Curried Cream of Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach

David has a few dishes he can make, but soup is not one of them. And yet soup is our go-to winter lunch. There was a time when he’d try to get me to pick up the canned stuff, but he stopped asking because he knows I won’t. I keep explaining that buying canned soup is like buying bottled dressing. It’s so easy to make—and so fresh and pure—why would you want to?

Today’s soup—Curried Cream of Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach—is an example of just how easy and nourishing a weekday soup can be. Every good soup starts with a sautéing onion. To it add curry powder, a can of tomatoes, a can of chickpeas, and a little bit of baking soda to neutralize the tomatoes’ acid, which will prevent the milk from curdling.

After just five minutes of simmering, add the milk. I like the evaporated varieties because they’re rich like cream without all the calories. Depending on your mood, you can use low-fat or regular. Add a little frozen spinach to the pot too and  just look at the healthful meal you’ve made in just minutes. Why open a can of soup when something from scratch is this simple to pull off?

Curried Cream of Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Spinach
Makes 6 a generous cups, serving 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder or garam masala
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, drained
Scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup evaporated milk, low-fat or regular
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed (no need to squeeze out liquid)
Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder; cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and baking soda; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.

Stir in milk and spinach; reheat to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.