Pumpkin chickpea soup, Grão com abóbora in Portuguese, is a a very traditional kind of soup that is done in Portugal, mainly coming from Alentejo and Algarve regions. This stew/soup usually starts with several parts of pork meat and chorizo that are stewed with the chickpeas, almost at the end, the pumpkin and other vegetables are joining in (potatoes, carrots, etc.), those vegetables are changing according to the place where this soup is cooked. The recipe on this post it is the vegetarian and simplified version of that soup. Why vegetarian? Why would I want to change something that is already so good? Because…we all could use a bit less meat these days and you get a more healthy soup without giving up the flavour. Also, I substituted the potatoes with pasta, I really think the pasta is great here.
Soup (serves 3)
- 350g of pumpkin
- 500g of chickpeas
- 200g of pasta (I chose tubettini rigate but any macaroni)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Dark bread
- Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
To start preparing the soup you cut a medium onion and a clove of garlic in small pieces and put it in a pressure cooker (or other pot) with 3 table spoons of olive oil. Add the chickpeas that were previously hydrated overnight and 1 liter of water. In the pressure cooker, let it cook for 15-20 minutes, in a normal pot it should be twice that time until the chickpeas are almost soft and cooked. Then, you cut the pumpkin in small cubes (size of a thumb) and add them, let it cook without the lid until it is melted into the soup, add the salt and pepper and, at that time, you also include the pasta. Cook the pasta for the exact time it says on the package until al dente (9 minutes in the case of these tubettini).
A bit before the soup is finished you can start your toasts. Cut slices of the dark bread, grate the Parmegiano on top of them, and put them in the oven at 180ºC until they are golden brown and crunchy. I used Parmegiano because it was the cheese I had in the fridge, but you can always use other cheeses. By the way, I would have used Cheddar if I had it, a good melting cheese is always better in toasts.
Serve the soup with a cheese toast and some pumpkin seeds. Other option/suggestion is to use some mint to compliment this dish when serving it.
Mark my words, you won’t go wrong with a bowl of this vegetarian comfort food.