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Linda WatsonCelebrate Earth Day by remembering how important it is to cook with organic food.

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Coldnix Soup, chicken-free cold-fighting soup

In Contact, Carl Sagan describes one of my favorite sci-fi inventions, Adnix:

... a module that, when a television commercial appeared, automatically muted the sound.

Like Adnix, my Coldnix Soup won't make the problem disappear, but it may keep it from annoying you. The core recipe comes from a vegetable-rich, homemade chicken soup used in the much-referenced study Chicken Soup Inhibits Chemotaxis In Vitro. The study says:

As it is likely that the clinical similarity of the diverse infectious processes that can result in “colds” is due to a shared inflammatory response, an effect of chicken soup in mitigating inflammation could account for its attested benefits.... All of the vegetables present in the soup and the chicken individually had inhibitory activity, although only the chicken lacked cytotoxic activity. Interestingly, the complete soup also lacked cytotoxic activity. Commercial soups varied greatly in their inhibitory activity.
Could it be that homemade chicken soup without the chicken would be even more helpful in relieving cold symptoms?

easy homemade chickpea soup with vegetables, lemon, and garlic fights colds better than chicken soup

Coldnix Soup, homemade vegetable soup inspired by Grandma's Ghicken Soup

My Coldnix version replaces the chicken with chickpeas and adds garlic and lemon for flavor. This soup, plus the other steps described Quell your Cough the Thrifty, Effective Way, has me feeling 80% better than I did yesterday.

This is a good draft of the recipe, which I'll make again with chickpeas and chickpea broth and my timer running. It's a natural for the slow cooker, too. When I made it last night, I felt stupid, slow, and desperate to quit coughing. In case you feel like that yourself now or know someone who does, I wanted to rush this cold-fighting soup recipe to you ASAP.

Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.


  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas or pinto beans
  • 1 cup chickpea broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, leaves and tender stems
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon


  1. Mince garlic and set aside. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Chop onion, celery, and parsnip, adding to the pot as you go. Cook until onion is soft and mixture is fragrant (if you can smell anything!), about five minutes.
  3. Peel and chop parsnip. Stir garlic into the onion mixture, then stir in parsnip, sweet potato, chickpeas, chickpea broth, and water. Cover pot and bring soup to a boil while you chop parsley. Stir one cup chopped parsley into soup, saving the rest as garnish. Reduce heat to low, so soup barely boils. Cook until vegetables are very tender and broth is rich. Stir in lemon juice, taste, and adjust seasonings.
  4. Serve hot topped with raw chopped parsley. Inhale the soup's steamy fragrance as you eat it. Refrigerate any extra for up to five days. It may lose some texture if frozen, but it will still be better than manufactured soup.

Tips and Notes

  • This recipe calls for more oil that most Cook for Good recipes do, because the Chicken Soup paper suggested that the chicken fat might have something to do with its effectiveness. I also left out the turnips.
  • I made dumplings to substitute for the matzo balls in the original recipe, but the coconut flavor clashed with the soup.
  • I'd love to work with someone who has the scientific background better understand the chicken-soup study. Perhaps we could the evaluate the original soup, a version made without the chicken, and my future, refined Coldnix soup to see which soup is best at fighting colds.

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