ROASTED PUMPKIN SOUP WITH FALAFEL , SPINACH AND TAHINI DRESSING

This thick vegan soup is flavoured with orange and thyme, and garnished with mini-falafels and sauteed spinach. It is very healthy and even more tasty than it is healthy!

SOUP

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 small leek, chopped
  • 1 orange, finely grated rind and the juice
  • 1 kg pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm chunks
  • 1.5 litres of boiling vegetable stock or water
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 3tbsp fresh thyme leaves, stalks removed
  • 2tsp ground cumin (it tastes much better if you toast and grind the seeds yourself)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and coat the pumpkin with oil, salt and pepper and roast until the outside is caramelised.

Whilst the pumpkin is in the oven, heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and carrot and cook slowly until the onion is softened.

Add the garlic, orange peel, leek, half of the thyme and half of the cumin to the pan and cook for 3-4 more minutes.

Add the wine and reduce it down to about a third.

Take the pumpkin out of the oven and add it to the saucepan, stirring well to combine all of the ingredients. Add the water or stock, cover, and simmer until all the vegetables are soft.

Add the orange juice, the rest of the thyme and the cumin, and blend until smooth.

FALAFEL

  • 100g / ½ cup dried chickpeas (soaked for at least 8 hours and then drained)
  • ½ medium size white onion roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 mild green chilli, chopped
  • ½ cup / handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup / handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (if possible freshly toasted and grounded)
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor, it is better to put the herbs at the bottom, then the vegetables and the chickpeas on top. Pulse several times scooping out the bottom and sides until the mixture has the texture of coarse salt. Keep the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour before cooking.

Make little quenelles of falafel mix using two teaspoons. The falafel mixture should have a fluffy consistency but be able to stick together. You can add more flour if it is too wet or 1 or 2 tbsp of lemon juice or water if it is too dry.

Deep fry until golden and remove from the oil onto a kitchen towel to remove excess oil.

TAHINI DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

Mix all of the ingredients together, adding more or less lemon or water if you want a thicker or lighter consistency.

Serve the soup in a bowl and garnish with the falafel, some sautéed spinach (regular or baby leaf spinach can be used) and the tahini dressing.

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