4. Add the diced sweet potatoes and stir to coat them with the spice mixture. Add the water and turn the stovetop heat up to high.
  5. While the mixture is coming to a boil, open the can of chickpeas and drain them in a strainer or colander. Rinse them off, then add the chickpeas to the soup pot. Open the can of tomatoes and add them to the soup pot. Stir to combine with the other ingredients.
  6. Once the soup mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are soft and the flavors blend together (20 to 30 minutes).
  7. Add the green peas during the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking. Right before you add them, you may want to whir the soup with a stick blender a few times to give it a thicker consistency. Once the peas have cooked for 3 minutes or so, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. If it seems a bit flat, add the lemon juice – the acid will perk up the flavor. 
  8. Soup’s on! Ladle it into dishes and enjoy.
Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

Notes
  • Exact quantities aren’t critical in this soup. You can adjust ingredient quantities to your preference.
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro would make a nice addition to this soup. Stir it in right before serving.
  • We use canned chickpeas because they’re convenient. But if you have dried chickpeas on hand, feel free to use them. Just soak them overnight, then cook them until tender (an hour or two) and add them to the soup.
  • Chickpeas go by many different names in different parts of the world. They’re also called chick peas (two words), garbanzo beans, ceci, cece, and chana. They’re one of the oldest cultivated legumes, dating back at least 7,500 years.
  • We’ve used both “regular” paprika (Hungarian sweet paprika) and pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) in this dish. Both work well (pimentón may be slightly better). But use whatever you have on hand. Don’t stint, though – paprika adds not only flavor, but color.
  • We use kosher salt for cooking. This is coarser than regular table salt, so it doesn’t seem as “salty” by volume. If you’re using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But, as always, season to your taste, not ours.
  • As noted in Step 7, you can use a hand blender to break up the sweet potato chunks. This will enhance the soup’s consistency and add a bit of body to the broth. Don’t overdo it, though – this soup is better when it has a chunky texture. 
  • BTW, we suggest using a stick blender with a steel shaft (not plastic). Plastic can crack in hot liquid. Ask us how we know.
  • Want to add more spicy heat to this soup? Just squirt a small bit of Sriracha sauce on each serving. Or use harissa sauce if you have it on hand (this spicy red pepper sauce is essentially the North African equivalent of Sriracha).
Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

Sweet Spuds

“Wow, vegan never tasted so good,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.

“Yup, tasty and healthy,” I said. “It’s a win win.”

“How nice to feel virtuous,” said Mrs K R. “While luxuriating in spice, texture, and flavor.”

“And this is light enough for seconds,” I said. “Care for some more?”

“Sure,” said Mrs K R. “One can never have too much virtue.”

You may also enjoy reading about:
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (Harira)
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad
Lentil and Tomato Soup
Sweet Potato Soup with Chilies and Corn
Vegan Mulligatawny Soup with Cabbage
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Or check out the index for more recipes

98 comments:

  1. Such a healthy and delicious dish! Both sweet potato and chickpea are not only delicious, also very good for us. Love it!

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    1. Hi Angie, not only is this healthy, but incredibly tasty! Really a winner. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Moroccan spices and spice blends are really appealing. I've been experimenting with Ras al Hanout, which combines many of the flavors you used and quite a few others too. Your vegetable combo is also a good one.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, Ras al Hanout is good stuff. It means "top of the house" in Arabic, and conceptually is similar to garam masala -- a blend of spices that differs from merchant to merchant. It'd be good in this dish -- just serve in half a teaspoon or so right before serving. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Great flavors and textures!

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    1. Hi Pam, the flavor is wonderful and this, and I agree about the texture -- even better! Thanks for the comment.

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  4. This looks terrific John and full of flavor. I love how colorful it is. I'm sure by Saturday we'll be craving something warm again with temps plummeting again.

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    1. Hi Vicki, so warm today, and the weather people are saying so cold this weekend! Weird weather. We'll need this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Oh that combination of spices with the sweet potatoes and chickpeas is awesome!!

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    1. Hi Ansh, isn't this a nice combo of flavors? Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. The flavors here sound wonderful. I might even take your suggestion and add some extra spice! (My husband will not be happy about that though haha)

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    1. Hi Ashley, extra spice in this is good -- its flavor is pretty mild. IMO, of course! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Delicious soup! I fully approve the flavor profile. I love the Moroccan spices, they are not necessarily hot either. And nice vegetarian twist here with just the chickpeas!

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    1. Hi Evelyne, Moroccans aren't known for their vegetarian fare, but it does exist. Love the flavors of Morocco! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. My sweet potato cravings are OFF THE HOOK.... And this recipe is only making that worse! hahaha! Those huge hunks of love! MMMMMMM!!! :)

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    1. Hi GiGi, you'd love the combo of the sweet potatoes and spices in this dish. Really. Good. Stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Leftovers save me from overly dreary lunches! I'm thinking a light sprinkle of cilantro would be a nice addition to this flavorful Moroccan spiced beauty.

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    1. Hi Deb, cilantro would be perfect! And it's a heavily used herb in Morocco. Thanks for the comment.

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  10. We fell in love with the flavours of Morocco during our trip some time ago, so warm and rich. This soup can't go wrong such bold and comforting flavours. I love that you used sweet potato in this hearty dish. It's actually perfect for today, we have a wind warning which is rather brutal.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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    1. Hi Eva, this will warm you up! And I love Moroccan flavors, too -- so nice. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. This would be a welcome meal at our house! And like you, I enjoy a little spicy flavor with my dinner. Enjoy!

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    1. Hi Tricia, spicy is good, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. What a delightful way to start a meal. Colorful and flavorful what else can we ask for. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Amira, bet you'd like this! Lotta flavor, not to mention color. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. John, this is the soup the doctor ordered, healthy and delicious. I have all the ingredients in the house, I have to make it soon. When I visited Marrakech I was taken by all the different spices that were being sold in the open markets. The small alone was something.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, Moroccan spice markets are intoxicating, aren't they? So pretty, and the aroma will drive you wild! Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Delicious and so filling, as well. Yummy!

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    1. HI Liz, this is wonderful -- SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Aah,I can see all that Vitamin A staring out at me from the sweet potatoes- looks quite healthy. And knowing me, I would add that extra splash of Sriracha sauce. Yummy soup!

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    1. Hi Fran, this is pretty healthy. And totally good! Thanks for the comment.

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  16. The title Moroccan per se convinced me to try this recipe. Love flavorful vegetarian dishes!!! Gonna serve it atop of white rice. ;)

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    1. Hi Denise, rice would add some heft to this! Good idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I would love to have a huge batch of this in the freezer for lunches!!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, this freezes really well -- and agree, it's so nice to have on hand. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I love Moroccan spices and your lovely photos has me convinced to make this as soon as possible. I might even add my favourite chickpea pasta! Always enjoy my visits here!

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    1. Hi Robyn, like the idea of adding chickpea pasta! Fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This is my kind of dinner! I would love to have at any day of the week!

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    1. Hi SP, our kind of dinner too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Oh yum, I love your pics so much, looks amazing ☺

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    1. Hi Natalia, this is a wonderful dish -- one of the better ones we've made this year. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Oh I love this combo of flavors John and all the veggies you added. Looks like a wonderful meal! Hope you are having a great week.

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    1. Hi Cheri, the flavors in this are outstanding -- really nicely spiced. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I always enjoy Moroccan dishes -- such great flavors and spices!

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    1. Hi Amy, we don't often cook Moroccan dishes, and when we do always wonder why they're not on our table more often! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. LOVE the look of this soup, John! Honestly, looking at your beautiful photo, I feel like I can almost smell it! I love Moroccan cuisine. And this soup, with the sweet potatoes and chickpeas, looks so satisfying! :)

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    1. Hi Anne, the aroma of this dish is outstanding. As is its flavor. You really want to make this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I have been so into sweet potatoes lately and there is nothing better than those warm spices.

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    1. Hi Laura, sweet potatoes are SO good! Such a versatile veggie. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. You're right, this just begs to be paired with a good bread. I'm thinking a nice, freshly baked sourdough! I think I'm always a fan of sourdough though...

    I also like the idea of not exact quantities and spicy! I could see making a good size batch and popping some in the freezer.

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    1. Hi Bob, this freezes quite well, so making a big batch is a good idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. I get automatically excited when I see a long list of spices in the ingredient list. The sweet potato and chickpea combo is a real killer. Great recipe John!

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    1. Hi Yi, sweet potatoes and chickpeas are wonderful together, aren't they? Particularly with spices! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This is such a nice combination which I never thought in putting together...sweet potatoes and chickpeas...looks delicious John, and I love idea of a bit of spice.
    I hope you are having a nice week :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, we love this combo of flavors -- so tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This just looks so delicious and sounds very flavorful!

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    1. Hi Peachy, it is, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. A big chill is headed our way tonight (I'm sure you're feeling it already!). A big pot of your Morroccan soup would be the perfect way to warm up as well as being an ideal meatless meal for a Friday in Lent.

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    1. Hi Liz, it was in the 70's when we took our walk today. We wore shorts! Now it's 20 degrees colder, and we're supposed to have snow on Saturday. Weird weather! But this soup will be perfect. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I could not say it enough but I'm so cold lately, I just want to eat delicious soups like this one. By looking on this I feel already warmer.

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    1. Hi Marta, this will warm you up! Both the hot soup itself, and the spices in in. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. What a panoply of spices! Lovin' it. (And I'd love to hear more about the plastic stick blender :)

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    1. Hi Rosemary, it was SO irritating when the plastic shaft of the stick blender cracked! I forget what I was blending -- soup, probably -- but you could hear a fairly sharp crack when it, well, cracked. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Love how comfy and so full of flavors this soup is. I love Moroccan spices. Sweet potatoes and chickpeas sound like a great combo. I also made Thai sweet potato soup for dinner tonight, but now I think I should have visited your site earlier. I so want to try this one soon.

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    1. Hi Anu, Thai sweet potato soup sounds wonderful! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. John, I posted another tomato-based soup with chickpeas just today! Great minds think alike, but your recipe has lots more exotic spice to it than mine so, I can't wait to try your recipe! I've been looking at stick blenders to purchase, so I'm really glad to have your tip about the steel versus plastic shaft and I will definitely add some sriracha to this soup Yummmm :)

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    1. Hi Marcelle, sriracha makes everything better, doesn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Strangely I made an "on the fly" (no potato) tomatoey version of this soup today. And that was before I even saw this. Must be something in the wind... GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, yup, the weather has much to answer for. :-) Great minds and all of that. Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Sounds like a nice warming soup for a chilly evening. Something to warm you up without filling you up too much.

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    1. Hi Frank, this really isn't that filling unless you have a fairly large portion. Good enough that, depending on what else you're having for dinner, you can have a little or a lot and be happy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. John, all I need is a slice of crusty bread or pita to get every last drop of this beautiful soup. Love Moroccan flavors.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, aren't Moroccan flavors wonderful? Love the use of cinnamon in savory dishes -- it adds an interesting dimension. Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I love the combination of spices you used in this soup. Sounds perfect for this cold and gray day we're having here.

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    1. Hi Pamela, it's really a delightful spice combo! Exceptionally tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I adore Moroccan flavors because of its punchy hit of warm, earthy spices. They make for such a powerhouse of deliciousness that you won't miss the meat in this at all.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, "punchy hit" is a great way to describe the spices in this. And although I love meat, veggie dishes can be much tastier! This one sure is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. About the only Moroccan spiced dish I do is a roasted leg of lamb which we absolutely love, mainly due to the spices. So I know this is a dish that Bobby and I would thoroughly enjoy. Thanks!

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    1. Hi MJ, Moroccan roast lamb is wonderful! I haven't made that in years and years -- need to again. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Just the thing for a chilly spring evening. Yum.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, we have a bit of snow today, so this would be perfect tonight! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. I think the amount of spices is spot on! I wouldn't add more or less either because after all it's a Moroccan dish. :) thanks for the great inspiration. I always need something new for dinner.

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    1. Hi Helene, I think the amount of spice is spot on, too. :-) Although I could see how someone might want to kick it up a bit. Thanks for the comment.

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  42. If a dish is described as "Tasty, zippy, versatile" you bet am all over it! :)
    This chili sounds wonderful - perfectly spiced and cravalicious!

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    1. Hi Shashi, this definitely is cravalicius! Good word. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. Obviously, we're still in soup weather here even though it's SPRING BREAK! :) Love your take on this classic dish!

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    1. Hi Debra, this is really a good one. Particularly since we have snow today! Soup tonight. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. Love these warm, sultry flavors! Perfect for the last days of winter that feel like spring at my house! Which means summer isn't far behind though my bathing suit body is. Hah! Who am I kidding? In any case this soup would be perfectly filling and not so fattening!

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    1. Hi Abbe, this isn't as heavy as some soup, so you're right that it's ideal for this time of the year. Although we're having snow today, so maybe seconds of this? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. This would be a hit here with me, John! It looks and sounds delicious. I like chickpeas but have never cooked with them as far as I can remember, so this is must have ingredient next time with those sweet potatoes in a great soup. Perfect fare for a cold snowy day like today! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Pam, we're getting snow, too. Brrrr! Some of this soup sounds delish at the moment. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  46. This recipe is calling my name! It's snowy and blowy outside, but this soup would warm me right up.

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    1. Hi Beth, it's miserable weather today! Time for soup. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. I don't really have a clever comment to leave, I just WANT THIS SOUP!

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    1. Hi Sue, :-) Bet you'd like this! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. Cozy town, population ME!! I love the spices inherent to moroccan food. This looks like the perfect cozy pick me up for these terrible surprise cold days.

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    1. Hi cakespy, it's been really cold here the last week or two, so soup is definitely on the menu! And this is a good one. Thanks for the comment.

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  49. This sounds like a comfort meal, I would love to have this specially not its becoming cold here down under

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    1. Hi Raymund, your soup season is just about to begin! And this would be a good one for it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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