Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Return of Meatless Mondays with Spooky Green Goddess Soup

Yes, yes, I know…I did not keep my promise about posting a recipe for Meatless Monday on Sundays. My only excuse is I tend to be busy on weekends, thus running out of time to get any writing done. I hope to get back on track and just learn to write the drafts further ahead of time rather than the day 
before (!).

Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is the green soup recipe that didn’t go as planned a week and half ago due to my blender breaking. I got a brand new and extra fancy blender for myself last weekend and the first thing I tried it out on was this DELICIOUS recipe! If you normally shy away from such an abundance of greens in fear that it will be bland and tasteless, you are in store for a real treat if you give this one a try. The addition of Arborio rice makes the texture nice and smooth, and the cayenne with the lemon gives it just the right punch and balance of acidity to make it gentler on your taste buds as well as your tummy.

Green Goddess Soup
(based off of a recipe called  
“Basic Green Soup” from Eating Well)


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp salt, divided
3 cups + 2 tbsp water, divided
¼ cup Arborio rice
1 bunch green kale, rinsed and trimmed
1 10-14 oz package of spinach, rinsed and trimmed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lemon, juiced

Heat the olive oil in skillet over high heat, then add the onion and ¼ tsp salt; cook stirring frequently, until onions brown, for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the 2 tbsps of water and cover. Cook and stir frequently, until the pan cools down, then just occasionally, until the onions become a rich caramel color and are greatly reduced. Do this for about 20-30 minutes, covering the pan again after each time you stir.

After you get that going, bring the rest of the water, salt, and the rice to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Then, reduce heat to a simmer and cover and cook. After 15 minutes, stir the kale and spinach in with the rice and cook on a low simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the caramalized onions, broth and cayenne. Return to a simmer and stir, then cover for about 5 more minutes. Greens should retain a bright green color. Stir in the lemon juice last.

Once it’s ready, puree it all in a blender; in this case, an immersion blender would really help, but if you don’t have one handy, a regular blender works just as well, only you will have to do the pureeing in batches unless you have an extra large blender that can hold at least 10 cups. Return to pot once blended to desired consistency. Serve garnished with extra lemon and/or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (or any you have, extra virgin is just recommended, but it will taste great either way!). This soup can be served alone, but as it is rather light, I recommend a soup-and-sandwich combo; I actually had some with a piece of curried chicken and it went perfectly!

For baby, this would make the perfect, healthy mush food, I’d only recommend omitting the cayenne pepper as it can cause gassiness. For a toddler or older, pickier child, this may not go over too well as is, so you may want to play a game with them, telling them it’s “alien brains” or “ectoplasm” due to the green color. Since Halloween is right around the corner, if you have some spooky-shaped cookie cutters handy, cut out some ghost-shaped bread for the kids to dip into the soup, like the ones in the picture below.

Image courtesy where they have lots of other Halloween goody ideas

My sister said it looked like “green gruel”, just to give you an idea of the aesthetic appeal it may provide to picky eaters, but take a look below- do you really think that’s what it looks like? I think it looks yummy!

Image courtesy

Kaleis another super green I really don’t use often enough! It’s loaded with many of the same nutrients that spinach is, such as iron, vitamin A and calcium, and it also contains a significant source of vitamins K and C, which spinach also has, but kale trumps it! It’s also cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory, as well as full of antioxidants. I really enjoy kale, and I know a recipe for a great kale side dish I will post in the near future that is really easy and tasty.

Like I described in my last post, kale is one of the Dirty Dozen when it comes to pesticide residues. Buy it organic if you can, or use a veggie cleaner. You can make a homemade cleaner with equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle; to use, spray produce thoroughly, scrub with a soft-bristled scrub brush so as not to damage the item, then rinse thoroughly. With leafy vegetables like kale, if the scrub brush you have seems too abrasive, just use a sponge. The acidity vinegar of the vinegar will help to dissolve waxes and residues, and also kill bacteria! And it will save you a bundle on often expensive store-bought cleaners. I also clean my floors with this solution, along with the juice of one lemon to dissipate the vinegar smell; the lemon also acts as a natural anti-bacterial.

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