When I eat healthy food that is in tune with my body, I literally feel awesome– like I have an “inner glow.” It almost feels like I’ve spent some time in the gym rather than the kitchen. This Vegan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup definitely falls into the “inner glow” category. I adapted the soup from an old Sephardic Israeli family recipe. It includes fresh, seasonal produce and legumes– butternut squash for sweetness, fresh spinach for color and iron, and chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) for protein. The natural sweetness of the squash really compliments the nutty flavor of the chickpeas. The broth is flavored with a Middle Eastern mix of spices including turmeric, which has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. In fact, turmeric is currently being studied as a possible cancer-fighting agent; some people take it in pill form because of its numerous health benefits. In short, there’s nothing bad about this soup… it’s all good! And it tastes amazing, too.
To learn how to easily peel and cube a butternut squash, check out this post: All About Butternut Squash – How to Peel, Seed and Prep. If you need some guidance on prepping the chickpeas, here’s a primer: How to Soak and Cook Chickpeas.
This soup is low in calories, full of fiber, loaded with flavor and gluten free. It’s perfect for autumn, when butternut squash is in season (I’m lucky enough to be able to get it year round here in Los Angeles). Healthy comfort food to give you an inner glow… what could be better?
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- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 1/2 lbs cubed and peeled butternut squash
- 3 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or two 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of cayenne
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
- In a large pot, heat up olive oil over medium. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes till softened.
- Add the butternut squash and cooked chickpeas to the pot.
- Cover with 2 quarts (8 cups) of hot water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Stir in the cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Cover the pot, lid slightly vented. Let the soup cook for 20-25 minutes, till the squash is tender.
- Take the lid off and stir in the fresh spinach leaves. Let them simmer for 1-2 minutes till softened and wilted. Remove from heat.
- Serve hot. May be served over steamed brown rice for a more filling entrée.