The chicken soup I grew up eating, the Jewish penicillin my grandmother and generations before her made, is such a part of who I am, I cook it from deeply ingrained memory, and I make it often. But recently, while I was starting to whip up a batch, I had the urge to spike it with a warming tingle of ginger instead of the usual dill.

That tweak opened a wide gate, which ultimately led to this deeply delicious, nutritious recipe my grandmother would have found totally unfamiliar.

Along with the ginger, I added garlic and turmeric to bring both flavour and additional anti-inflammatory benefits to the usual onion-carrot-celery trio. I used chicken broth and added breast meat, as she would have, but you could use vegetable broth and omit the chicken to make it vegetarian if you prefer. Instead of the usual egg noodles, I went in a healthier direction with the add-ins, using a can of chickpeas for heartiness and vegetable protein, and green beans and spinach for more texture, colour and nutrition.

The result is a soup that seems the very essence of healing goodness, comforting, belly-warming and full of flavour. With its golden-hued broth, bounty of green vegetables and chickpeas, it may bear little resemblance to my grandmother’s soup, but I’m 100 per cent sure she would love it.

Golden chicken vegetable soup with chickpeas

Serves: 6

Active time: 30 minutes | Total time: 1 hour

Storage notes: Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


2 tbsp olive oil

2 medium carrots (140g total), diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 medium yellow onion (about 225g), diced

1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated

1 tsp fine salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp ground turmeric

1.9L low-sodium chicken broth

225g boneless, skinless chicken breast

One (425g) can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 250g cooked chickpeas

115 green beans, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces

Large handful baby spinach, coarsely chopped


In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and turmeric and cook for 1 minute more. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the chickpeas and green beans to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high and return the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the green beans are tender, about 10 minutes.

While the green beans are softening, use two forks to tear the chicken into bite-size pieces. When the green beans are tender, return the chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the pot. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, ladle into bowls and serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving, based on 6 | calories: 242; total fat: 9g; saturated fat: 2g; cholesterol: 28mg; sodium: 547mg; carbohydrates: 24g; dietary fibre: 6g; sugar: 6g; protein: 20g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

© The Washington Post

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