This is the veggie version of many, many versions of this soup, and can be a bit of a fridge-cleaner-outer. You can easily add chicken or lamb or beef to the soup if you prefer.

1 large onion, chopped
a few stalks celery, chopped
a couple of sliced carrots
a red or green pepper or both (optional)
1 sm. sliced zucchini (optional)
2 large garlic cloves, minced fine

Saute above in one or two tbsps. good olive oil.
Add 6-8 cups of vegetable stock (cubes are available in most stores) and bring to boil. Add one can well-rinsed chick peas, one can rinsed lentils, OR one small can lentils and one large can rinsed mixed beans. I prefer the latter option as it adds more flavor. I've done it without the lentils and it works that way, too. Add more water/stock if soup is too thick.

Add 1/2 tsp. EACH of cinnamon, turmeric and ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.

Now add either one large can diced roma tomatoes, OR 1, 7oz. can of good quality tomato sauce (NOT paste) and a few chopped fresh tomatoes. I don't like a heavy tomato taste as it overpowers the delicate flavors of the soup. Add a good measure of chopped cilantro, the juice of half a lemon (I plop the squeezed lemon into the soup for extra flavour), and one medium-sized chipotle pepper (or to taste, I like it hot myself.) You can substitute any kind of chilie pepper but the smoky taste of chipotle works well with this soup. Simmer for a good half hour.

Serve with bread or organic plain corn chips. I like the latter as I enjoy the crunch of them in the soup. This tastes even better the next day, and has been a hit with everyone I've served it to. Great on a cool or winter day.

Lowfat Broccoli Soup

I HATE broccoli but I do love this soup.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 med. chopped onion
2 stalks chopped celery, 2 carrots (optional but good)
11/2 lbs chopped broccoli, florets and stalks
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 med. Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed and chopped
1 cup no-or-low-fat yogurt or sour cream or half of each
1 cup grated low-fat sharp cheddar OR 1/2 cup good- quality grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Saute onions, celery, carrots until translucent. Add chopped broccoli stalks to onions (cut off any tough parts). Chop florets and set them aside.

Add garlic and potatoes, then stalks, salt and pepper to taste, and cover with stock. Partially cover and gently cook until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add florets until tender, but still bright green.

Add half of soup to blender and half the yogurt or sour cream. Puree and pour pureed soup into large bowl. Repeat with the other half of soup and yogurt. Pour it all back into the pot, raise heat to medium and add cheese. Add ground black pepper. Do NOT boil, but gently stir until cheese is melted.

Serve in bowls. Top with more cheese, parsley or scallions, and croutons if you like. Yum, yum!