A hearty vegetable-based soup, with a kick of spice, that is both vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free. You can serve the soup on its own, or over some steamed brown rice, for a heartier meal.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans). The chickpeas have thin outer skins that will shed during cooking. If you would like to avoid this, prep the chickpeas by gently squeezing them one by one to remove the skins. Discard the skins and reserve the chickpeas.
Rinse, dry, and seed your butternut squash. Cut it into 1½-inch cubes, leaving the skin intact (do not peel). Leaving the skin on the squash will keep the pieces from dissolving during the cooking process.
Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion for a few minutes until it begins to caramelize. Add the chickpeas, butternut squash pieces, and spices to the pot. Fill the pot with water until all ingredients are completely covered. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover the pot, vented slightly, and slowly simmer the soup. After 1 hour, add salt and pepper to taste. At 1½ hours, add the spinach leaves to the pot and stir; simmer for 5 more minutes until the spinach wilts. Taste the broth again; add more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot. You can also ladle the soup over steamed brown rice for a more filling entrée.