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by Barbara Adach,

Registered Acupuncturist Toronto, Ontario

If you feel you over-indulged in meat over the holidays, this hearty soup provides vegetable protein instead.

Chickpeas are legumes and, in addition to impressive amounts of protein, they also provide fiber, iron, and phosphorus. In Chinese medicine dietetics, they are said to aid good digestion.

The wonderful orange vegetables provide beta- carotene, which supports healthy vision.
The spices are not only delicious but are also considered to be ‘Warming’ in Chinese medicine. This is the right time of year to fortify ourselves with this added warmth!


1 medium butternut squash
1 medium sweet potato
2 medium potatoes (yellow-fleshed varieties complement the other vegetables)
2 large carrots
5 plum tomatoes
2 medium cooking onions
1 tbsp. coconut oil or unsalted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 19-oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (look for organic chickpeas in BPA-free cans if possible)
3 cups of vegetable stock or water
3 tbps. fresh lemon juice
Cilantro for garnish
Salt (sea or Himalayan) and freshly ground black pepper


1. Vegetable preparation
Peel and chop to a medium dice the squash, sweet potato and potatoes. Peel and cut the carrots into medium ‘coins’. Peel the plum tomatoes and chop roughly. Chop the onions to a small to medium dice and peel and crush the garlic.

2. Soup preparation
In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil or unsalted butter. Then add the olive oil. When oils are warm, add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent (2 – 3 minutes). Reduce heat to medium and add the cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, and fresh ginger, cooking to release the fragrance (2 minutes). Stir to evenly mix the spices, oil, and onions. Add the crushed garlic and cook for about 2 minutes to soften (but do not burn). Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and stir.

Add enough vegetable stock or water to completely cover the vegetables and chickpeas. Add another pinch of salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Place the lid on the pot and allow to cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

After 1 hour, test the root vegetables for doneness. When they are soft, remove the pot from the heat, stir well and add the lemon juice. Stir again to mix well.

3. Serving
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and freshly ground black pepper (to taste).

This soup is very filling and can be a meal on its own. However, you can also serve it over grains such as couscous, rice or quinoa. If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, do not eat couscous (wheat product); use rice or quinoa instead.

Barbara Adach studied acupuncture at the Institute of Traditional Medicine. She has a great passion for nutritious foods and she teaches nutrition at Eight Branches Academy in Toronto.