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Garbanzo Soup with Saffron: Garbanzos en Amarillo

This thick soup is almost a stew, and makes a very satisfying vegetarian meal. It contains the orange sweet potato, grown in abundance in Querétaro, which the Center for Science in the Public Interest has named the most nutritious vegetable. If you don’t care for chile, don’t let that stop you from enjoying this soup, since it’s such a winner in terms of flavor, fiber and nutrition. Try using some smoked Spanish paprika instead.


  • 2 cups dry garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
  • 5 cups water or stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2 roma or plum tomatoes, roasted and peeled
  • 4 guajillo or cascabel chiles, seeded and soaked until soft
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cook the soaked garbanzos with the water or broth until tender. (In Mexico, this is often done with a pressure cooker, which saves time and fuel.)

Puree half of the cooked beans. Set aside the cooked beans, their broth, and the bean puree.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil, add the onion and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more. Stir in the sweet potatoes and spices.

Puree the tomatoes and chiles in a blender and add to the pot. Add the beans, their cooking liquid, and the bean puree to the pot. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes-1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with chopped parsley, if desired, and bolillos or French bread.

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