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Eggplant and Chickpea Soup

Serves 3 to 4

I love to grow eggplants in the summer. That is how this recipe evolved. I had so much eggplant I needed to find new ways to use them. I love my Eggplant Stew, which is in the similar and related recipes, but I wanted to make a soup that was a little different. Adding the chickpeas adds texture, flavor and nutrition. This is a healthy and delicious one pot meal that, despite the number of ingredients, is quick and easy to prepare. I also grow fresh herbs in the summer, which I like to use to finish most of my dishes for that extra bright flavor. If you do not have fresh, they are not necessary. Omit the pancetta for a vegetarian version. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled as needed.

Eggplant and Chickpea Soup Recipe Photo

Heat a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Cook until some of the fat has rendered out. Add the onions, peppers, celery and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste; cook an additional minute. Add the tomatoes and water. Stir, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the eggplant, chickpeas, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer until the eggplant is tender, about 30 minutes depending on age and size of chop. Add the pasta, cover and cook until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. If desired, stir in the fresh herbs. Serve, passing the grated cheese separately. (As with most soups, leftovers are equally good.)