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Garbonzo Bean Soup

I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate more beans into my diet. Legumes, like the chick peas used here, are great sources of protein and dietary fiber. It's the dietary fiber content of legumes that researcher say can help reduce the risks of cancer and help lower cholesterol.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 15-ounce can garbonzo beans (aka chick peas)
1 15-ounce can chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 shakes red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole milk or cream
Leftover holiday ham, chopped, for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes or until soft.

Drain beans. Stir in to pot along with the broth and wine (optional). Stir in cumin and red pepper flakes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer soup to blender or a food processor. Pulse several times to create a nice puree. Add milk or cream and pulse again until incorporated.

If desired, garnish with leftover holiday ham that has been chopped. Serves 2 for a lite lunch or 3 for a dinner starter.

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