With the weather getting colder and my allergies starting to bother me already, I have been on a soup kick. Those of you who have been following HMHB already know I like to post a lot of soup recipes here- they’re easy and flexible and you can make enough for plenty of leftovers. I recently made batches of borscht and lentil soup, but also decided to try out this great new green soup that I found a recipe for in my favorite magazine, Eating Well.
I ended up just basing it off of the recipe I found, firstly because I did not have Arborio rice on hand and didn’t feel like going out to get any, and secondly because when I went to blend up the spinach like the recipe calls for, after I turned the blender on I discovered in the messiest of ways that there was a huge crack on the side of it! I’m sure you can just imagine the mess that was made all over my kitchen counter and floor. There was quite a bit of clean-up indeed…
So, rather than starting from scratch and abandoning my soup, I did what I could with what I had left, and it came out pretty good! It was my first time caramelizing onions too! So here it goes:
Spinach and Lemon Soup
12 oz package of spinach
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp + ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon + extra wedges for garnish
To caramelize the onions: Sautee the onion in the olive oil in skillet over medium heat with ¼ tsp salt. Cook and stir frequently until it browns, then lower heat and add 2 tbsp water and cover. Cook onion, stirring frequently and then just occasionally, allowing the pan to cool and then heat up again after stirring, always covering pan again. Basically, continue to do this until onions turn a deep caramel color and are greatly reduced for about 25-30 minutes.
When onions are ready, toss in the spinach and stir-fry it with the onions for about 2 minutes, then add the broth and water. Stir in the remaining salt and cayenne; adjust to your tastes if needed. The tsp of cayenne will make it nice and spicy, but not too hot, so if you want it hotter add more. Bring it all to a boil then bring back down to a simmer and add the lemon juice. Serve right away with some whole-wheat buns or rolls. I had a whole-wheat English muffin with mine and it tasted really good dipped right into the spinach! Add more lemon and olive oil for garnish if desired.
And there you have it- very simple and probably even sounds a little boring, but the combination of the cayenne and lemon with the spinach and broth was way more amazing than I’d thought it was going to be. I’m really excited to get a new blender now and try the Eating Well recipe that includes Arborio rice and chard.
I use spinach in many things I cook due to it being full of nutrition and also being so incredibly versatile. Just throw it in with just about anything you can think of and you are adding a large amount of iron, manganese, folate, and vitamins A, C and K with a rich yet delicate green taste. Spinach pairs great with chicken and white fish, and goes great in just about any soup. Enjoy fresh baby spinach with beets and mandarin oranges for a healthy and fruity salad; make a delicious green smoothie with fruit and yogurt; add it to stir-fries with tofu for a healthy vegetarian dinner.
Going organic when it comes to spinach is a good idea as well. Spinach has become notorious for being one of the top 12 produce items with the most pesticide residue found on it, even after repeated washing. Since the leaves are so delicate and tasty to insects, they are coated with extra pesticide to ward off pesky pests- pesticides that leak directly into the spinach itself.
The Environmental Working Group releases a list of the “Dirty Dozen”, which is a list of produce that contains the largest amounts of pesticides each year. The list contains mainly delicate fruits like blueberries and leafy vegetables that you don’t peal, and other veggies you don’t peal for that matter like peppers. It also has a list of the items with the least amount of pesticides. Print this list out so you can bring it with you to the supermarket and know what to buy conventional and save your money, and what to buy organic and save your health!
Save this recipe for when you're in a pinch on a cool night, or for your next Meatless Monday! Or, make tonight meatless, or any day for that matter :)
Healthy and tasty sugar-free cookies and crock-pot tomato sauce recipes coming soon!